State Roundup, March 18, 2019

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HOGAN ON HOGAN: But amid growing tensions between Trump and Republican lawmakers over foreign policy and the president’s treatment of global alliances, Gov. Larry Hogan is signaling that if he decides to wage an insurgent campaign for the GOP nomination, he would pitch himself as far more in tune with the party’s long-held values and worldview than Trump. “I come from the Ronald Reagan school of politics,” Hogan told the Washington Post last week in a wide-ranging interview at the state capitol, shaking his head in disapproval when asked whether he shares Trump’s nationalism.

UMMS BOARD CALLED OUT FOR ‘SELF-DEALING:’ Gov. Larry Hogan and Senate President Mike Miller called Friday on the University of Maryland Medical System to put an end to any conflicts of interest in business deals for members of the system’s board of directors. From the Senate dais, Miller called the hospital system’s actions a “huge disaster” for the state with board members “self-dealing, benefiting from their relationship on the board,” Pamela Wood, Luke Broadwater and Doug Donovan are reporting in the Sun.

SEN. PUGH FAILED TO DISCLOSE UMMS MONEY: Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh did not fully disclose the $500,000 business relationship she started in 2011 with the University of Maryland Medical System during the time she was a state senator, a period during which she sat on the hospital network’s board of directors and oversaw issues involving UMMS in the legislature, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

SENATE PANEL SEEKS $1M CUT AT UM OFFICE: A Maryland Senate panel wants to cut $1 million from the state university system’s top office in the contentious aftermath of a football player’s death and a separate case in which the system’s chancellor promoted a jewelry company’s charm bracelets and then retaliated against his chief of staff for raising an ethics concern, Brian Witte of the AP reports the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee approved the cut Thursday because of “a general sense of a lack of transparency and accountability,” said Sen. Bill Ferguson, a member of the panel.

BACKGROUND CHECKS ON LONG GUN BUYS: The Maryland House of Delegates is moving forward a bill that would require background checks for all purchases of long guns, including shotguns and rifles, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun The measure is a priority of gun control advocates and, after receiving preliminary approval Saturday, it is set for a final vote Monday.

WHERE BILLS STAND: Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters writes about action on a number of bills, including that the Senate moved forward Friday on House Bill 1052, which would remove regulatory powers over alcohol and tobacco from the comptroller’s office. She also writes about a bill before the House that would end Maryland’s participation in Title X and reject federal family planning dollars, following a proposed new rule from the Trump administration that would prohibit family planning clinics funded by the program from making abortion referrals.

HANDGUN PERMIT PANEL: Legislation to revamp the process for appealing concealed-carry permit rulings in Maryland is expected to receive a vote from at least one key Senate committee Monday, writes Bryan Sears in the Daily Record. The vote in the Senate Executive Nominations Committee Monday comes as the legislature rushes to meet a courtesy deadline for sending bills to the opposite chamber. The expected vote also comes in advance of a vote by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which is also responsible for the late-filed proposal that would abolish the Handgun Permit Review Board.

OPINION: SOLUTION TO STATE RETIREES DRUG COSTS: Sen. Melony Griffith opines in a column for MarylandReporter: “we must take broader action to rein in the costs of prescription drugs for all citizens and all seniors on Medicare Part D, but we did pass legislation to address the out-of-pocket costs of state retirees. Senate Bill 946 has passed the Senate. It creates programs to limit out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for state retirees hired before the 2011 reform legislation.  For current retirees, they, their spouses and dependents can seek reimbursement for OOP costs once they reach the same OOP limits as the state employee plan.”

THIS WEEK IN ANNAPOLIS: Here’s among things happening this week in Annapolis according to Joel McCord of WYPR-FM: Monday is cross-over day in the General Assembly, the day when bills must cross from one house to the other to be guaranteed full consideration. In addition, Democratic Party leaders are rushing to get controversial bills, such as the minimum wage increase to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk in time to force an override vote before the end of session, or before Sen. Will Smith leaves for duty in Afghanistan.

NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON CHILD SEX ABUSE: The Maryland House of Delegates gave preliminary approval Saturday to a sweeping bill that would remove restrictions on when victims of child sexual abuse can file lawsuits. Maryland’s lawmakers previously extended the deadlines to file lawsuits from child sexual abuse up to age 38, but this bill would lift the statute of limitations entirely, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

VACATING CONVICTIONS: Legislation that would allow prosecutors to seek to vacate convictions they no longer have faith in passed the House of Delegates Thursday after being amended in committee to limit its scope. House Bill 874 was designed in part to address an issue in Baltimore: State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby’s office is attempting to vacate hundreds of convictions that relied heavily on testimony from corrupt Gun Trace Task Force officers, Heather Cobun reports in the Daily Record.

PROTECTION FOR NURSING HOME RESIDENTS: A high-profile scandal involving a now-defunct Maryland nursing home chain has prompted legislation that Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) said will protect current and future nursing home residents from mistreatment, Josh Kurtz reports for Maryland Matters.

GARRETT BOND BILLS: Legislators in the Maryland General Assembly are currently reviewing five bond bills introduced by Sen. George Edwards and Del. Wendell Beitzel. The local funding requests are among nearly 200 others being considered this legislative session, Renee Shreve reports in the Garrett County Republican.

BILL CORRECTS PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING: Legislation that would correct funding issues with Promise Scholarships in Allegany and Garrett counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly, Del. Wendell Beitzel said. The Cumberland Times-News writes that both counties have scholarship programs established by their county commissions.

SEN. SMITH SET TO GO TO AFGHANISTAN: Eighteen years after 9/11, William Smith, now a Maryland state senator who had enlisted in the Naval Reserve, is facing his first deployment to a war zone. He is scheduled to spend eight months in Afghanistan as a Judge Advocate General, part of what the military calls Operation Resolute Support.

OPINION: MOVE FORWARD WITH KIRWAN: The editorial board for the Sun opines that full Kirwan implementation will require sacrifices that we haven’t fully appreciated yet, but that’s no reason not to move forward with what we can.

NO TO CITY SCHOOL POLICE CARRYING GUNS: Baltimore lawmakers voted down legislation Saturday that would have allowed city school police officers to carry guns while patrolling in schools. The city’s House delegation voted 10-5 against the bill — effectively killing it for this General Assembly session, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

WATER BILL LIENS: The Sun’s Luke Broadwater reports that the General Assembly has passed legislation that would ban the city of Baltimore from placing liens against homes, churches and other properties over unpaid water bills.

OPINIONS: ON HARRY HUGHES: Joseph Coale, who served as campaign chairman for the late Harry Hughes, pays tribute to the former governor, in an op-ed in the Sun, writing that “He was a much-understated politician and became successful, in part, because he frequently didn’t act like one. He had an ability to bring together in a civil atmosphere opposing parties on difficult issues acting as a calming voice of moderation in sometimes troubled waters.”

HBCUs ATTRACT MORE INTEREST: At a political moment marked by racially divisive rhetoric — sometimes accompanied by deadly violence, most recently an avowed racist admitting to killing dozens at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday — some say HBCUs are looking more attractive than ever. That sentiment was voiced again and again Saturday at the 20th Annual Black College Expo held at Bowie State University in Maryland, Peter Jamison reports in the Post.

HOGAN PREZ WATCH: Politico’s Playbook columnist make note of Gov. Larry Hogan addressing the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner in D.C. on Saturday night with U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer and Justice Brett Kavanagh in attendance. He impressed with his jokes.

PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING IN BA CO: Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s first major legislation faces opposition from some County Council members who don’t like the idea of public campaign financing for local races, but it still could pass narrowly, Alison Knezevich reports for the Sun.

DRUG HELP FOR ARUNDEL TEENS: Anne Arundel schools have partnered with the county Health Department to deliver substance abuse treatment to high schoolers. The STAR — Screening Teens to Access Recovery — Program will allow high school students to connect with licensed therapists from the Department of Health via tele-sessions. The program represents the latest effort to combat drug addiction among young people, Lauren Lumpkin of the Annapolis Capital reports.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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