HOUSE ALSO PASSES BILL TO BOOST SCHOOL FUNDING: Maryland delegates voted Thursday to approve a two-year plan to send more than $700 million in extra funding to the state’s public schools, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports. The House of Delegates voted 112-22 in favor of the bill, called the “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future,” which already passed the Senate by a vote of 43-1.
LAWMAKERS VOTE TO ABOLISH HANDGUN REVIEW BOARD: The Maryland General Assembly voted Thursday night to abolish the state’s Handgun Permit Review Board. The 87-47 vote of the House of Delegates follows the Senate’s passage of the legislation by a 30-16 vote, Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes. The bill would dissolve the handgun board — which Democrats argue is too permissive in overturning and modifying Maryland State Police decisions on handgun permits — and allow handgun owners to appeal directly to a state administrative judge instead.
EFFORT TO CURB BPW: Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent attempts to acquire land from the federal government for a Redskins stadium and to expand the Baltimore-Washington Parkway have led to yet another effort to limit the power of the Board of Public Works made up of the governor, comptroller and state treasurer. The bill passed the House of Delegates Thursday in a party-line vote after lengthy floor debate, Diane Rey reports for MarylandReporter.
MORE OVERSIGHT SOUGHT ON PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: Opponents of Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to relieve traffic by building toll lanes on the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 are pushing for more legislative scrutiny on what the governor has said would be the largest public-private partnership in the country, Katherine Shaver reports for the Post.
SENATE OKs UMMS REFORM BILL: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that the Maryland Senate unanimously approved legislation to reform the University of Maryland Medical System‘s board of directors Thursday, a day after the House of Delegates passed a similar measure. Lawmakers need to work out some differences between the bills before sending the legislation to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has expressed strong support for UMMS reforms.
- While both proposals contain audit requirements and prohibitions on board members seeking to do business with the system, neither bill calls for measures that would open the operations of the board to wider public scrutiny, Bryan Sears writes in the Daily Record.
- In one or both bills are financial disclosure requirements, prohibitions on no-bid contracts, a ban on board members having financial relationships with the institution and other safeguards, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
ACTING MAYOR PUSHES TO SAY PIMLICO: In his first lobbying effort in Annapolis as Baltimore’s acting mayor, Jack Young implored the Maryland General Assembly’s leaders to kill a bill that would change state subsidies to favor the Laurel Park horseracing track over Pimlico Race Course. Doug Donovan and Pamela Wood of the Sun write.
- Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports that a measure that would fund improvements at racetrack facilities in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties — but not in Baltimore City — is not expected to advance this legislative session. Its chances for success were doomed by geographic and racial tensions that flared as lawmakers became aware of the legislation, sources said.
HOGAN VETOES OYSTER BAR PROTECTION BILL: Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill Thursday night that would permanently bar oyster harvesting in five waterways targeted for restoration of the distressed species, writes the Sun’s Scott Dance. The legislation had the support of environmental groups and was a top priority of House Speaker Michael Busch, its sponsor. It was set to become law without Hogan’s signature at midnight Friday.
- Hogan’s rejection of the bill sets the stage for a veto override fight with the General Assembly. Busch’s chief of staff, Alexandra Hughes, said the legislature would take up the override on Friday morning, Erin Cox of the Post reports. Hogan said in his veto letter the bill was bad for watermen and ignored his efforts to find a compromise.
EXPANDING MARYLAND DREAM ACT: Maryland lawmakers want to increase the number of undocumented immigrants who are afforded the chance to receive in-state tuition breaks, Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox report in the Post. The General Assembly approved legislation that expands the Maryland Dream Act, a 2012 law that grants an in-state tuition discount to undocumented immigrants. A Senate bill was sent to the governor’s desk for his signature and a companion bill is scheduled to receive final approval on Friday. The governor has not said whether he will sign the legislation.
LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP: Danielle Gaines and Bruce DePuyt summarize where some of the most watched bills are in the General Assembly as we go into the last few days of the session. Those bills include presription drug prices for state retirees, online sales taxes and Title X.
MILLER TO UNDERGO RADIATION THERAPY: Senate President Mike Miller said Thursday he will undergo radiation therapy after the General Assembly session ends Monday, as he continues treatment for prostate cancer, Scott Dance of the Sun reports. He has received five rounds of chemotherapy, but amid signs the regimen’s effectiveness is waning, doctors are switching his treatment to radiation, said Jake Weissman, Miller’s chief of staff.
HOGAN ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER RESIGNS AMID COLLEGE SCANDAL: A member of an advisory board to Gov. Larry Hogan on Asian Pacific relations has resigned in the spreading college admissions scandal, Phil Davis of the Sun reports. A report showed he’d paid well over market value for a home in Massachusetts owned by a Harvard fencing coach prior to his son’s being accepted to college there.
- Harvard University has launched an investigation after the Boston Globe reported that the school’s legendary fencing coach received almost double the asking price for his suburban home from a Maryland businessman not long before the man’s son was admitted to the school, Susan Svrluga of the Post reports.
‘HEALTHY HOLLY’ SAGA CONTINUES: Tim Curtis of the Daily Record reports that Chicago-based investment firm Ariel Investments said it purchased copies of Mayor Catherine Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” books to distribute to attendees at a 2013 leadership conference where she was speaking.Ariel purchased 400 copies of the book for $3,680, including $80 in shipping fees, through Associated Black Charities. It was the only Healthy Holly donation Associated Black Charities took where the organization did not retain any of the donation for itself.
- The Columbia businessman who has acknowledged paying Mayor Catherine Pugh $114,000 for her Healthy Holly books, J.P. Grant, is a secret backer of a company awarded a conduit construction contract that could grow to $100 million or more, multiple sources have told The Brew. Mark Reutter and Fern Shen of the Brew report the
HOWARD, MO CO TO SIGN PROBE PACT: In 2015, the state’s attorneys in Montgomery and Howard counties came to an agreement: Following best practices, the two jurisdictions would review each other’s police-involved deaths to determine whether the officer acted lawfully. Four years later, they’re going to write it down, Jennifer Barrios of the Post reports.