October 14, 2013

State Roundup, October 14, 2013

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DRIVING MR. GANSLER: John Wagner of the Post is reporting that written accounts by the Maryland State Police say that Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler regularly ordered state troopers assigned to drive him to turn on the lights and sirens on the way to routine appointments, directing them to speed, run red lights and bypass traffic jams by using the shoulder.

While denying that the backseat driving was an ongoing problem, Gansler, in a statement written about by the Sun on Sunday, wrote, “A few of the 18 troopers who have provided me protection felt my backseat driving made them uncomfortable — for that I apologize.”

IVEY TO RUN WITH GANSLER: Doug Gansler is expected to name Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s) as his gubernatorial running mate, according to two people familiar with her selection. John Wagner of the Post writes that Gansler is set to formally unveil Ivey as his 2014 running mate at an event scheduled Monday at the Prince George’s County lawmaker’s old high school.

CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that Anne Arundel County prosecutors hope they have enough evidence to convict a young woman of criminally negligent manslaughter, a misdemeanor, or felony auto manslaughter. But they acknowledge the felony charge is difficult to prove, and prosecutors from around the state have had mixed success in winning convictions using the new criminally negligent law, created in 2011 as a middle ground between auto manslaughter and lesser traffic charges punishable with fines.

DISABILITIES AUDIT: Widespread problems at the state’s Developmental Disabilities Administration cost taxpayers millions of dollars over the past two years, according to an audit released Friday. The Sun’s Luke Broadwater writes that the agency failed to collect $5.5 million in federal funds because it did not file the proper forms, improperly spent $600,000 on motor vehicles, and overpaid $400,000 for services that it never attempted to recoup, the audit found.

OYSTER RESTORATION: Maryland officials are heralding progress on the state’s Oyster Restoration and Aquaculture Development Plan, emphasizing record oyster spat production in the last year, reports Pat Furgurson for the Capital-Gazette.

FRACKING DEBATE: It will likely be months before Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley decides the fate of fracking in the Free State, but opponents of the natural-gas extraction process aim to keep the issue in the spotlight, CNS’s Sarah Polus reports in the Cumberland Times News.

9B RUN ‘FOR CHOICES:’ Rich Corkran entered his first political race “kind of on a whim,” writes Amanda Yeager for the Sun. In 2006, the Ellicott City Democrat decided to run against incumbent Republican state Sen. Allan Kittleman in District 9 when no one else stepped forward “because I felt people needed another choice,” he said. In 2014, Corkran will be running for a different seat as a candidate for the House of Delegates in District 9B, but his message is the same. “In a democracy, there should always be choices,” he said.

CRAIG TACKS RIGHT: Harford County Executive David Craig describes himself as a moderate by temperament, but he is staking out positions that seem certain to appeal to the Republican Party’s hard-core conservative base as he seeks the 2014 nomination for governor, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

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PAPER, IT WORKS: One of Maryland’s six health care groups contracted to enroll Marylanders in Obamacare health insurance plans has found a way around computer glitches the state has been experiencing since the health insurance exchange opened Oct. 1 — they’re going back to paper, Glynis Kazanjian reports for MarylandReporter.com.

FIXING HEALTH CARE GLITCHES: Fixing glitches on Maryland’s online marketplace could continue for as long as another month and a half, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Friday, comparing the effort to dealing with a hurricane or a snowstorm. Brian Witte of the AP, in a story that ran in the Salisbury Daily Times, reports that O’Malley said improvements are being made every day.

CARSON FORSAKES SCIENCE: Saying that formerly celebrated neurosurgeon Ben Carson has forsaken the scientific method for political pontificating, Barry Rascovar, writing in MarylandReporter.com, adds that Carson wins the prize for “wacko comments of the week.”

David Zurawik of the Sun posts a video of Carson’s comments along with a small item about his Friday speech in which he compares Obamacare to slavery.

FOOD STAMP CRASH: People in Maryland, Ohio, Michigan and 14 other states found themselves temporarily unable to use their food stamp debit-style cards on Saturday, after a routine test of backup systems by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a system failure, according to an AP story in the Salisbury Daily Times. Xerox announced late in the evening that access has been restored for users in the 17 states affected by the outage, hours after the first problems were reported.

Another program, WIC, which provides food and nutrition benefits for pregnant women and women with young children, was also affected, though those using WIC did not get their benefits earlier this month due to the federal government shutdown, writes Carrie Wells for the Sun.

LITTLE SHUTDOWN PAIN: Kate Yoon of the Capital-Gazette reports that hundreds of small federal contractors are based in Anne Arundel County, and many have been waiting to feel the pain of the government shutdown. But by most accounts, there hasn’t been much.

SODIUM REGULATION: Miranda Spivack of the Post reports that a proposal to require some Prince George’s County restaurants to prominently display sodium content levels on their menus is on hold. Prince George’s Council member Eric Olson is getting a cool reception for his bill from the restaurant industry and the administration of County Executive Rushern Baker.

COHEN & PANTELIDES: The Capital Gazette profiles the two candidates for mayor of Annapolis: Allison Bourg writes about incumbent Josh Cohen; and Jack Lambert writes about Mike Pantelides.

  • RadDad1

    If Ivey rumor is true then the primary will be an interesting race!

  • DisabledVeteran

    I know Ivey was likely rewarded for betraying a military family by proving Gansler information on the family’s efforts to provide information to the FBI concerning Gansler’s shenanigans. Gansler’s irrational pandering to blacks while violating the civil rights of black military families demonstrates his unsuitability for public office.