January 21, 2014

State Roundup, January 21, 2014

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RETROACTIVE ENROLLMENT, CONTINUED TROUBLE: With a deadline today for uninsured Marylanders to secure health coverage retroactive to Jan. 1, would-be enrollees continued to report frustration with the state’s troubled health exchange, report Matthew Hay Brown and Erin Cox for the Sun.

O’MALLEY’S LEGISLATIVE PLANS: Gov. Martin O’Malley formally announced his final legislative package Monday, putting forward bills to raise the minimum wage, curb domestic violence and expand pre-kindergarten, among other priorities, John Wagner of the Post reports.

BISHOPS PUSH WAGE HIKE: The Catholic bishops of Maryland weighed in Monday in favor of an increase in the state’s minimum wage, an issue that Gov. Martin O’Malley is pressing with the General Assembly this session, writes John Wagner of the Post.

CAUTION URGED ON SPENDING: Frederick Kunkle of the Post is reporting that a top budget analyst urged Maryland lawmakers on Monday to take a more cautious approach toward state spending than that taken by Gov. Martin O’Malley in his proposed budget, saying the governor’s proposal lacks a sufficient cushion to cover unforeseen expenses and relies on other potentially risky budgeting strategies.

BAY FOUNDATION ON STORMWATER RUNOFF: One inch of rainfall on 1 acre of pavement causes enough polluted runoff to fill most backyard swimming pools. And about 10,000 acres are paved each year in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These figures were in a Chesapeake Bay Foundation report released Monday that calls runoff pollution a “growing threat” to the nation’s largest estuary, reports Tim Prudente for the Annapolis Capital.

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COMMITTEE LIVE-STREAMING OK’D: Maryland residents will now have greater opportunity to see how the legislative sausage is made in Annapolis. The Senate late Monday voted 41-3 to change the rules and allow committees to live-stream voting sessions at the discretion of each chairman, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The rule change is two years in the making.

DISTRICT 30B: An Anne Arundel County police lieutenant is running for the House of Delegates’ District 30B seat being vacated by Del. Bob Costa at the end of this year. If elected, Lt. Jim Fredericks hopes to have a “common sense” approach to community issues, including reducing taxes, providing better education for students and restoring the Chesapeake Bay, writes Sara Blumberg for the Annapolis Capital.

SPENDING WISELY: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland breaks down the gubernatorial campaign spending into various sectors to see how each democratic hopeful have spent their war chests thus far and who spent the most wisely.

HOGAN TO ANNOUNCE: Ending months of speculation, conservative activist and real estate executive Larry Hogan is getting into the race for governor, running as a political outsider to “bring fiscal responsibility and common sense to Annapolis,” writes Tim Wheeler in the Sun.

SIERRA CLUB BACKS MIZEUR: Del. Heather Mizeur has won the endorsement of the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club in her bid to become the state’s next governor, writes John Wagner of the Post.