State Roundup, June 14, 2019

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OUTRAGE OVER UMMS REPORT, BOARD INVITES: Gov. Larry Hogan and lawmakers are outraged over the latest ‘self-dealing’ report about the University of Maryland Medical System, with some people criticizing the system board’s decision to invite four members to return from leaves they took while the scandal was investigated, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun.

FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER CLAY MITCHELL DIES: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters is reporting that former House speaker Clay Mitchell has died. He was 83. Mitchell, a Democrat, served as speaker from 1987 to 1992.

BSO MUSICIANS TAKE TO ANNAPOLIS FOR FUNDING: Wearing tuxedos with tails and lugging brass horns and metal music stands, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians rallied in Annapolis on Thursday to urge Gov. Larry Hogan to release funding to help save the orchestra — and their jobs, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. The orchestra is one of about three dozen programs and projects waiting for the governor to make available money that the General Assembly “fenced off” in the state’s $46.6 billion budget.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Maryland county leaders focused on the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world and what is happening locally to combat it at MACo’s Spring Symposium. Human trafficking prevention and strategy was the topic at the Quiet Water’s Blue Heron Center in Anne Arundel County, writes Natasha Mehu for the Maryland Association of Counties blog Conduit Street.

GROUP AIMS TO FIND LGBTQ HISTORY: Historic preservation nonprofit Preservation Maryland was in Frederick to identify historic sites with direct importance to the LGBTQ community, reports Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg in the Frederick News Post. The report on historic LGBTQ sites across the state will make Maryland the second state in the country to study its LGBTQ history. The research is funded by a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust.

HOGAN WANTS SAY IN PIMLICO TALKS: Gov. Larry Hogan says state officials should be included in talks between Baltimore City and the owners of Pimlico and the Preakness. But he stopped short of detailing what role the state would take in negotiations aside from reiterating opposition to pumping hundreds of millions in state aid into renovating the crumbling facility, reports Bryan P. Sears for the Daily Record.

  • In a June 13 interview on WBAL NewsRadio’s C4 Show, Hogan said he’s encouraged that talks are on again between Baltimore City leaders and the owners of Pimlico Race Course. Hogan said he was set to meet with Young , adding that state has a role to play in determining not just the future of Pimlico and the Preakness, but the neighboring Park Heights community, whether the Preakness is to stay at Pimlico or not.

B’MORE NIXED STATE HELP IN COMPUTER HACK: A senior official for Maryland’s Department of Information Technology told a meeting of the Maryland Cybersecurity Council last month that Baltimore officials did not welcome help from their experts for the first week after City Hall’s computer networks were locked up by hackers, Doug Donovan and Ian Duncan of the Sun report.

URBAN BLIGHT DEMOLITIONS IN BALTIMORE: Baltimore Mayor Jack Young and Gov. Larry Hogan joined forces today to announce what they called a milestone in eliminating urban blight, WBFF-TV’s Bryna Zumer reports.The leaders announced the 4,000th building unit demolished over a four-year period through a special state-city partnership started by the governor.

MO CO DEBATE RAGES ON I-270: The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce’s new chairman says he wants county elected officials to get the message that Montgomery County is falling behind economically, needs to get out of the liquor business and should support the proposal to widen I-270 and the Beltway, reports Dan Schere in Bethesda Beat. Chair Andy Stern and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich also have some points of disagreement.

CLIMATE CHANGE PART 5: PROGRAMS LEAVE MANY OUT IN THE COLD: In Part 5 in the Capital News Service series “Climate Change, Public Health and Baltimore,” Dan Novak and Noah Johnson write about the new Critical Medical Needs Program and other efforts to protect the state’s most vulnerable from the cold. MarylandReporter.com is publishing the series.

OPINION: BALTIMORE CITY/COUNTY MERGER: In an op-ed for Maryland Matters, Dan Sparaco, a former Baltimore assistant deputy mayor, says the problem for the Baltimore region is the absence of a shared destiny. Shared governance wouldn’t fix this problem. In fact, he writes, the problem itself makes shared governance impossible.

B’MORE GRADE FIXING: Gov. Larry Hogan is putting pressure on Baltimore City Public Schools following allegations of students’ grades being fixed, Tim Tooten reports for WBAL TV. “… we are going to want to see the results of that investigation, and we are going to be pushing that the state board sees the results of that investigation,” Hogan said.

DEL. McKAY: KIRWAN COULD IMPACT WA CO BUDGET: Del. Mike McKay told the Hancock Town Council that he is concerned some of the expenses for an education plan in Maryland will fall to county governments, reports Mike Lewis for the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Funding the Kirwan Commission recommendations is “above my pay grade,” he said. But a lobbyist for the town said the community schools portion of the plan could be an opportunity for Hancock.

NEW EARLY VOTING SPOT FOR CARROLL: Carroll County is likely to add a new early voting center ahead of the presidential primaries or general election in 2020 to meet state law, reports Leah Brennan for the Carroll County Times. The county stands at about 123,000 voters now and when it hits 125,000 registered voters, another center will be needed. Finding a new location where 80% of its voters live within five miles of one of the centers is called a “large challenge.”

PG’S IANNUCCI PROFILED: David Iannucci, the top economic development official for Prince George’s County has lived all over the world, and all over Maryland. But he keeps coming back to his hometown, writes Alex Koma in the Washington Business Journal.

CITY TO MULL PLASTIC GROCERY BAG BAN: Baltimore City Councilman Bill Henry plans to propose a ban on plastic bags at city grocers and corner stores, Scott Dance of the Sun reports. His legislation would also create a 5-cent checkout surcharge for use of other types of bags, including ones made of paper or other compostable materials.

DELANEY PICKED FOR FIRST DEM DEBATE: Former U.S. representative from Maryland John Delaney will be one of 20 hopefuls for seeking the Democratic nomination to be picked to participate in the first debate, Michael Finnegan of the LA Times reports. The debate, to be televised live by NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, will take place in Miami on June 26 and 27, with 10 candidates on stage each night.