January 16, 2014

State Roundup, January 16, 2014

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$39.3 BILLION BUDGET: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley unveiled a $39.2 billion budget Wednesday that offered few new initiatives but that he said would close a projected $421 million deficit without raising taxes and put the state on a path toward removing a structural deficit by 2017, reports Frederick Kunckle of the Post.

HEALTH COVERAGE: Maryland health exchange workers are focusing the next few days on calling and emailing thousands of uninsured people to see if they need coverage for this month and to let them know they have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to sign up for private health insurance that would be retroactive to Jan. 1, reports Jenna Johnson for the Post.

VETERANS COURT: CNS’s Brandon Goldner reports in the Cecil Whig that a Maryland state task force has recommended that a veterans court, which are similar to drug courts, be established at the Circuit Court level in Prince George’s County. The county is home to the largest veteran population in the state.

AN EDUCATION GOVERNOR: Given the high level of educational attainment by Maryland residents and the demand by Maryland businesses for highly educated employees, being pro-education is a must for any candidate for the office of governor.  The question for this election is whether any of the contenders will be the champion of major reform that is needed to move the state ahead in what is increasingly becoming an international competition, writes Laslo Boyd for Center Maryland.

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ON THE FUND-RAISING FRONT

GOVERNOR: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown surged into the lead in fundraising in the Democratic campaign for governor as he built up his treasury to slightly more than $7 million. Brown’s strong performance over the past year vaulted him above Attorney General Doug Gansler, who on Wednesday reported having $6.3 million on hand, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery) finished the year with more than twice as much money in the bank as any of his rivals for Maryland attorney general, reports John Wagner in the Post.

MO CO EXEC RACE: Bill Turque of the Post writes that according to reports filed Wednesday with the Maryland State Board of Elections, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has opened up a better than 3-to-1 cash advantage over Democratic primary opponent Doug Duncan in his bid for a third term.

ARUNDEL EXEC RACE: Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that in the race for Anne Arundel County executive, Republican Del. Steve Schuh has reported having nearly $865,000 cash on hand, more than three times as much money in the bank as either of his political rivals. His opponent in the Republican primary, County Executive Laura Neuman, reported having nearly $228,000 available.

ARUNDEL EDUCATION: Alex Jackson of the Annapolis Capital writes that while Anne Arundel delegates have disagreed over whether to have an elected school board or an appointed one, they all agree that the county needs more high schools.