November 20, 2014

State Roundup, November 20, 2014

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HEAVY VOLUME AT HEALTH EXCHANGE:  Heavy volume on the newly opened Maryland health exchange website pushed those looking to buy insurance into virtual waiting rooms for up to a half-hour Wednesday morning, reports Meredith Cohn in the Sun.

A GOOD IDEA: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes that lost in the buzz about political influence in the Wick Farm deal — the O’Malley administration’s plan to buy the place for $2.8 million and lease it for $1 a year to an organic farmer who donates generously to Democratic campaigns — was a good idea: Marylanders growing, harvesting and selling food to Marylanders.

SHA BUYS MONSTER SNOW PLOWS: The State Highway Administration will debut new plow trucks and aim to reduce its salt use this winter. Kelsi Loos of the Frederick News Post reports that the agency bought nine new “monster snow trucks,” quad-axle trucks 12 feet longer than regular fleet trucks, this year for $212,000 each.

HOGAN ALSO HAS $500,000 LOAN: Both major party candidates for Maryland governor finished this month’s campaign with $500,000 in loans still outstanding, writes John Wagner for the Post.

HOGAN PROMISES TAX CUTS: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan pledged Wednesday that he will make good on campaign promises to roll back tax increases and cut spending, despite a looming hole in the state budget, reports Dan Balz in the Post.

  • Larry Hogan has gained an important tool in his upcoming struggle to close a massive hole in the state’s budget: a severely critical report on the state’s film production tax credit. A harsh review by a state agency paves the way for the incoming Republican administration to end or severely curtail an accounting scheme that fleeces taxpayers and has enriched the series House of Cards and Veep to the tune of more than $60 million, writes Tim Cavanaugh for the National Review.
Another Democrat for Hogan

Another Democrat for Hogan (From Larry Hogan’s Facebook page)

KEYS TO THE STATE HOUSE: Professor Allan Lichtman has a wonderful predictive tool for presidential elections called the 13 Keys to the White House that he produced in various editions since he developed it decades ago. While Lichtman has developed no such tools for gubernatorial races, some of the “keys” provide guidance for another way to look at why Larry Hogan won this year, writes Len Lazarick for Marylandreporter.com.

GETTY RUMORS FLY: State Sen. Joe Getty, R-District 5, has been named to Gov.-elect Larry Hogan’s transition team, which has started whispers that he could eventually be named to Hogan’s cabinet. Getty said he has only committed to working on the transition team, writes Wiley Hayes in the Carroll County Times. There is a separate process for gubernatorial personnel and nothing has been offered to him as of yet.

POLITICAL MELANCHOLY: The election’s behind us. Winter lurks. And depending on who or where you are on the political spectrum, it’s a season of change, challenge and melancholy. Call it the Transition Blues. No one’s immune, opines Fraser Smith in a commentary for WYPR.

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan will have the opportunity to name at least two judges to Maryland’s highest court and a new chief judge for its intermediate appeals court during his coming term, reports Steve Lash for the Daily Record. Court of Appeals judges Glenn Harrell and Lynne Battaglia will turn 70, the mandatory retirement age for judges under the state constitution, in June 2015 and April 2016, respectively. Court of Special Appeals Chief Judge Peter Krauser will turn 70 in May 2017.

MCINTOSH TO HEAD APPROPRIATIONS: Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch on Wednesday shuffled several top leadership positions in his chamber in the wake of this month’s elections, reports John Wagner of the Washington Post. Del. Maggie McIntosh was tapped to become chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, succeeding Del. Norman H. Conway, who was defeated for reelection in his district this month.

FILLING KIRWAN’S SHOES: Laslo Boyd, in a column for Center Maryland, writes about the tough road ahead for whoever is chosen to replace Brit Kirwan as chancellor for the University of Maryland college system.

MO CO DEM OFFICIAL TO STEP DOWN: Kevin Walling, who was elected as chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee a little more than four months ago, plans to relinquish his post in the wake of recent controversy over the committee’s handling of this year’s pre-election sample ballot distributed to Democratic voters, writes Louis Peck for Bethesda Magazine.

SCHUH CAMPAIGN SPENDING: Republican Steve Schuh outspent his Democratic opponent more than 7 to 1 in his bid to become the next Anne Arundel County executive, the latest finance reports released Tuesday show, reports Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

SCHUH APPOINTMENTS: Two more Anne Arundel County at-will employees are staying on for County Executive-elect Steve Schuh’s administration. Schuh announced Wednesday he will reappoint chief administrative hearing officer Douglas Clark Hollman and Workforce Development Corporation President Kirkland Murray. Schuh said he also intends to recommend Dr. Jinlene Chan to be health officer. Chan has been acting heath officer since December 2012, writes Rema Rahman for the Annapolis Capital.

LOWERY VISITS CECIL SCHOOLS: Maryland Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery walked away with a smile after touring more than a dozen classrooms in Cecil County on Tuesday, writes Jacob Owens in the Cecil County Whig. “The community should be proud of its public schools, because the teachers and administrators are doing an amazing job for the students,” she said.

HOW KITTLEMAN WON: In this five minute video for Center Maryland, David Yungmann, Howard County real estate agent and longtime Howard County GOP thought leader, discusses the election of Allan Kittleman as Howard County executive and reviews some of the main issues that drove voters to the polls across the county.

GLASSMAN FINISHES APPOINTMENTS: Barry Glassman, Harford County’s incoming county executive, has completed making his appointments to lead county departments and is planning to rearrange at least one part of the county administration, report Bryna Zumer for the Aegis. Among them, Glassman named retiring Baltimore County Del. Jimmy Malone, a retired firefighter, as director of parks and recreation.