HOGAN VETOES $15 WAGE, AMONG 3 BILLS: Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a $15 minimum wage Wednesday, setting up an override fight with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly over one of the top priorities of the state’s growing liberal wing, Erin Cox and Ovetta Wiggins report for the Post. Hogan (R) also vetoed bills allowing school districts to set their own calendars and stripping power to regulate alcohol and tobacco from the state comptroller.
- The Democratic-led General Assembly passed the three bills by veto-proof margins and is expected in the coming days to vote to override the vetoes, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that in rejecting the minimum wage bill, Hogan said the measure could “could cost us jobs, negatively impact our economic competitiveness, and devastate our state’s economy.” “I think we all share the goal of helping working families enjoy the prosperity of our state, and here again, we have much more work to do,” Hogan wrote in his veto letter.
- Holden Wilen of the Baltimore Business Journal writes that Hogan said he was disappointed lawmakers did not consider his proposed compromises. He said he vetoed the bill because as passed it “undermined” Maryland’s economic success and lead to people becoming unemployed.
- Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes that in his veto message, Hogan warned that a $15 minimum wage could cost the state 99,000 jobs. “Small businesses faced with the choice between a $7.25 wage in Virginia or $15 in Maryland will be forced to create jobs in the lower cost location and possibly reduce jobs or eliminate operations in Maryland,” he said.
SENATOR’s SILENCE KILLS AID-IN-DYING BILL: Aid-in-dying legislation, which stalled in committee for the past four years, passed the House of Delegates last month, and was approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee last week — albeit with numerous amendments that advocates said would have made it the strictest such law in the country. But the bill failed in dramatic fashion Wednesday when the full Senate deadlocked 23 to 23 on whether to advance it, with Sen. Obie Patterson (D-Prince George’s) not voting, Ovetta Wiggins reports in the Post.
- Patterson sealed the bill’s fate by deciding not to decide, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record. Instead, Patterson sat in his seat after a lengthy and emotional floor debate and declined to push either the yes or no button. “I decided really that I couldn’t bring myself to believe that I was ready to reveal just — affirmatively — how I felt about this issue so I just stayed neutral,” he said afterward.
- Ten of the 47 senators got up to speak during bill debate Wednesday. Many shared personal stories of losing friends or loved ones, or stories about people who were considered terminally ill who recovered. At several points the chamber grew uncharacteristically quiet as senators absorbed the messages of their colleagues, reports Diane Rey of MarylandReporter.
HOUSE REPRIMANDS JALISI: The House of Delegates issued a rare formal reprimand Wednesday to Del. Jay Jalisi, a doctor accused of berating and emotionally abusing legislative staff for five years and rebuffing requests to attend anger management training, Erin Cox reports in the Post.
- The delegates voted after receiving a report outlining an investigation by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics that alleged Jalisi forced his legislative staff to work overtime without pay, bullied others, got kicked out of a hotel and made a staffer stand in the delegate’s office and repeat: “I am incompetent. I am incompetent.” Jalisi, 53, a Reisterstown Democrat, was not present at the House of Delegates session Wednesday — his third consecutive day of absence, Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun.
- Del. Sandy Rosenberg, D-Baltimore City and co-chair of the legislative ethics panel, said the public reprimand comes as the result of five years of incidents dating back to Jalisi’s first year in office and multiple attempts to get the delegate to change his ways, Bryan Sears reports in the Daily Record.
- Josh Kurtz writes that Del. Sandy Rosenberg (D-Baltimore City), co-chair of the ethics committee, told his colleagues: “It is not a pleasant duty, but it is an essential one,” Rosenberg went on to assert that Jalisi “has breached the standards of conduct expected by members of the General Assembly.”
BUSCH WANTS ENTIRE UMMS BOARD TO STEP DOWN: House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch introduced an amendment Wednesday to legislation to reform the embattled University of Maryland Medical System board of directors by forcing all board members to resign by June, Luke Broadwater writes in the Sun. Busch has a seat on the board under state law. With the hospital network reeling from accusations of self-dealing and no-bid contracts for some board members, the chief of staff for the Anne Arundel Democrat said Busch sought to give the board a clean start.
- Meredith Cohn and Jean Marbella of the Sun explain just the latest controversy the UMMS has faced, writing that the University of Maryland Medical System board of directors has confronted one crisis after another in the past year or so, from a patient-dumping accusation at one hospital and sexual harassment in its ranks to a shooting outside its Shock Trauma emergency room. Now, it faces a crisis in its own ranks.
OPINION: MARYLAND CAN LEAD ON DRUG PRICING: The editorial board of the Sun defends the creation of a prescription drug affordability board, which would be empowered to evaluate the cost of particularly expensive medications, or those whose prices increase significantly. Backers estimate that would cover potentially 250,000 to 300,000 people. The pharmaceutical and Maryland’s biotech industries both strongly oppose the bill, predicting dire consequences for patients and an important growth sector in the state’s economy. While we acknowledge that the impact of the bill is difficult to predict given the lack of a precedent, their warnings seem out of proportion to what the bill actually does.
HOGAN BLASTS LAWMAKERS, AGAIN: Gov. Larry Hogan expressed outrage with, and then mocked, Maryland lawmakers as he attempted to goad legislators into enacting stiffer penalties for repeat violent offenders, Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports. Hogan unleashed his latest fusillade against legislators during a news conference Wednesday in Baltimore amid a growing uproar over crime in the city and ways to solve the crisis.
CURBING MINORS’ MARRIAGES: Maryland lawmakers are considering the creation of an emancipation process for 16- and 17-year-olds that also aims to curb marriage by minors, the subject of debate in recent legislative sessions, Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports.
OYSTER SANCTUARIES: The AP is reporting that the Maryland General Assembly has passed a bill to permanently protect five oyster sanctuaries in the law. The measure now goes to Gov. Larry Hogan. The bill prohibits catching oysters in the five sanctuaries. They are Harris Creek, the Little Choptank River, the Tred Avon River, the St. Mary’s River and the Manokin River.
PIMLICO OWNER ASKS CITY TO DROP SEIZURE SUIT: The owner of Pimlico Race Course sent a letter Wednesday to the city of Baltimore’s top lawyer, asking him to withdraw an attempt to seize ownership of the track and the Preakness Stakes on the grounds that under Maryland law, only the state has the authority to seek such action, Doug Donovan reports for the Sun.
OPINION: HOUSING AT LAUREL PARK: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital opines that as two jurisdictions politely arm wrestle over the Preakness Stakes, thanks to the Stronach Group proposing moving it to Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County from Baltimore City, Del. Nick Mosby threw out the fact that worker housing at Laurel was problematic. Arundel County Exec Steuart Pittman went along and ordered an inspection. But don’t be surprised if something unsavory turns up.
MONEY FOR HAGERSTOWN STADIUM: Maryland’s next capital budget includes $300,000 toward a new minor league baseball stadium, should Hagerstown officials choose to move forward with it, Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports. The money set aside in the budget for FY 2020, which begins July 1, would be for pre-design plans, said Del. Paul Corderman, R-Washington.
PARK SERVICE REPAIRING B-W PKWY: The National Park Service will begin emergency repairs this weekend on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Route 295 — earlier than planned, amid pressure from Gov. Larry Hogan and the state congressional delegation, Colin Campbell reports in the Sun.
- The Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, met with Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s staff last Friday and was urged to address the deterioration of the road, which has hundreds of potholes and has led to untold vehicle damage and commuter delays, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
RX POT PANEL TO MOVE AHEAD WITH EXPANSION: The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission said it plans to move ahead with accepting applications for new medical marijuana growing and processing businesses, despite one firm’s effort to block the industry expansion, Morgan Eichensehr of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.
HOGAN: BARR SUMMARY ON MUELLER ‘GOOD NEWS’ FOR TRUMP: Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he is looking forward to seeing details of the report by special counsel Robert Mueller III but considers the summary issued by Attorney General William P. Barr to be “good news” for President Trump that does not make him vulnerable to a primary challenge, Rachel Chason reports for the Post.