May 13, 2014

State Roundup, May 13, 2014

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HOSPITAL BILLING AUDITS: Mark Newgent of RedMaryland.com writes that the state agency for financial administration of Maryland’s $7.6 billion Medicaid program failed to provide adequate oversight over contracted vendors responsible for billing verification for hospitals, long term care facilities and insurance companies. An April 2014 legislative audit of the Medical Care Programs Administration, an agency in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, revealed that audits of hospital records — to verify services being billed were actually provided — were not conducted after 2007.

SALES TAX CUT: The editorial board for the Sun writes that every candidate for governor is talking about cutting taxes but no one is mentioning the biggest revenue-generating tax that affects the most people – the sales tax.

JOBLESS INSURANCE EXTENSION: An AP report in the Annapolis Capital says that U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger is urging leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to allow a vote to extend emergency unemployment insurance.

EXIT SIGNS: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital looks at the recent Gallup Poll that finds that Maryland is No. 3 – for people looking for the exit. What does that really mean and will people actually leave?

SMALL DONORS, FAIR ELECTIONS: Kate Planco Waybright and Jennifer Bevan-Dangel write in an op-ed in the Sun that a bill working its way through the Montgomery County Council will be a superb start here in Maryland to putting elections back in the hands of small donors and not just in the hands of only businesses and the wealthy. Under the proposed program, candidates for council and county executive would raise low-dollar donations from individual donors in their district to qualify for public funds.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM hosts a local and state news roundtable to discuss last week’s Democratic gubernatorial debate; the tax on plastic shopping bags; and the Supreme Court’s decision on public prayers and Carroll County’ prayer in county meetings.

SIGN THEFT UPDATE: Carrie Wells of the Sun updates the story on the theft of state Sen. Jim Brochin’s campaign signs and charges brought against Ron DeJuliis in the case. DeJuliis is the husband of Brochin’s rival Connie DeJuliis and also a top state official – commissioner of labor and industry.

  • Baltimore County Police blasted a department-wide email last week refreshing officers on the importance of election laws and their enforcement, a reminder that was apparently well-timed, Jeremy Bauer-Wolf writes in MarylandReporter.com.

HOUSE DISTRICT 32: Mark Chang, a legislative aide to state Sen. Ed DeGrange who also has been a community relations representative for District 32, is running for House of Delegates in that district. The Annapolis Capital gives him a forum on its editorial pages to introduce himself.

POLITICAL DYNASTIES: In writing about the attorney general’s race, columnist Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland says that the Cardin legacy does give Jon Cardin an unfair advantage in the race, but that is a well-worn path taken by so many Maryland political dynasties.

FROSH ON ATTORNEY GENERAL RUN: After more than a quarter-century of drafting laws, Sen. Brian Frosh now wants to enforce and defend them, writes Steve Lash for the Daily Record. “There’s the sue-and-be-sued part of it,” Frosh said of the attorney general’s job. “Suing on behalf of the state is a tool for change, a way of vindicating important rights.” Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat, is running in the party’s June 24 primary for attorney general against Dels. Jon Cardin and Aisha Braveboy.

CARDIN V. CARDIN: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks has little sympathy for Del. Jon Cardin, who missed 75% of his committee votes in the last General Assembly session and, when he was finally called out on it, played the “family card.” He compares that record to that of his uncle – U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin – who has a stellar voting record in Congress.

MINIMUM WAGE CHANGES: Heather Mizeur and Doug Gansler, two Democratic candidates for Maryland governor, said Monday that, if elected, they would seek changes to the minimum-wage legislation passed last month by the General Assembly to make it more favorable to workers, writes John Wagner in the Post.

GLENDENING BACKS BROWN: Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown picked up the endorsement Monday of former Gov. Parris Glendening, the last Prince George’s County resident to be elected governor, writes John Wagner in the Post.

NEUMAN-SCHUH DEBATE: Anne Arundel Republican county executive candidates Laura Neuman and Steve Schuh traded barbs in a spirited debate in Annapolis on Monday, reports Pamela Wood for the Sun. Neuman, who was appointed county executive to replace John Leopold last year, and Schuh, a two-term state delegate, have been duking it out in the GOP primary for months.

NEUMAN’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS: During her second State of the County address last week, Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman listed what she considers her accomplishments. People who have worked with the executive say she has been effective, while others disagree with some of her funding and legislative decisions. Neuman faces Del. Steve Schuh in the June 24 Republican primary, writes Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

OLD DRUNK-DRIVING CHARGE: Del. Tom Hucker, who is running for the District 5 Montgomery County Council seat, entered a court-ordered diversion program in January 2009 after a drunken driving arrest, according to public records. Bill Turque of the Post reports that the charges were dropped in October 2009 after Hucker completed the program, which included a series of weekend classes on alcohol awareness.