State Roundup, March 22, 2019

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SENATE OKs $46.6B BUDGET: The state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a $46.6 billion budget that contains less funding for the state’s public schools than its House of Delegates counterpart — and restores money for a program to send kids from poor families to private schools, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun. The Senate budget passed 47-0.

 END OF LIFE BILL: Members of a key Senate committee are expected to vote Friday on a bill that would allow terminally ill Marylanders to request medication they could take to end their life. The House of Delegates has already approved a version of the measure after an emotional debate earlier this month. But the measure’s fate has been more uncertain in the Senate, Pamela Wood of the Sun writes.

MAYORS PRESS FOR PREAKNESS: Baltimore continued its full-court press Thursday to preserve Pimlico Race Course and keep the Preakness Stakes in the city, as current and former mayors lobbied the state’s black lawmakers to join the cause, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

STRONACH DISPUTE PUGH DEAL CLAIM: The company that owns Pimlico Race Course is disputing Mayor Catherine Pugh’s claim that she had worked out a plan with them to keep the Preakness Stakes at the Baltimore track. Pugh told members of the Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday that her team had met with officials from the Stronach Group and thought they had worked out a way to maintain the signature race at Pimlico, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. She said Stronach “walked away from negotiations.”

HOUSE PANEL OKs JHU POLICE, WITH PROHIBITIONS: Maryland’s House of Delegates Judiciary Committee voted 13-8 Thursday night to advance legislation to authorize a police force for Johns Hopkins University. The committee voted for the bill after adding a series of amendments, including one that requires a member of the university’s Black Faculty and Staff Association to sit on the accountability board that will oversee the force; another that prohibits the force from using surplus military equipment; and a third that mandates officers are trained in the legal use of searches, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

FREDERICK CAPITAL PROJECTS: The General Assembly has preliminarily approved well over a million dollars of funding for local projects in Frederick County, Samantha Hogan of the Frederick News-Post reports. The House and Senate each released their list of funding priorities for local projects with the largest allocations in Frederick County targeted at damage from the 2018 floods. The state Capital Budget has initially awarded $200,000 for flood mitigation to the Frederick YMCA, and earmarked an additional $100,000 to repair drinking water infrastructure in the city of Brunswick.

HOGAN PUSHES FOR STATE TO TAKE OVER BW PKWY: Gov. Larry Hogan continued his push for Maryland to take over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the National Park Service, arguing that the federal agency “has increasingly demonstrated it is simply not up to the task of maintaining” the highway, Colin Campbell of the Sun reports.

NO. OF FEMALE BOARD MEMBERS SOUGHT: The Maryland Senate passed legislation Thursday that would require qualifying Maryland companies to provide information regarding the number of women members of their Boards of Directors. Senate Bill 911 would require companies filing personal property reports to the Department of Assessments and Taxation include the number of female board members and the total number of Board of Directors, Chase Cook reports for the Annapolis Capital.

OPINION: PAID LEAVE IS MORAL THING TO DO: In an op-ed for Maryland Matters, Aaron Seyedian, owner of Well-Paid Maids, opines that as a small business owner who employs and serves Maryland residents, I am eager to see the Time to Care Act of 2019 (HB 341/SB 500) enacted. I believe that paid family and medical leave for all workers is not only affordable for businesses but will benefit businesses and, most importantly, is the moral thing to do.

UMMS CEO PLACED ON PAID LEAVE: University of Maryland Medical System CEO Robert A. Chrencik was placed on leave Thursday as accusations of self-dealing and no-bid contracting with board members have rocked the hospital network. He earns $4.2 million a year and will continue to take a salary on leave, Luke Broadwater and Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.

HOGAN, MILLER MEET UMMS HEADS: Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday he believes a clear message was sent to leaders of the University of Maryland Medical System who came to Annapolis a day earlier amid concerns members of the board have benefited from contracts with the organization they oversee. Senate President Mike Miller Jr. described Hogan as “exercised” about reports of potential self-dealing among nine of the 30 board members, including Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.

PUGH PANEL FAILED TO FILE FORMS: The committee that organized a day of festivities to celebrate Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s inauguration in 2016 hasn’t filed the financial disclosures the IRS requires of nonprofits, Ian Duncan of the Sun reports. Jon Laria, an attorney and one of Pugh’s inaugural committee directors, said he realized the forms hadn’t been filed after the Baltimore Sun asked this week to review copies of the documents, which are supposed to be public. The filings would provide a look at how much money the committee raised and how it was spent.

PUGH DEFENDS BOOKS: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh defended her self-published children’s book series in a lengthy statement that came a week after it was revealed she had a lucrative business deal with a hospital system whose board she served on for nearly two decades, Sarah Meehan of the Sun reports.

CHRISTIE TELLS HOGAN TO BE NIMBLE IN 2020: Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters in Annapolis on Thursday that he advised Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to be “nimble” as the 2020 presidential election approaches. Christie appeared shoulder to shoulder with Hogan at the Government House, Hogan’s official residence, as Christie promotes his new book, Scott Dance of the Sun writes.

  • Christie offered his thoughts Thursday during an early evening appearance with Hogan at the Governor’s Mansion. Rachel Chason of the Post writes that Christie came to Annapolis as part of a tour to promote a new book about his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 2016 and his subsequent stint with the Trump campaign. From the mansion, the men headed to the Annapolis Yacht Club, where Hogan introduced Christie at an event that included a discussion and book signing.

DELANEY URGES HOGAN TO STAND UP TO TRUMP: Jeff Barker of the Sun writes that former U.S. Rep. and current Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney is urging Gov. Larry Hogan — or another Republican — to challenge President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election bid. “Voices like John Kasich and Governor Hogan, from my state, would do an enormous service to not just their party, but to their fellow Americans to stand up and challenge this president,” said Delaney, who stepped down from his Maryland 6th Congressional District seat at the end of last year to run for president.

HARRY HUGHES EULOGIZED: At the outset of former Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes’ funeral Thursday, Gov. Larry Hogan and Congressman Steny Hoyer described Hughes as a man of humility and integrity who was exactly what the state needed to stop corruption, Scott Dance reports for the Sun.

CUMMINGS CONCERNED ABOUT TRUMP, KUSHNER USE OF EMAILS: Chad Day and Jill Colvin of the Associated Press report that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a powerful White House aide, did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct U.S. business outside government channels, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said on Thursday. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, said in a letter to the White House that the use of private email accounts and the messaging application WhatsApp by senior administration officials raises “security and federal records concerns.”