June 27, 2013

State Roundup, June 27, 2013

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Democrats jockeying to succeed Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley were quick to weigh in Wednesday on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage — and were hardly shy about sharing their roles in the fight for gay rights, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

Erin Cox of the Sun compiles statements released by O’Malley and others addressing the ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Alex Jackson of the Capital-Gazette also compiled politicians’ statements over the ruling.

The repeal of DOMA means some private employers in Maryland with self-funded insurance plans will now have to offer coverage to an employee’s same-sex spouse. Those employers were allowed to deny coverage to same-sex spouses because self-funded plans are governed by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, writes Alex Jackson for the Capital-Gazette.

Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette speaks with same-sex couples and advocates about the ruling and how lives will change for some.

Roosevelt Leftwich of WMAR-TV also reports on how Marylanders will be affected by the Supreme Court ruling.

Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM speaks about the issue with Mark Scurti, an attorney who is an expert in same-sex law; Michael Meyerson, professor of law at the University of Baltimore; and Del. Maggie McIntosh, representive for the 43rd District of Baltimore City.

WORKERS COMPENSATION: Maryland employers who pay workers compensation benefits for employees are getting a good deal on their hospital coverage compared to their counterparts in Virginia and Pennsylvania, a new report shows. They are paying about the same amount as group health insurers for common workplace surgeries, reports Christopher Goins in MarylandReporter.com.

PG STORMWATER PLAN: Prince George’s County officials, bumping up against a Monday deadline to improve controls on storm water and polluting runoff that spills into local waterways, are proposing new fees and a management program they hope will also create jobs, reports Miranda Spivack in the Post.

SCIENCE STANDARDS: Liz Bowie of the Sun reports that Maryland became the fourth state in the nation Tuesday to adopt new science standards that will require teachers to emphasize the process of doing science rather than memorizing facts, a move designed to get more children interested in science and science careers.

AUDIT FAULTS TU ON TUITION CHECKS: A legislative audit for 2009 to 2011 found that Towson University was slow to act when students repeatedly wrote bad tuition checks and that a $4.3 million agreement with the Maryland Department of Transportation circumvented Maryland procurement rules, reports Tricia Bishop for the Sun. The audit states that 78 students submitted two or more bad tuition checks worth $650,000 over two or more semesters.

HATTIE’S PLACE FUNDING: After the state’s Department of Human Resources denied the group home Aunt Hattie’s Place a renewal of its contract, the program lost the majority of its funding. Aunt Hattie’s Place receives donations from churches and local organizations, but the funds are not enough to fill the hole the state contract leaves behind, Sylvia Carignan reports in the Gazette.

CHARLES CO. GOP HOSTS GEORGE: The Charles County Republican Central Committee kicked off what it hopes will be a series of fundraisers featuring candidates for office last Friday with a mixer at Port Tobacco Restaurant featuring Del. Ron George, who earlier this month announced he was making a run for governor in 2014, reports Jeff Newman for the Gazette. A two-term lawmaker and small business owner, George, R-Anne Arundel, boasts a platform centered on economic growth.

MIZEUR VOLUNTEERS: Maryland delegate and potential candidate for governor Heather Mizeur left the booths and classroom atmosphere of the Maryland Municipal League’s Ocean City conference Tuesday to volunteer at the Diakonia homeless shelter, writes Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times.

RUNNING FOR MYERS’ SEAT: Allegany County Commissioner Michael McKay announced Wednesday that he’s running for the District 1C delegate seat in the Maryland General Assembly currently held by Del. LeRoy Myers, who has announced he won’t be seeking re-election, Matthew Bieniek reports in the Cumberland Times-News.

DUNCAN CAMPAIGN BREAKFAST: Doug Duncan’s breakfast for campaign volunteers Wednesday at the Marriott Conference Center had the feel of a class reunion, with name tags, hugs and a median age of about 60. But Duncan, running to reclaim the Montgomery County executive’s job from Ike Leggett, kept the focus on the future in his brief comments, Bill Turque reports in the Post.

DEM CLUB SEEKS NEW IDENTITY: The 33rd Democratic Club of Anne Arundel County is pondering its identity as the political map has shifted around it. District lines that once stretched south from Odenton to Calvert County in a pattern resembling a chicken leg, have contracted and turned east. The lines now reach from Severn to Davidsonville and Cape St. Claire, making District 33 look more like a crab scuttling toward the water, writes Jake Linger for the Capital-Gazette.