January 15, 2014

State Roundup, January 15, 2014

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In this screen capture of the video stream, Health and Govt Operations Committee Chair Pete Hammen, left, hears from Carolyn Quattraocki, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and IT Secretary Isabel Fitzgerald,

In this screen capture of the video stream, Health and Govt Operations Committee Chair Pete Hammen, left, hears from Health Exchange head Carolyn Quattrocki, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and IT Secretary Isabel Fitzgerald,

FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE WEBSITE: Jenna Johnson of the Post reports that a member of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Cabinet told lawmakers Tuesday that Maryland’s health exchange website is still riddled with glitches and might need to be completely overhauled — or even abandoned — once the first round of enrollment ends March 31.

PROBE SOUGHT: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post is reporting that, as state leaders scramble to remedy problems with Maryland’s health care exchange, state Sen. David Brinkley is pushing for an independent investigation into the troubled rollout.

EPIC BUNGLING: “How could this epic bungling have happened in a state that often oozes self-satisfaction with its progressive policies, led by a governor who considers himself a 2016 presidential contender?” asks the Post’s Petula Dvorak in a scathing column. “Hubris, vanity and plain incompetence all played a role and have cost tens of thousands of Marylanders health coverage for months.”

MEDICARE WAIVER: In other health care news, CNS’s Patrick Farrell, writing in the Cecil Whig, reports that Maryland and federal officials announced Friday the approval of a Medicare waiver that could put the state at the forefront of progressive health care. The plan marks the first step in the state’s plan to move away from fee-for-service financing in hospitals in an attempt to establish a system of preventative, better quality care.

RAISE THE WAGE: Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown on Tuesday embraced a plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 and tie further increases to inflation, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

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TUITION HIKE PROPOSED: Gov. Martin O’Malley said he plans to unveil a $39 billion spending plan Wednesday that contains no new taxes or fees but calls for a 3% increase in college tuition, Erin Cox of the Sun writes.

POLICE MONITORING: A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers on Tuesday announced a package of legislation intended to put limits on law enforcement’s use of technology to monitor the e-mail of citizens and track their movements, the Post’s John Wagner is reporting.

TRANSGENDER PROTECTIONS: A bill to protect transgender Marylanders from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations was filed Tuesday in Annapolis by Sen. Richard Madaleno, the Sun’s Kevin Rector writes.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz joined his counterparts from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Annapolis Tuesday to appeal for more state funding for school construction, saying they need help coping with rising enrollments, Tim Wheeler and Michael Dresser of the Sun are reporting.

STATE’S FISCAL HEALTH: Maryland ranks near the bottom of the nation in its overall fiscal condition, Red Maryland reports on a new report.  In State Fiscal Condition: Ranking the 50 States, researcher Sarah Arnett of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranks the states using several different fiscal metrics.

ELECTIONS BOARD LEFT OUT: In the circumstances surrounding a controversial fundraising election law affecting the governor’s race, chief elections administrator Linda Lamone, who is appointed by a five-member board, never asked that board to review a fundraising guidance letter she sent Dec. 19, Glynis Kazanjian writes for MarylandReporter.com.

CRAIG’S CASH: Harford County Executive David Craig, expected to be one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor, reported Tuesday that he ended the 2013 fund-raising year with almost $50,000 less than he had on hand a year before. Craig, who filed a day ahead of the deadline, reported having $154,577 on hand at the close of the reporting period Jan. 8, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

O’MALLEY MUM ON CHRISTIE: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about Gov. O’Malley’s appearance on CNN on Sunday and why he took the “no road” when asked to comment on the scandal surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

UM VS. ACC: As the University of Maryland’s athletic teams are winding down their membership in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the school is considerably ramping up legal efforts — and making new allegations — aimed at ending the 61-year partnership on its own financial terms. Jeff Barker of the Sun reports that Maryland filed a $157 million counterclaim against the ACC on Monday, alleging the conference is improperly withholding revenue and NCAA funds as retaliation for the school’s November 2012 decision to leave for the Big Ten Conference.

  • UnmatchedProductions

    A note to Maryland Reporter writers – as you start reporting on this year’s budget, please make sure you include info about last year’s. We need people to be aware that any “cuts” O’Malley proposes are part of a budget that is $2 billion dollars greater than last year’s budget.