State Roundup, October 13, 2015

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PAID SICK LEAVE PROPOSAL: Supporters of mandatory paid sick days are already preparing for January when Maryland lawmakers will reintroduce the bill in the General Assembly. Elisha Sauers of the Annapolis Capital reports that the Working Matters Coalition, which is heading the campaign for paid sick days in the state, held a teleconference Monday night, involving worker advocacy groups, local elected officials and Jordan Brooks, assistant director of the White House’s Council on Women and Girls, to discuss strategies.

PG TO DEBATE PAID SICK LEAVE: A proposal for paid sick leave will be debated today at a Prince George’s County Council hearing that could offer a preview of the 2018 county executive’s race, Arelis Hernandez of the Post is reporting.

A+ FOR HEALTH EXCHANGE OVERSIGHT: In the wake of a state audit criticizing the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange’s procurement and security practices, the head of a legislative panel tasked with overseeing the agency says he’s pleased with the progress the exchange has made to correct the audit’s findings, Daniel Leaderman reports for the Daily Record. “I’d say they get an A+ for effort,” said Sen. Mac Middleton.

REPOSITIONING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: R. Michael Gill has a new title in October after legislation went into effect at the beginning of the month revamping the state Department of Business and Economic Development and changing its name to the Department of Commerce. Now the state agency has some new priorities amid organizational changes going on behind the scenes. Top among them is international trade, Rick Seltzer reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

REDISTRICTING’S FUTURE: In an open letter to the Governor’s Redistricting Reform Commission, Del. Kirill Reznik writes “Many would argue, on both sides of the political aisle, the system is broken beyond repair and reform is a foregone conclusion. That may very well be, but I would challenge you to actually make such a determination through careful analysis, and a review of the potential solutions.” The piece appears in MarylandReporter.com.

***FINAL REDISTRICTING HEARING: The final regional hearing of the Governor’s Redistricting Commission takes place Tuesday evening, Oct. 13, 6:30 p.m., Partnership Hall,  811 Fifth Street, Laurel, MD***

MO CO NOT THAT LIBERAL: In a guest column for the Seventh State political blog, Adam Pagnucco writes that  Montgomery County is the home of Maryland progressivism. It was the first county in the state to ban smoking in restaurants, enact a living wage law, pass a bag fee, ban private use of pesticides, create a local Earned Income Tax Credit and protect transgender residents from discrimination. So this must all be supported by an overwhelmingly liberal voting base, right? Not exactly.

SEEKING CONVENTION DELEGATES: Over the next few weeks, the Maryland Democratic Party will hold 22 public meetings across the state to encourage participation in the 2016 Democratic National Convention, writes Erin Cox in the Sun. The challenge is large: Find enough potential delegates so the party can send 118 to the convention who reflect the demographics of Maryland and are approved by the various campaigns.

***HOW DID O’MALLEY DO? Will Martin O’Malley have his breakthrough moment out of the polling basement in the first Democratic presidential candidate debate Tuesday night, 8:30 p.m. on CNN? Send your reactions to the debate Tuesday by midnight to Len@MarylandReporter.com. Debate reactions were some of our most popular stories in last year’s race for governor.***

FOR O’MALLEY, PUT UP OR SHUT UP: After complaining loudly for months about the scarcity of Democratic debates, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley faces a put-up-or-shut-up moment Tuesday, writes John Wagner of the Post, who has been covering O’Malley’s presidential campaign full-time for most of the past year. The presidential hopeful will take the debate stage in Las Vegas with one overriding objective: proving that he is a credible alternative to the two leading contenders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

PredictIt.org is a site that uses money bets to predict outcomes.

PredictIt.org is a site that uses money bets to predict outcomes.

EARLY VOTING SITE GIVE-BACK: Bill Turque of the Post reports that, bowing to three weeks of pressure from Democrats, the head of Montgomery County’s Board of Elections said Monday that he will propose that the Republican-majority panel retain one of the two heavily used early-voting sites it had voted last month to move. “I’m trying to reach a compromise,” board President James Shalleck said. “I’ve heard from the public. We’re certainly sensitive to the public and the voters.”