March 19, 2014

State Roundup, March 19, 2014

Print More

CROSSOVER DEAL: The General Assembly’s presiding officers have resolved their differences after Crossover Day didn’t quite cross over on Monday, reports Alex Jackson for the Annapolis Capital. The House of Delegates had passed nearly 100 bills before it adjourned around 6 p.m. on Monday, the last day bills can pass either the House or Senate without being sent to the other chamber’s Rules Committee — an often-fatal legislative hurdle. But because delegates left Annapolis before the Senate convened at 7 p.m., around 40 bills passed by the Senate later could not be introduced in the House and missed the “crossover deadline.”

HEALTH CARE SIGNUP CHANGE: With less than two weeks left to sign up for private health insurance through Maryland’s online marketplace, state officials announced Tuesday that residents who start enrollment by the March 31 deadline — or express interest by calling a hotline — will be allowed to finalize their enrollment later on, Jenna Johnson is reporting in the Post.

BAIL SYSTEM OVERHAUL: Time is running short for legislators to overhaul Maryland’s bail system this session. Otherwise the state will have to spend as much as $30 million yearly to meet a state Court of Appeals requirement by paying extra attorneys, according to an AP story in the Annapolis Capital. A joint workgroup of senators and delegates is trying to compromise between the plans favored by their respective chambers. Amid these negotiations, Senate President Mike Miller told reporters Tuesday that Baltimore City should handle the problem alone. He said a proposed solution from Sen. Brian Frosh would waste millions of dollars.

WILD ANIMAL BILL: Representatives of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo and several similar establishments have successfully negotiated changes to a wild-animal bill that could have prevented some from replacing their bears and large cats, Bethany Rodgers reports for the Frederick News-Post.

STUMBLING IN RACE TO TOP: Erica Green of the Sun writes that according to the U.S. Department of Education, Maryland’s progress in reaching goals in the third year of the federal Race to the Top program has been stymied by implementing the Common Core standards, creating new teacher and principal evaluations and building new data systems.

TIPPED WORKERS’ PAY: A coalition pushing for legislation to raise Maryland’s minimum wage launched radio ads Tuesday that object to a provision in the bill that would change the way tipped workers, such as wait-staff at restaurants, are compensated, writes John Wagner in the Post.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PAY: Workers on many local school construction projects would be paid at a higher rate under a prevailing wage bill approved Tuesday by the Maryland Senate, Jeremy Bauer-Wolf writes in MarylandReporter.com.

MYTH OF ‘PAID WHAT YOU’RE WORTH’: Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, in an op-ed in the Sun, writes that it’s often assumed that people are paid what they’re worth. According to this logic, minimum wage workers aren’t worth more than the $7.25 an hour they now receive. If they were worth more, they’d earn more. Any attempt to force employers to pay them more will only kill jobs. Don’t buy it.

BOW HUNTING WITH GUNS: State Sen. George Edwards has been trying for three sessions to get the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation that would allow bow hunters stalking deer to carry handguns in some areas of Western Maryland, writes Kaustuv Basu in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. On Tuesday, the Republican senator who represents Garrett and Allegany counties, as well as a part of western Washington County, made his case before a crucial House committee that likely will decide the fate of the measure.

LIQUOR SALES IN WORCESTER TOWNS: America’s favorite small town — and a couple others in Worcester County — could soon have permission to sell liquor in retail stores, reports Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times. Legislation approved by a Senate committee Tuesday would allow Worcester County to issue a Class D beer, wine and liquor license within the corporate limits of the three towns.

STUDENTS CREATE CANDIDATE’S PHONE APP: While Candy Crush may be topping the charts for smartphone apps, a pair of Walter Johnson High School seniors are gaining traction with an app to help one District 16 House of Delegates candidate get the word out to voters. On the app, users can learn more about Jordan Cooper, figure out if they live in District 16 and find election information, Sarah Scully reports in the Gazette.

MIZEUR WOULD REPLACE JAIL: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur said Tuesday that she doesn’t want to spend the more than $500 million it would take to replace the badly deteriorated Baltimore City jail, but said she recognizes something must be done to replace the “decrepit” state-run facility, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

CAMPAIGN HEALTH COVERAGE: Maryland’s Democratic primary for governor, you’re more likely to be getting help with health insurance coverage if you work for the campaigns of Anthony Brown or Heather Mizeur than Doug Gansler, John Wagner reports in the Post.

BACKING GANSLER: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun talk about the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance’s endorsement of Attorney General Doug Gansler for governor and why the IMA has historically been a powerful political force in Baltimore City.

GUB CANDIDATE DISQUALIFIED: Brian Vaeth’s campaign was disqualified for not meeting the five-year voter registration requirement for the office, writes blogger Jeff Quinton of the Quinton Report. Vaeth plans to appeal the ruling. In 2010, Charles Lollar didn’t run for governor for the same reason, but he hadn’t filed yet like Vaeth did this cycle.