November 20, 2013

State Roundup, November 20, 2013

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MD EXCHANGE TECH PROBLEMS: Lena Sun of the Post reports that Maryland is wrestling with stubborn technological problems with its online insurance exchange, posting weak enrollment even as other states have signed up thousands of consumers for plans under President Obama’s new health-care law.

CANCELLATION OPTIONS: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler advised state health insurance carriers in a letter sent Monday, Nov. 18, that consumers who receive a policy cancellation notice must be informed in an easy to understand and concise manner of their full rights and options under state and federal law, reports Josh Bollinger for the Easton Star Democrat.

HEALTH ROLLOUT FUMBLE: The two leading Democratic candidates for governor of Maryland engaged in some trash talk Tuesday over the implementation of health-care reform in the state, reports John Wagner of the Post. The campaign of Attorney General Doug Gansler accused Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown of “dropping the ball” on the rollout of the Maryland Health Exchange on a day when Brown appeared alongside past and present Washington Redskins players to promote enrollment in insurance programs.

Michael Dresser and Meredith Cohn of the Sun also report that Republican gubernatorial candidate David Craig, was quick to add his criticism. Craig, the Harford County executive, released a statement saying, “The hard work of cleaning up the mess that is Obamacare is better left to anyone but Anthony Brown.”

PAPER BALLOTS: Local election officials are already expressing uncertainty about what could go wrong when the state switches from an electronic voting system to using paper ballots in the next two years. By the 2016 presidential elections the state will replace touch-screen machines and make a fundamental shift to the way voters cast ballots, writes Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

COMMON CORE GRIEVANCE: Baltimore County teachers filed a grievance this week against the county school board saying new education initiatives are forcing them to work long hours beyond their normal day, writes Liz Bowie in the Sun. Teachers in the county and the rest of the state have had to adapt their teaching this school year to new, more rigorous standards known as the Common Core.

AA STORMWATER FEE: The Anne Arundel County Council Monday night voted down a measure that would have lowered stormwater fees for county residents to $1 per year, reports Rema Rahman for the Capital Gazette. The vote was 4-3, with opponents of the measure citing concerns about a lack of alternate funding and a backlog of stormwater cleanup projects.

BIDEN TOUTS CSX TRANSFER STATION:After touring the expansion of the Panama Canal, Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday they plan to increase their advocacy for a proposed CSX transfer station in Baltimore City, writes Luke Broadwater in the Sun.

O’MALLEY VIDEO: CNN picked up the video that ran before Gov. Martin O’Malley’s speech in New Hampshire last weekend. There is considerable disagreement about some of the facts portrayed in the video, including the final one about “cutting the cost of state government.” The overall state budget has grown by $9 billion since he became governor.

Campaign On leaderboard 11-1-2013

A GENTEEL CAMPAIGN: The editorial board of the Sun defends the use of campaign trackers by rivals, but says it is all for a more genteel gubernatorial campaign.

DEL. GEORGE SPEAKS: Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM spends an hour getting to know Del. Ron George (R-Anne Arundel County), one of three Republican candidates running for governor in 2014.

DUMAIS’ FAMILY FOCUS: Del. Kathleen Dumais (D-Dist. 15) is moving forward with her family-focused initiatives and a unified tax policy in Annapolis as she seeks support for another term, writes Sylvia Carignan for the Gazette.

DEL. ECKARDT SEEKS RE-ELECTION: Del. Adelaide Eckardt, who has represented the mid-Shore in Annapolis since the mid-1990s, plans to seek another term in the Maryland General Assembly, Jennifer Shutt reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.

SEEKING DYSON’S SEAT: St. Mary’s County Commissioner Cindy Jones (R) formally announced this week that she is running for the Maryland’s District 29 Senate in next year’s election, seeking the seat currently held by Sen. Roy Dyson (D), who said this week he will seek re-election, Jesse Yeatman writes in the Gazette.

KAGAN IN FOREHAND RACE: A former delegate from Montgomery County said Tuesday she plans to seek the state Senate seat currently held by fellow Democratic Sen. Jennie Forehand. The announcement by Cheryl Kagan came the same day that Del. Luiz Simmons, another Democratic candidate for the same Senate seat, released a poll claiming an edge over Kagan in a head-to-head contest, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

Forehand, meanwhile, has remained coy about whether she plans to seek reelection next year. She did not immediately return a phone call Tuesday, writes John Wagner for the Post.