State Roundup, May 24, 2017

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CUTS CUTS CUTS: The budget proposal released Tuesday by President Trump doubles down on his promise to eliminate Chesapeake Bay cleanup dollars, increasing the pressure on key Virginia and Maryland lawmakers to rescue the funding, Jenna Portnoy reports for the Post. The region has four lawmakers on the powerful House and Senate appropriations committees — Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.).

FRANCHOT RAISES A GLASS TO BREWERS: Comptroller Peter Franchot Tuesday called on bar owners and liquor distributors in the state to stop being fearful of growing the state’s independent craft brewery industry. The state’s top tax collector and chief enforcer of liquor laws has become the frontman for the industry following a legislative session that included a contentious battle over the issue of allowing brewers to sell their wares on site, Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports.  Franchot was in Baltimore Tuesday in advance of the first meeting to announce a promotional partnership between his agency, the state Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, the Maryland Office of Tourism and the Brewers Association of Maryland.

MARYLAND PARTY: The 2,000 attendees of the Maryland Party at the Wynn resort’s Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas turned out Monday for the 20th gathering of elected officials, real estate leaders, attorneys, business types and even officials from the Baltimore Ravens to celebrate the art of the deal in the desert, reports Melody Simmons of the Baltimore Business Journal

TOURING STATE PROJECTS: Maryland Budget Secretary David Brinkley spent Monday in Elkton touring projects that have been funded with state help, including a new fire company helipad that serves Union Hospital and other emergency and safety projects. Jacob Owens writes the story for the Cecil Whig.

TEMP HEALTH SECRETARY: Anne Arundel County’s health officer will take a temporary assignment to help lead the state department of health, County Executive Steve Schuh announced Tuesday. Jinlene Chan, who has led the county health department since 2014, will serve as the acting deputy secretary for public health services at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene until a permanent deputy secretary can be found, Amanda Yeager writes for the Annapolis Capital.

A BAD BET: Last weekend should have been the last Preakness at Pimlico, but it probably won’t be. Pimlico needs $300-$500 million overhaul to remain viable as the home of the Preakness, and its owners, the Stronach Group of Ontario, Canada, don’t want to pay for it. They could be betting that the tradition of the Preakness at Pimlico along with Baltimore’s inferiority complex will guilt-trip our state’s politicians into ponying up a half-billion dollars needed to make Pimlico a winner—socializing risk while privatizing reward.

PROCUREMENT REFORM: In a column for the Sun, Dels. Chris West and Dan Morhaim,  of the bi-partisan Commission to Reform Procurement, opine that in the 2017 Maryland legislative session, major changes were taken to save taxpayers millions of dollars and increase state revenues without raising taxes or cutting programs. The state, along with counties and school systems, spends billions of dollars each year purchasing good and services via a process known as “procurement.” Procurement issues are dense, bureaucratic and hard to understand or explain, and so they rarely get attention from media or citizens, despite their importance. As a result, this is one of the most overlooked sectors of state government.

LUBY TO RUN FOR DELEGATE: Pamela Luby will soon be passing the torch as chairwoman of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women. She has already decided on her next pursuit: a run for the House of Delegates as a Democrat, for a seat in a district represented by three Republican delegates, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports.

DEADLY DRUGS: Phil Davis of the Annapolis Capital reports that oxycodone pills cut with the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl have been found in Anne Arundel County, the Maryland State Police say. Oxycodone, sometimes known by the brand names Oxycontin or Roxicodone, is a synthetic opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. Fentanyl is much more powerful than most other opioids. Police frequently ascribe the increase in overdoses in the state in the past year to the growing prominence of fentanyl in drug-dealing circles.

  • Around 11 p.m. on Friday night a Hartford County deputy sheriff and two EMS workers were treated for overdose symptoms while responding to an overdose call. The crews were on the scene for less than an hour and began displaying overdose symptoms themselves. The deputy, an 8-year veteran on the force, became suddenly ill, was dizzy and experienced a rapid heartbeat. He was issued Narcan at the scene and then taken to the hospital. There have been 171 overdoses so far this year in Harford County, up 200% from this time last year, Joy Lambert of WBFF-TV reports.

INTERIM BA CO SCHOOL SUPER: The Baltimore County school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to name Verletta White, who has risen through the ranks from teacher to one of the top officials in the system, as interim superintendent.White, 49, will replace Dallas Dance, who resigned suddenly April 18, Liz Bowie of the Sun reports.