State Roundup, October 17, 2017

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MD PUSHES ON ACA SIGNUPS: Major last-minute changes at the federal level to the Affordable Care Act and additional rate increases at the state level threaten to undermine enrollment in health insurance this year, but Maryland health exchange officials are sticking to a goal of signing up at least as many people as last year, Meredith Cohn of the Sun reports.

ARUNDEL TURNS OUT FOR MAGLEV PRESENTATION: Hundreds of Anne Arundel County residents huddled around maps on cafeteria tables at Arundel High School on Monday night in an effort to find out if their homes are in the potential path of the Maglev. The proposed superconducting Maglev high-speed rail project, which would cost between $10 billion to $12 billion, promises to cut the trip between BWI Airport and Baltimore down to five minutes, and get from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., in 15 minutes. The train would eventually connect Washington to New York in an hour, Selene San Felice reports for the Annapolis Capital.

TUTORING ‘COULD CLOSE’ ED GAP: Maryland has one of the highest household incomes in the U.S., but only 40% of its students met proficiency standards in reading and math on the PARCC assessments in 2017, a Johns Hopkins University researcher told the Kirwin Commission last week. Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter writes that a $1.46 billion plan using one-on-one and small group and tutoring would help close the gap between top performing students and those who struggle to keep up, according to Robert Slavin, the university’s director of Research and Reform in Education.

SENATE PANEL SEEKS FIX ON ASBESTOS CASES: Attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants in more than 13,000 asbestos cases in Baltimore will bring before a state Senate panel today their years-long battle over whether and how to consolidate the litigation so the cases can be heard in court. Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who chairs the committee, said Monday he hopes the plaintiffs, defendants and Judiciary representatives propose solutions to the vexing problem, whether they involve a new law, greater resources for the judiciary or something more creative, Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports.

MO CO MUM ON AMAZON HQ2 BID: While officials in Washington, D.C, Baltimore and Prince George’s County have detailed the sites they plan to pitch to Amazon for a new headquarters site, Montgomery County is keeping quiet, reports Andrew Metcalf in Bethesda Beat. Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for County Executive Ike Leggett, said Monday that the county doesn’t plan to release the possible sites it has identified for a new headquarters or other details about its bid to the tech company.

CITIES PUSH FOR HQ2: With a Thursday deadline looming, state and local officials across the country are putting the final touches on their cities’ bids for Amazon’s coveted $5 billion headquarters and the promise of 50,000 jobs. Baltimore officials like the city’s chances so much that they’ve made their bid a top priority for the past five weeks. Elsewhere in the state, Prince George’s and Howard counties also are preparing their own efforts to attract the big prize, Sarah Gantz of the Sun reports.

AA OFFERS CORDISH $36M TAX BREAK: Maryland Live owner the Cordish Cos. is poised to receive up to a $36 million tax break after legislation was introduced at Monday night’s Anne Arundel County Council meeting that would negate property taxes for a proposed hotel and conference center, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports.

FUNDING APPEAL FOR THE YOUNGS: Maryland’s two U.S. senators, a former U.S. senator, two former governors, Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) have penned a fundraising appeal for a new committee set up to raise money for state Sen. Ron Young (D) and his wife, state Del. Karen Lewis Young (D), who represent the Frederick area. Ron Young’s seat is one of half a dozen Senate districts that Maryland Republicans have targeted this election cycle, as they seek to prevent the legislature from overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) vetoes should Hogan win a second term, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes.

CHALLENGES TO WALDSTREICHER’s SENATE RUN: Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-18) has acted fast to lock down the open Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-18), who is running for governor. Waldstreicher is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and thus this very safe blue district, but openings nevertheless remain for the right candidate, writes David Lublin for Seventh State blog.

BAKER WOULD REVIVE RED LINE: Prince George’s County Exec Rushern Baker talks with Dan Rodricks of his Roughly Speaking podcast for the Sun about his bid to challenge to the incumbent governor, Republican Larry Hogan, saying that he would focus on economic development and job creation, revive the Red Line light rail project in Baltimore and keep funding the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

DONATIONS TO DELANEY PREZ RUN: Rep. John Delaney’s longshot bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination is getting financial help close to home. His first campaign disclosure report since jumping into the presidential contest shows him relying heavily on contributors from the area in and around Bethesda and Chevy Chase, Louis Peck reports for Bethesda Beat.

6th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE: Potomac businessman David Trone—who spent a record $13.4 million from his own pocket in an unsuccessful bid for Congress last year—is again relying heavily on personal assets as he gears up for a second try to make it to Capitol Hill. Louis Peck of Bethesda Beat reports that, with the June 26 primary more than eight months away, Trone has given $749,000 to his campaign, according to reports filed late Sunday with the Federal Election Commission for the third quarter of 2017.

MO CO EXEC CANDIDATES DEBATE: Four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for county executive of Montgomery County squared off in a debate Monday night, touching on local issues ranging from traffic congestion to a minimum wage increase to the influence of developer money in county races, writes Rachel Siegel in the Post.

ANNAPOLIS MAYOR’s RACE FUND-RAISING: The race to be Annapolis’ next mayor is blowing past the fundraising pace set four years ago, with both candidates pulling in tens of thousands of dollars in the weeks after their primary victories. Republican Mayor Mike Pantelides raised $43,310 between Sept. 11 and Oct. 8, according to campaign finance reports released Monday. Democratic challenger Gavin Buckley, meanwhile, raised $35,549, Danielle Ohl of the Annapolis Capital reports.