LAWMAKERS LIFT HOLD ON HOGAN SMOG RULE: A clash between lawmakers and the Hogan administration over curbing smog in Maryland ended abruptly Thursday as committee leaders stopped blocking limits on coal-burning power plants that they had asserted were weak. In a one-sentence letter to Environment Secretary Benjamin H. Grumbles, the heads of the General Assembly’s Joint Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee released the hold they had placed on the smog rule just a few days earlier, questioning its strength, Timothy Wheeler of the Sun reports.
MORE BUCKS SOUGHT FROM HEALTH-CARE CONTRACTORS: The state, which recently reached a $45 million settlement with the prime contractor on the failed state health exchange, plans to pursue more money from other contractors, Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a letter to legislative leaders. Frosh settled with Noridian Healthcare Solution for about 60% of what it had been paid. The company did not admit wrongdoing, Meredith Cohn reports in the Sun.
- Frosh said an investigation by his office and federal agencies will show that poor performance by private contractors, and misleading statements about their software, were “the actual and proximate cause” of the site’s initial failure, Fenit Nirappil writes in the Post.
COOLING SCHOOLS: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot criticized the state’s school-construction chief Wednesday for a policy that prevented Baltimore County schools from installing air conditioners while children and teachers were sweltering in classrooms this year. The rule in question prohibits districts from using state or federal school renovation funds to purchase window box air-conditioning units, in part because of energy efficiency concerns.
- The editorial board for the Sun opines that, by policy, tradition and conventional wisdom, Maryland’s local jurisdictions typically build schools designed to last for 60 years or more, but that is extremely expensive and getting costlier by the year. If we built schools using less expensive techniques and less robust systems, would we come out ahead, even if the schools only last 25 years?
PARCC RESULTS: Less than half of the students in Anne Arundel County schools scored above the state standard in math and English on Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests, Cindy Huang reports in the Annapolis Capital.
- Most of the Baltimore region’s high school students aren’t on track to be ready for college courses or jobs when they graduate, based on the first round of scores on new state tests, Liz Bowie and Erica Green report in the Sun.
- Although students in Carroll County outperformed statewide averages on new high school assessments that were first fully administered last academic year, many students fell short of meeting standards in English and algebra, Lauren Loricchio reports for the Carroll County Times.
- Results released Thursday show most students in Montgomery County failed to earn college-ready scores on a new set of statewide tests administered for the first time last spring, Aaron Kraut reports for Bethesda Beat.
LAZARICK, SEARS ON STATE CIRCLE: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com and Bryan Sears of The Daily Record will be on Maryland Public Television’s State Circle program airing Friday at 7:30 p.m. and MPT2 Sunday at 8 a.m.
CASINOS’ TAKE NEARLY $100M: Maryland casinos pushed their collective monthly take close to $100 million in October as the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore and Anne Arundel County‘s Maryland Live Casino both saw significant upticks in revenue, Rick Seltzer reports for Baltimore Business Journal.
FOREIGN WORKER LEGISLATION: Both U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st, have co-sponsored separate pieces of legislation that seek reform in the H-2B visa foreign worker program, in the Senate and House respectively. Josh Bollinger of the Easton Star Democrat reports that both pieces of legislation come after some hangups in the program earlier this year, which resulted in the program’s temporary suspension and left many employers at first unable to get the number of seasonal workers they needed through the H-2B program
EX-CIA TO LAUNCH CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN: Republican Sam Faddis, a retired operations manager for the Central Intelligence Agency and an author, on Monday will formally launch his campaign to unseat Maryland’s longest serving and highest ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Len Lazarick writes for MarylandReporter.com. Democrat Hoyer, 76, has been in Congress for 34 years representing the 5th Congressional District.
EMBRY TO RUN FOR MAYOR: Elizabeth Embry, a top official in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, will join a crowded field of candidates for Baltimore mayor today. Embry, a Democrat, is the criminal division chief for the Maryland attorney general’s office and daughter of Abell Foundation President Robert C. Embry Jr.
- Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM discusses the 2016 Baltimore mayoral and City Council elections with Green Party members Bonnie Lane, advocate for the homeless and chair of the Baltimore Green Party, and Apostle Richard White Jr., candidate for 6th District City Council.