State Roundup, May 15, 2018

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HIGH COURT NIXES BETTING BAN:  Sports betting in Maryland before 2020 is a long shot despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that now gives states the ability to legalize the activity writes Bryan P. Sears in the Daily Record. The complex decision strikes down a 25-year old federal law that has prohibited most states from allowing betting on college and professional sports. While many states are expected to quickly begin legalizing the activity, Maryland, will be at least two years behind after lawmakers failed to pass legislation that would put the issue on the ballot in November.

  • Western Maryland Gaming industry thrilled As a result of the decision, sports betting could be added to the gaming menu at area casinos writes Tamela Baker in the Herald-Mail. “We’re thrilled with today’s announcement and are analyzing how to best configure space at Hollywood Casino to offer sports betting and explore ways to drive more visitation to the property,” said Jeff Morris, vice president for public affairs and government relations for Penn National Gaming, which owns Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town, W.Va.
  • Miller open to special session Though the exact implications locally are unclear, executives from Monumental Sports & Entertainment and MGM Resorts International embraced the ruling, which upholds a 2014 New Jersey law that allows sports betting at Garden State casinos and horse racetracks, writes Katie Arcieri in the Washington Business Journal. State Senate President Mike Miller says he’s amenable to a special session that would give lawmakers an opportunity to propose an amendment that would authorize it.
  • Sun Editorial – Delay not so bad Now that the Supreme Court has acted, there is little doubt that Maryland will be addressing this issue again, and the pressure will now be much greater to put a referendum on the 2020 ballot. The delay might actually prove to be a good thing. It will give time to see what the market for widespread legalized sports betting looks like, writes the Sun’s editorial board. We may lose out on a few million in tax revenue because of the delay, but it would be worth it to get the policy right.

ALL PAYER HOSPITAL TO EXPAND  Maryland’s unique all-payer hospital payment model will expand beyond hospital walls beginning next year under a finalized deal with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Monday. The new model will focus on bringing primary care physicians and nursing homes into the program to better manage population health and reduce hospital admissions from chronic conditions, writes Tim Curtis in the Daily Record. “Everything we have done here before has been hospital-focused,” said Robert Neall, Maryland’s health secretary. “This is an extension into the entire continuum of health care. … People get more access and attention at the front door rather than going to the hospital after something terrible has happened.”

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been closely watching the state’s pilot program, first implemented in 2014, as a possible model for other states, writes Andrea K. McDaniels in the Sun. The pilot program resulted in substantial cost savings and improved care for patients, state officials said. The program saved $586 million in health costs between 2014 and 2016 and is now expected to continue to save an additional $300 million a year.

REP. BROWN RECOVERING FROM MINOR STROKE  Rep. Anthony G. Brown experienced a minor stroke Friday within a few hours of leaving the funeral of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, the congressman’s spokesman said Monday writes Jenna Portnoy in the Post. The first-term congressman, 56 was taken by ambulance to University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center, admitted for two nights and released on Sunday. He is recovering at home and has not set a definite date for his return to Capitol Hill.

EDWARDS URGES ERVIN TO RUN  The potential for a new gubernatorial candidate in Maryland’s Democratic primary is adding another wrinkle of uncertainty to the crowded competition to challenge Gov. Larry Hogan write Paul Schwartzman and Arelis R. Hernandez in the Post. The unexpected death of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has created an opportunity for his running mate, Valerie Ervin, to join a field of six candidates and on Monday, Donna F. Edwards, a former Democratic Maryland congresswoman and Ervin confidante, used Twitter to promote her friend’s candidacy, writing that she “should pick up where [Kamenetz] left off.”

  • Under Maryland law, Ervin has the option to run for governor herself and name a lieutenant governor running mate, or she can remain as a candidate for lieutenant governor with a new partner running for governor writes Pamela Wood in the Sun. She has until the fifth business day after Kamenetz’s death — Thursday — to file candidacy paperwork to change the ticket, according to state law. Ervin has declined to speak about her plans as Kamenetz’s family was observing the Jewish tradition of sitting shiva through Monday. His funeral was Friday.

COUNTY, TOWNS SUE PHARMA OVER OPIOIDS  Western Maryland is joining the legal battle to hold drug companies accountable for the opioid epidemic, with several jurisdictions filing suit in federal court Friday, writes Heather Cobun in the Daily Record. Allegany County and two of its cities, Frostburg and Cumberland, filed racketeering lawsuits in U.S. District Court. Hagerstown also filed suit.

  • Cases to be bundled The city of Hagerstown on Monday joined a national legal fight over the opioid crisis by suing numerous pharmaceutical companies, pressuring them to pay for the damages of drug addiction, writes Dave McMillion in the Herald-Mail. The suit, which names 17 defendants, will be combined with other similar cases and sent to a federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, under what is known as multidistrict litigation, according to a news release from the city.

FICKER MAY NOT GET PUBLIC FUNDING: The sole Republican candidate in the Montgomery County executive race may not qualify to receive public financing matching funds by a midnight Tuesday deadline set by the State Board of Elections, Glynis Kazanjian writes in MarylandReporter.com. The new program proves hard to navigate.

JEALOUS FIRST IN BALTIMORE AD MARKET:  Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ben Jealous, the former president of the NAACP, will debut a television advertisement Tuesday, becoming the first candidate in a crowded field to buy ad time in Baltimore, writes Rachel Chason in the Post. The 60-second commercial — which Jealous’s campaign said cost nearly six figures — highlights the candidate’s family history, his endorsement by the state’s largest teachers union and growth at the NAACP during his tenure.

RETIREMENT SYSTEM RESPONDS: Andrew Palmer, chief investment officer for the State Retirement and Pension System, harshly responds to a critical report on investment strategy by the Maryland Public Policy Institute, calling it a “work of fiction.” Palmer says: “Unfortunately, and consistent with past analyses, the report is poorly constructed, using inaccurate data, flawed methodologies and erroneous assumptions, leading to conclusions that have no practical application to the management of the System’s assets.” Here is Palmer’s article and here is a link to the MPPI study.

WALDSTREICHER VOTING RECORD: While many believe state Del. Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher is the odds-on favorite to win the District 18 state Senate seat being vacated by Rich Madaleno, Ryan Miner observes that with a woeful attendance and voting record, Waldstreicher’s most formidable opponent may be Waldstreicher himself.

A CELEBRATION OF  TYDINGS  The occasion of the release of Joe Tydings’ new autobiography, his life and legacy, and his 90th birthday celebration at the University of Maryland College Park’s alumni center recently brought to mind a storied past when public service was still an honorable pursuit writes William F. Zorzi in Maryland Matters.

ROW OVER ROU? Roussan “ROU’ Etienne Jr. is running for the Republican nomination for State Senate in District 27 to, presumably, run against Senate President Mike Miller in the General Election. But Etienne has a troubled political history writes Brian Griffiths in Red Maryland, including making embarrassing statements, restraining orders, and being removed from the Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee.