Planned Parenthood bill

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is surrounded in March by lawmakers who supported a bill to use state funds for family planning services if federal funds were cut.

ANNAPOLIS — A majority of the early-filed bills presented to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) by the Democratically controlled Legislature became law at 12:01 a.m. Thursday — without the governor’s signature.

Those measures included a bill that ensures funding for Planned Parenthood and other women’s health care providers if federal funding is cut. Another was the state’s capital budget bill, which includes $16 million in funding for a proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center project.

Hogan signed 11 measures — including one addressing Metro safety oversight and a statewide fracking ban — over the past week.

The governor vetoed one bill — the “Protect Our Schools Act of 2017” — on Wednesday. Both the House of Delegates and Senate voted — along party lines — to override the governor’s veto on Thursday.

More on the measures that have become law:

Capital budget funding for downtown hotel project

As amended, the capital budget includes $16 million in grants for the project. In fiscal 2018, the project would receive a $5 million grant. Other amendments include a $7.5 million grant preauthorization for fiscal 2019 and a $3.5 million grant preauthorization for fiscal 2020.

Hogan originally struck the General Assembly’s preauthorized funding for the project when he introduced the capital budget earlier this year. He could have used his line-item veto authority to strike any of the projects in the capital budget.

Opponents of the project, including Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, said the governor’s decision not to use veto power is not the final word on the project’s funding. The grants are subject to release by the Maryland Board of Public Works, which Hogan chairs.

A new fact sheet about the project from the city shows $53 million in private funding from Plamondon Hospitality Partners. It also includes $31 million in public funding through a combination of city payments and parking funds, tax-increment financing at the city and county level, and the state capital grant funding, among other public sources.

The fact sheet states that design will begin as soon as funding is in place — estimated as the start of the 2018 fiscal year, July 1 — and that the hotel and conference center is projected to open in the spring of 2020.

The proposed hotel and conference center property at 200 and 212 E. Patrick St. is owned by a business entity formed by members of the Randall family. The Randall family also owns the parent company of The Frederick News-Post.

Other Frederick County funding in the state’s capital budget plan includes matching grants for the Remsberg Park multipurpose youth sports field in Middletown ($100,000), the Historical Society of Frederick County ($25,000) and New Spire Stages ($50,000). Capital funding is also included for renovations at Frederick Community College and improvements to the water treatment plant at Cunningham Falls State Park.

Planned Parenthood
funding fallback

If federal funding is cut for Planned Parenthood or other Title X-funded health centers in the state, House Bill 1083 would shift state funding to cover health services.

The measure, which takes effect July 1, would direct $2 million from Maryland’s Medicaid budget and $700,000 for the state’s general fund to family planning services.

Planned Parenthood — a regular target of Republican defunding proposals — serves about 25,000 patients at nine health centers in Maryland, including one on Thomas Johnson Drive in Frederick.

Responding to federal
government policies

One bill allocates $1 million in future budgets to the attorney general’s office to pay for added expenses for bringing lawsuits against federal government actions that hurt the state. Hogan spoke out against the bill in February on WBAL-AM’s “The C4 Show.” The Republican governor questioned how much money would be “wasted chasing windmills.”

Another measure creates a commission to monitor federal actions that could affect health care in Maryland. The measure was prompted by concerns about Republican-led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

‘Protect Our Schools’

Hogan vetoed a bill that creates a formula for identifying and assisting struggling schools.

Supporters say the bill takes a creative approach to provide a big-picture view of how schools succeed. They also say it protects public schools from privatization.

Hogan and other Republicans who oppose the bill say it’s too lax on academic performance standards, caves to special interests and makes it difficult for the state to fix struggling schools.

The House of Delegates voted 90-50 on Thursday to override the veto. The Senate voted 32-15 in favor of the override.

Among Frederick County lawmakers, all three Democrats — Sen. Ron Young and delegates Carol Krimm and Karen Lewis Young — voted to support the override. Republican lawmakers — Sen. Michael Hough and delegates Kathy Afzali, Barrie Ciliberti, William Folden and David E. Vogt III — voted against the override.

Energy efficiency program extended

Maryland’s five largest electric utilities will be required to provide customers with energy-efficiency programs and services to cut energy consumption by 2 percent a year. It extends the EmPower Maryland initiative, which was first enacted in 2008.

Universal pre-K to be studied

A work group will study the implementation of universal access to prekindergarten for 4-year-olds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(22) comments

jerseygrl42

the down town hotel is yet another shameful rip off of the tax p[ayers ; it should not be built if it has to be supported with 40% of the cost coming from the pockets of taxpayers and the profits going into the pockets of the Randalls and Plamondons....very sad

KellyAlzan

FNP staff - please monitor and moderate the comments from Burgess. His comments are bullying in context and contain name calling. Clearly violating the comment rules. Please suspend for 29 days.

dremsberg

I agree. I flag one response where he was insulting one if the readers resorting to name calling. Not to mention his condescending attitude

AnotherFineMess

Public funding, City payments, parking funds? And those City snake oil salesmen (Richard Griffin) will tell you NO public money will be used.

Only for infrastructure we were told.. a confrerence center in NOT infrastructure.

9.6M for parking? Used to be 27M for deck 6 now removed and that money has been siphoned off elsewhere and poorly documented.

So why would someone spend 250+ per night in an upscale hotel with no parking and obnoxious access when they can get comphy accommodations right off the highway for 120 per night?

The draw is NOT there. It will fail, the Plamodons will sell and the City will be stuck with a 25 year ball and chain. With no parking.

Burgessdr

Totally uninformed. Hotel rooms projected $170 per night. Not "$250+ per night" as you say. Parking spaces on site are targeted to be 200-300. Not "No parking" as you say. "$27M for deck 6 siphoned off". That was proposed costs. No money was siphoned off anywhere. Jeepers.

AnotherFineMess

Let's see.. 700 capacity conference center, 200 employees, 2 restaurants.. not including hotel guests you're looking at peak parking demand of 1000+!
Those visitors attending conferences may park, attend then walk around downtown. Those spaces will be occupied by people no longer there leaving less space for new arrivals including hotel guests. Guess what they'll see???
NO PARKING!
300 spaces are not adequate and a garage 3 blocks away doesn't make an upscale facility upscale.
It's a looser, guaranteed!!!
All your quoted numbers are low Balled for public appeasement and deceptive sales. Sorry, you're the uninformed one.

AnotherFineMess

A simple summary from the latest Walker parking study. Although there are other comments that show other concerns regardless of mysterious undocumented parking plans.
" Parking Deck 6 will be required if the hotel is constructed."
That's 550+ spaces! The original estimate for deck 6 was 27M. And it's off the drawing board.
Still NOT ENOUGH PARKING!

Burgessdr

Mr Negativity AnotherFine Mess. If you bothered to read the cost estimate you would know that the cost estimate includes 15% for inflation and contingencies. If you bothered to read the MOU with Plamondon, you would know that 100% of the hotel costs are the responsibility of Plamondon, whether that be $53 million or $60 million. If you read the MOU, you would know that the conference center is estimated at $8 and if the costs are higher, the MOU says any overruns are 100% responsibility of Plamondon. If you read the estimate you would know that the $9 million for parking is an upper limit not to exceed.

Hammer

Even if this money comes through, it will not meet the full costs of the project to the City and state. Costs will escalate, they'll come back begging the City for more. The historic has not been mitigated, that won't happen with a bulldozer in a day. So cynical to see the newspaper approve of the state paying their owner family off, yet claiming in editorials that they've disproven opponents claims against the project. The rfp process in the City was dirty. The Aldermen have failed in oversight. The Mayor needs to go. Ron Young needs to go. The new economy proposed by building this will erode further the weak downtown economy and the historic character it boasts. And in a decade it will be an albatross seeking financial inputs again to survive.

nbouqu1

Exactly

DickD

This will be a money loser. The only ones sure of a good profit are the Randalls. The Plamondons have to hope they get the expected customers to offset their costs. So, this was done mostly for the Randalls, they should thank the Youngs for their profit.

KellyAlzan

The stadium authority previously said NO to funding this sham. But.....didn't the stadium authority say something along the lines to re-present it to them in a different wording? Anyone know what I'm trying to talk about?

bicep42

The bottomless pit of the taxpayer purse is always open for corporate welfare. What a shameful disgrace.

dremsberg

Thought the funding was for the conference center - why oh why does the headline for this article say the funding is for the hotel project? Is the reporter just inept or has the public been misled? Either way this is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money period.

KellyAlzan

[thumbup][thumbup]

Burgessdr

Apparently being informed is not your strong suit. The funding in the proposed agreement is
$3.4 million for Land
$8.3 million for Conference Center
$9.6 million for Parking
$1.4 million for Road Improvements
$8.3 million for Public Soft Cost & Contingency

DickD

It still spells robbery of tax payers money, burgess.

Burgessdr

DickD. Not a single nickel of your property taxes or personal income taxes are being used. For example, the parking bonds will be paid back by parking fees by users just like any other city parking. The bonds for road improvements will be paid back taxes on the property just like your property taxes are used to make improvements to the roads that service your property. The bonds for the conference center will be paid back by sales, income, and hotel taxes generate by business. So unless you stay at the hotel or at the conference center, not one single nickel of your money will be used.

DickD

[thumbup][thumbup]

AnotherFineMess

Unfortunately everybody's taxes will pay for the additional demand on infrastructure.
Simply because the tax revenue for the debacle is being used to pay off debt and not going to where the rest of the public money goes.
Yes, your tax dollars are & will be used. Every penny! Why are we gambling the current parking fund to back risky loans when we desperately need another deck and the Church St. deck must be rebuilt.
It's not just about the hotel & conference center. We are already planning on using needed funds to limit the Plamodons risk.

KellyAlzan

[thumbup][thumbup]

nbouqu1

and the assertion that the hotel will generate enough revenue to cover the finance costs assumes that it brings it at least as much as their optimistic projections say it will in NEW spending. Not shifting economic activity from one business to another or worse one part of the state to another. And it does not account for the impact of the hotel on our local budgets, which ironically becomes more costly the more successful the hotel is. Trash pick up alone is going to be an issue.

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