State Roundup, June 13, 2019

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UMMS REVIEW FINDS MORE NO-BID DEALS: A review of contracts the University of Maryland Medical System had with a third of the members of its board of directors and their companies revealed more no-bid and self-dealing practices at the hospital network. Luke Broadwater sums up the findings in a story for the Sun.

HOGAN BEGINS FILLING UMMS BOARD: Gov. Larry Hogan named Wednesday his initial batch of new appointees to the troubled board of directors at the University of Maryland Medical System, the first step toward reorganizing the board following a scandal over board members having lucrative contracts with the 13-hospital system, Pamela Wood reports in the Sun.

UM MED PULLS REQUEST TO RAISE RATES: The University of Maryland Medical Center dropped a plan Wednesday to seek more revenue from patients, a request that critics had called ill-timed in light of allegations of improper spending and above-average profits by the 13-hospital University of Maryland Medical System, Meredith Cohn of the Sun reports. The downtown Baltimore hospital had submitted a request to state regulators in January that would have generated an extra $75 million from patients who sought services at the medical center, or a nearly 5% boost in revenue.

TEDCO CEO RESIGNS: The CEO of Maryland’s Technology Development Corp. has resigned, the latest in a series of departures from the investment agency that has struggled since a damning legislative audit report was released about its performance earlier this year, Danielle Gaines reports in Maryland Matters. TEDCO board members were notified of the departure of George Davis this week. The board is expected to begin meeting about a transition plan on Thursday.

OPINION: HOGAN’s ENERGY GOALS: Engineer Alex Pavlak, in an op-ed for Maryland Matters, opines that Maryland now has a sound clean energy goal: 100%t clean electricity by 2040. This goal is smart because it specifies a clear purpose: reliable, affordable, clean electricity; no greenhouse gas emissions by whatever sustainable technology proves to be cost effective. The goal is technology agnostic; it does not guess at technology solutions.

B’MORE ENDS PIMLICO LAWSUIT: Ian Duncan of the Sun reports that Baltimore officials withdrew Wednesday a lawsuit against the owners of Pimlico Race Course, abandoning legal confrontation for negotiations over how to rehabilitate the aging venue and keep the running of the Preakness Stakes in the city.

CLIMATE CHANGE PART 4: KEEPING COLD OUT: In Part 4 of the Capital News Service series, Bitter Cold: Climate Change, Public Health and Baltimore, Ian Round and Leah Brennan write about one homeowner’s plight in keeping drafts out of her old rowhome and its 1950s kitchen addition that lacks insulation. The article appears in MarylandReporter.

OP-ED: IT’s ALL ABOUT FATHERLESSNESS: In a column for MarylandReporter, Town professor Richard Vatz opines that the horrendously violent reality of Maryland and Baltimore will improve only if brave leaders loudly and consistently address this matter of fatherlessness.

MO CO BIZ OWNERS URGE NEW DIRECTION: A group of about 20 business owners delivered a message to Montgomery County’s chief economic development agency during a meeting Wednesday morning: the county must rebrand itself as a destination for tech companies rather than government employees and contractors, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports.

ROSENSTEIN ADDRESSES STATE BAR: Heather Cobun of the Daily Record reports that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein addressed a standing-room-only crowd Wednesday to open the Maryland State Bar Association’s Legal Summit and Annual Meeting, where he called on his fellow attorneys to model moderation and skepticism in an increasingly partisan environment. Rosenstein also quoted Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and former U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD LAUNCHES REGIONAL PUSH: Planned Parenthood says it is launching a regional political advocacy group to help protect abortion rights in Maryland, the District of Columbia and northern Virginia, the AP is reporting. Planned Parenthood is announcing this week that it is creating the political 501(c)(4) group. The announcement comes as abortion restrictions have been approved in state legislatures around the nation.

SARBANES WORRIED BY TRUMP EPA: Four former heads of the U.S. EPA under both Republican and Democratic presidents blasted the Trump administration’s management of the agency on Tuesday, telling a congressional panel that the administration runs the risk of harming the environment and public health for years to come. Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.), a member of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that held the hearing, said he’s also troubled by the agency’s actions under President Trump, Allison Winter reports in Maryland Matters.

CUMMINGS PANEL HOLDS BARR, ROSS IN CONTEMPT: Led by U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D), a House committee voted on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas, Robin Bravender of Maryland Matters writes. Cummings, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, scheduled the vote after Barr and Ross failed to comply with a subpoena seeking documents pertaining to the administration’s plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.