Hogan to sign bills into law, including U.Md. medical board overhaul

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will sign 197 bills into law on Thursday morning, including one that would restructure the University of Maryland Medical System board, which has been mired in scandal.

The bill would require UMMS to adopt a conflict of interest policy, bar the inclusion of a state or local elected official on the board, and prohibits members from using the office for private gain. House Bill 1428 was sponsored by the late Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch.

The UMMS board has been under scrutiny since it was revealed that Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh — who previously served on the board and in the Maryland Senate — had sponsored dozens of bills that would benefit hospitals in Maryland. She also had a no-bid deal in which she received $500,000 for her “Healthy Holly” children’s books.

The governor will also sign into law bills he introduced, including a bill that classifies human trafficking as a violent crime and a bill that increases jail time for repeat drunken drivers.

Other bills that will be signed into law include: a controversial measure that creates a 100-member police department on the campus on the Johns Hopkins University.

Worried about police accountability, students and Baltimore City community groups objected to increased police presence on the campus, and instead pushed for more community programs.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who lives in Baltimore, urged lawmakers to create the police force. Cummings surprised the Baltimore City Delegation in Annapolis when he testified before them, saying, “I’ve come here begging you to do something” about the escalating violent crime in Baltimore City.

Hogan will also sign a resolution that designates June 28 as Press Freedom Day, a measure in recognition of the work of the staff at the Capital Gazette, who continued to put out a paper after five of their co-workers were killed in a mass shooting.

This week, the Capital Gazette was awarded a Special Citation by the Pulitzer Prize Board “for demonstrating unflagging commitment to covering the news and serving their community at a time of unspeakable grief.”

More than 800 bills were passed in the legislative session that ended April 8. There will be three other bill signing ceremonies on April 30, May 13 and May 23.

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