November 19, 2014

State Roundup, November 19, 2014

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HEALTH EXCHANGE OPENS EARLY: Officials at the Maryland health exchange had a plan: Roll out their revamped online insurance marketplace slowly and have a tech team ready to jump on problems, writes Meredith Cohn for the Sun. But unlike last year, when the site crashed the first day, open enrollment came and there haven’t been any problems yet.

PURPLE LINE DELAYED: Deadlines for proposals for the Purple Line rail project have been delayed at least 30 days to accommodate the swearing in of Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Four potential bidders, called concessionaires, were informed of the delay by email, said Henry Kay, Maryland Transit Administration executive director for transit development and delivery.

NEALL’S APPOINTMENT: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan has assembled a transition team and one prominent member is former state Sen. and Anne Arundel County Executive Bobby Neall. WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about what this decision says about how Hogan might lead in Annapolis.

STATE GOP RAISES $250,000 MONDAY: Boosters of Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) said they raised about $250,000 at an Annapolis wine bar Monday to help pay some outstanding bills incurred by the Maryland Republican Party and to start stockpiling funds for the future, writes John Wagner in the Post.

HOGAN AT RGA CONFERENCE: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan was traveling to Florida Tuesday for the annual conference of the Republican Governors Association. Michael Dresser of the Sun reports that Hogan is expected to speak at several events during the four-day gathering of the GOP governors, who are coming off a highly successful election in which Hogan’s victory over Democrat Anthony Brown was one of their highlights.

BROWN’S $500,000 LOAN: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown, who took out a $500,000 loan from the Laborers International Union in October to keep his faltering campaign going, did not pay it off as planned, according to a financial report filed Tuesday night. Brown’s campaign manager had vowed to pay back the unusual loan in full by Election Day. But the report showed that the campaign actually made no payments, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

HOWARD DEMS GOT VOTERS’ MESSAGE: New Democratic legislators from Howard County said they “got the message” on spending and taxes from the election of Republican Larry Hogan as governor, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. “I think we got the message,” Del.-elect Clarence Lam told a Howard County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Tuesday. “We understand folks want to move in a different direction.”

DISTRICT 12 DELEGATES: The election is over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to relax for the three newly elected District 12 state delegates — Eric Ebersole, Dr. Terri Hill and Dr. Clarence Lam. “It was hard work, but it still is,” said Ebersole, 56, a Howard County math teacher who lives in Catonsville, seated on a bench in front of an Ellicott City coffee shop before joining Hill and Lam for a community association meeting in Relay and another in Lansdowne. Lauren Loricchio writes the story for the Catonsville Times.

GANSLER TO JOIN D.C. LAW FIRM: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D) plans to become a partner at the Washington law firm BuckleySandler after his term ends in January. Gansler was once an early favorite in this year’s race to become Maryland’s next governor. But his bid was hurt by scandal — first, by allegations that he ordered state troopers to speed while driving him to routine appointments and, then, by photos that showed him at a beach week party with recent high school graduates, writes Jenna Johnson for the Post.

AUDIT FINDS UM OFFICIALS’ CONFLICT: Two high-level officials at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore had conflicts of interest in up to $1.9 million of spending and grants funneled through the university’s affiliated foundation and private companies, an audit has found. Charlie Hayward writes for MarylandReporter.com that the Office of Legislative Audits report found inadequate grant oversight due to two potential conflicts of interest. It also found that one employee’s required financial disclosure filings with the State Ethics Commission left out key information about those conflicts.

O’MALLEY IN NYC: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who continues to weigh a 2016 presidential run, plans to be in New York City today for meetings with potential donors, according to people familiar with the trip, reports John Wagner in the Post.

SCHUH PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT: Rema Rahman of the Annapolis Capital reports that Anne Arundel County Executive-elect Steve Schuh is planning to make a tentative public safety announcement Thursday. Transition spokesman Owen McEvoy said Tuesday that arrangements are still being made for the event, which will be attended by elected public safety officials, including incumbent Democratic Sheriff Ron Bateman, who won re-election earlier this month, and Republican State’s Attorney-elect Wes Adams, who campaigned with Schuh.

SETTING UP CHARTER GOVERNMENT IN FREDERICK: Future Frederick County Council members met Tuesday to discuss ethics rules, office setup and communication in the form of government they will help launch in Frederick County, reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post. During the afternoon orientation at Winchester Hall, County Executive-elect Jan Gardner told the incoming council that she doesn’t plan to attend all of their meetings. However, she invited them to ask questions and develop a working relationship with her.