Senate approves emergency health care bill in preliminary vote

The Maryland Senate late Monday approved a bill that would provide insurance benefits to people who were unsuccessful in their attempt to sign up for coverage through the state health benefits exchange website.

Senate Health Care Bill Vote

The Maryland Senate late Monday gave preliminary approval to an amended version of an emergency health care bill by a vote of 36-8 largely along party lines.

The Senate voted 36-8 in a preliminary vote on an amended emergency legislation.

The Senate amendments allow the insurance program to extend benefits beyond March 31 to individuals who continue to be unsuccessful at registering for insurance. The bill would also allow the board to develop the regulations it needs, but it would have to notify the legislature within 15 days of creating them. Another amendment sunsets the bill on June 30, 2015. Continue reading

Miller predicts changes to O’Malley minimum wage bill

With Maryland’s top three Democrats on board, an increase in the state’s minimum wage may look like the stone cold lock of the 2014 General Assembly session but exactly how much the increase will be and other details may not be so certain.

Gov. Martin J. O'Malley

Gov. Martin O’Malley is making raising the minimum wage to $10.10 one of his top priorities for the 2014 General Assembly Session.

Gov. Martin J. O’Malley announced Monday that increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour was tops on his to-do list for his last 90-day session.

But Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller raised concerns about the proposal and predicted significant changes to the governor’s plan days O’Malley released his legislative agenda.

“It’s going to be a very tough sell—the bill as it is now,” Miller said last week. “I’m telling you, it’s going to be a very tough sell.” Continue reading

The decision of the judges is final, unless…

The decision of the judges shall be final.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

It’s a statement that anyone that’s every entered a contest has probably seen at least once.

In the case of attorneys at initial bail hearing in Maryland that line might very well read: The decision of the judges shall remain final unless we don’t like it. Continue reading

Emergency health care bill ‘just another Band-Aid’

A proposal to create bridge for people who thought they signed up for health insurance through a state website is not getting rave reviews from some Republicans.

Del. Susan Krebs [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

Del. Susan Krebs [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

“I think it’s just another Band-Aid on our very disastrous rollout of our Maryland Health benefit exchange,” Del. Susan Krebs, R-Carroll and a member of the House Health and Government Operations Committee, told ABC 2 News. “And it’s just going to keep popping up, problem after problem, and we’ve got to find the underlying problem. Continue reading

Dwyer removed from committee assignment

Del. Don Dwyer’s afternoons for the next 90 days have been suddenly freed up.

Del. Don Dwyer [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

Del. Don Dwyer [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

The embattled Anne Arundel County Republican who was twice-convicted of operating vehicles while under the influence is officially a man without a committee assignment.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch announced that Dwyer was being removed from the House Ways and Means Committee. Dwyer, a three-term Republican, has served on the committee since 2013. Continue reading

McDonough: Drivers license law makes Maryland ‘Disneyland for illegal immigrants’

A new Maryland law granting drivers licenses to immigrants who live in the country illegally may officially be on the books but at least one state legislator continues to rail against it.

Del. Pat McDonough

Del. Pat McDonough

Del. Patrick McDonough, R-Baltimore, said the law is the prime example of how “the General Assembly is so infected with the illegal alien advocates that the people of Maryland are just shut out and have no voice whatsoever.” Continue reading

Baltimore restaurant owner not a fan of Anthony Brown

One of two plaintiffs who brought suit last month against the Maryland State Board of Elections as well as Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate Howard County Executive Ken Ulman previously accused Brown’s campaign of voter intimidation.

Casey Jenkins

Casey Jenkins, a local chef and owner of Darker than Blue Cafe, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit that names Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown as a defendant. [Screen capture of a YouTube video by Doni Glover/]

Casey A. Jenkins, chef and owner of Darker than Blue Cafe on Greenmount Avenue, also reportedly had a run-in with Brown during a campaign event at Waverly Middle School in which Jenkins attempted to “shout down” the lieutenant governor.
Continue reading

Taxing weed: Colorado’s estimates and Maryland’s proposal

The legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana in Colorado could be an indicator of how Maryland’s treasury may or may not benefit should a similar law pass in the coming 2014 General Assembly session.

weedmoneyDel. Curt Anderson and Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin was expected to introduce legislation to legalize, regulate and tax the sale of cannabis in Maryland [subscriber access] in the coming 90-day session. The expectation is that the state would benefit to the tune of $100 million or so in new tax revenue at a time when Maryland’s coffers still bear a striking resemblance to Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboards, according to some legislators. Continue reading

What about David Craig?

One candidate for governor and his running mate are curiously missing from the recent lawsuit filed  in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Thursday that seeks an injunction against an opinion issued on campaign fundraising.

Harford County Executive David Craig

Harford County Executive David Craig

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Maryland State Board of Elections Administrator Linda Lamone are all named as defendants in the suit filed  [subscriber access] by supporters of Doug Gansler.

The board issued a memo Dec. 19 that effectively barred Gansler and his running mate Del. Jolene Ivey from raising money during the 90-day General Assembly session under a law that prohibits state elected officials from doing so during the session. That same memo allows Ulman to raise money by claiming that the law does not apply to him even though it does apply to Brown.

That memo also would allow Harford County Executive David Craig, a Republican,  to continue to raise money for his gubernatorial bid despite the fact that his running mate Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio legally cannot.

So what gives? Continue reading

Legalizing marijuana: Baby boomers should admit they ‘want to get high’

Proponents of an effort to legalize and tax marijuana in Maryland will end a failed war on drugs and the criminalization of portions of the state’s population.

weedmoneyAnd money, of course. One bill that will be sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson, D-Baltimore City, and Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin, D-Montgomery, projects that the money raised from the taxing of pot sales could generate $100 million for the state. [subscriber access]

Not everyone is buying into the arguments. Continue reading