State Roundup, December 17, 2013

IT’S FIXED, MOSTLY: Less than two days after Gov. Martin O’Malley declared that the state’s online insurance marketplace finally worked for most consumers, a server crashed Monday, the call center became overwhelmed and the governor announced he was bringing in another contractor to improve the website, Andrea Walker and Erin Cox are reporting in the Sun.

The state has solved problems with the exchange that caused users’ screens to freeze during the application process. But O’Malley said the state is still working to give users the ability to search to see which plans their doctors are part of, among other improvements, reports Alex Jackson for the Capital-Gazette.

WEBSITE CONTRACTOR BROUGHT IN: The governor said that the state’s online marketplace is still “not perfect by any means” and said the state had hired a new contractor to help with further improvements. But some questioned how much progress had been made, writes John Wagner for the Post.

Columbia’s QSSI is being brought in as reinforcement for Maryland’s health exchange after the state’s IT secretary concluded the website needed more help, Sarah Gantz reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

ON THE ROLLOUT: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM discusses the Affordable Healthcare Act rollout in Maryland, with syndicated columnist Marta Mossburg, Vinnie DeMarco, of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, and Dr. Lawrence Brown, public health professor at Morgan State University.

O’MALLEY’S ROLLOUT: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes that, with so many people — and not just the tea party, thinking that government is full of slothful boobs, that government is too costly and too often mismanaged, Gov. O’Malley can one day present himself to the nation as a competent executive, a man who gets it right. Unless, of course, Maryland’s health insurance exchange goes down as one of the worst in the nation. Which is how it’s still looking,

LEGISLATORS’ PAY RAISES: Maryland legislators elected next year would see their salaries rise to $50,330 in 2018, a 16% raise over the next four years recommended Monday by the General Assembly Compensation Commission, reports Len Lazarick for If the legislature accepts the recommendation, it would give the part-time lawmakers their first raise in eight years. Delegates and senators currently make $43,500.

STATE BY STATE: Here’s a graphic in the Post that answers the question: How much do teachers across the United States get paid?

PRINCE GEORGE’S CASINO: Less than a week before state officials are expected to award a casino license in Prince George’s County, one of the three bidders is calling the state’s research “flat-out wrong,” reports Kevin Rector for the Sun. Greenwood Racing, which wants to build a Parx casino on Route 210 in Fort Washington, has asked the state’s special site selection committee to delay a decision currently scheduled for Friday. The company wants more time to challenge findings that a rival bid would be more lucrative for the state.

Md CAN (Citizen Action network) adO’MALLEY WHO? Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes that it’s two years away from the first Iowa Caucuses, and most voters in that state have no idea who Gov. Martin O’Malley is, according to a poll conducted by the Des Moines Register.

RUNNING FOR STATEHOUSE: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland takes a tour of state politics and writes that, in Baltimore County, Del. Steve DeBoy is reconsidering retirement; former Del. Connie DeJuliis is considering running against Sen. Jim Brochin and Tony Knotts considers running for a delegate seat in Prince George’s.

PITCHING FOR GOVERNOR IN MONTGOMERY: Six candidates for governor of Maryland made pitches Monday to business and civic leaders in Montgomery County, with each making the case that he or she understood the character of the state’s largest jurisdiction and the challenges its faces, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

Despite being the state’s largest jurisdiction and often called its economic engine, no Montgomery County resident has ever been elected governor, potentially making 2014 an historic year for the county. Two of the three Democratic candidates — Del. Heather Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler — call Montgomery home, reports Kate Alexander for the Gazette.

2014 Calendar AD PHOTOBAKER TO SIGN WAGE BILL: Luz Lazo of the Post reports that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker will sign the county’s minimum wage bill at a ceremony this morning. The measure, approved by the Prince George’s County Council Nov. 27, will lift the hourly rate to $11.50 by 2017 from the current $7.25.

WA CO UPGRADES: Upcoming renovations to the Washington County administration buildings in downtown Hagerstown will help improve public access and alleviate some overcrowding in other county office buildings, CJ Lovelace reports in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

SALISBURY STORMWATER: Jeremy Cox of the Salisbury Daily Times is reporting that all Salisbury homes, churches, fire stations, sandwich shops, vacant lots etc. would have to pay into nearly $24 million in upgrades needed to bring the city’s patchwork stormwater system into the 21st century.

CECIL EXEC REJOINS GOP: Cecil County Executive Tari Moore is once again a Republican after returning to the party fold last month, reports Cheryl Mattix for the Cecil Whig. She confirmed Friday that she switched her registration back to Republican online Nov. 11, nearly one year after becoming “unaffiliated.”

MATHIAS FILES: Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times talks to Sen. Jim Mathias about his reelection bid.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

1 Comment

  1. RadDad1

    I saw the Des Mointes Register poll regarding Governor O’Malley too. If he is serious about running for President he should be flying out there to organize NOW. Of course, if all he is looking for is to be Vice President to Hillary then it is okay to just sit there in Annapolis.

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