Delaney, Mizeur call for analysis of ditching state health site

A Maryland congressman and a candidate for governor — both Democrats —called on Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration Monday to publicly disclose the feasibility of abandoning the state's troubled health insurance exchange in favor of the better-performing federally run website. In a letter to state health officials, Rep. John Delaney noted that the federal site, despite its own problems, is signing up new patients for coverage faster than the Maryland Health Connection. Delaney asked health officials to publicly weigh the pros and cons of switching systems. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Judges propose to streamline bail process

Maryland's judiciary is urging the General Assembly to streamline the state's system for setting or denying bail for criminal defendants, replacing the current two-step process with a single hearing before a judge most of the time. A task force appointed by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera delivered its recommendations Monday to a panel set up by the legislature. The two study groups have taken significantly different approaches to how the state should respond to a Court of Appeals decision guaranteeing defendants legal representation at both steps in the bail review process — a ruling that could cost the state public defender's office alone about $30 million a year. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Bishop Lee Robinson Sr., city's first black police commissioner, dies at 86

Bishop Lee Robinson Sr., the city's first African-American police commissioner who began his 50-year law enforcement career with the Baltimore Park Police and went on to lead two state agencies, died Monday of Alzheimer's disease and dementia at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The longtime Homeland resident was 86. After steadily rising through the ranks of the city Police Department, Mr. Robinson was named commissioner in 1984 by then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer. He went on to become the state's secretary of public safety and correctional services in Mr. Schaefer's administration and was secretary of juvenile justice under Gov. Parris N. Glendening. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

John Hanson Briscoe, former speaker of the Maryland House and circuit court judge, dies

John Hanson Briscoe, a retired St. Mary’s County Circuit Court judge and former speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates who made historic and environmental preservation central tenets of his career, died Jan. 1 at his home in Hollywood, Md. He was 79. Judge Briscoe was a member of one of the state’s oldest families, whose roots in St. Mary’s County date to the 17th century. He was a direct descendant of John Hanson, the first president of Congress under the Articles of Confederation. (Wash. Post)

Read Full Article

Leggett picks former state House candidate to manage 2014 reelection campaign

Scott Goldberg, a former Maryland House candidate and one-time head of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, is Isiah Leggett’s choice for a 2014 campaign manager. For Goldberg, 31, Leggett’s bid for a third term as county executive will be his first as a manager. In 2004, the New Jersey native was deputy campaign manager for Ann Wolfe (D), who unsuccessfully challenged Republican incumbent Scott Garrett in the state’s Fifth Congressional District. The University of Maryland graduate ran for District 16 state delegate in 2010, finishing behind C. William Frick, Susan Lee and Ariana Kelly. (Wash. Post)

Read Full Article

Delegation talks bills, zeroes in on liquor license increases

Carroll County businesses that sell beer, wine and liquor may receive an increase in their license fees if the Carroll County House of Delegates Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly introduces a bill in Annapolis. Much of Monday night’s public hearing was spent on a proposal by the Carroll County Board of License Commissioners, also known as the liquor board, to increase license fees charged to businesses that sell wine, beer and liquor. The proposed increases would be phased in over a three-year time period and would affect 46 businesses. (Carr. Co. Times)

Read Full Article

Montgomery County Council races shape up

With the holidays over and a February filing deadline drawing closer, the 2014 field of aspirants for the Montgomery County Council is filling out, featuring both familiar figures and newcomers. For Democrats, who outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 in Montgomery, a primary victory is often tantamount to election. As it stands now, there are contested races for three of the council’s five district seats and its four at-large seats. There are also nine applicants to fill the 11-month unexpired term of former District 5 council member Valerie Ervin (D). (Wash. Post)

Read Full Article

Political contributions raise eyebrows 

Corporations doing business with the Maryland government donated millions of dollars to a national organization headed by Gov. Martin O’Malley even as the state awarded them billions of dollars in contracts, according to an organization whose chairman is expected to run for governor as a Republican this year. “This is disturbing to anyone who takes a look,” said Larry Hogan, chairman of Change Maryland, which authored the report. Hogan served as former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich’s Secretary of Appointments, and was a member of Ehrlich’s Cabinet. (Daily Record)

Read Full Article