Michael E. Busch: Md. will protect health care even if U.S. won't

As we watch President Donald Trump and his Republican Congress sabotage Obamacare, many Marylanders have asked “What does this mean for us?” The short answer: We aren’t sure. But while the proposals coming out of Washington seem to change every hour, the Maryland General Assembly is leading an effort to be prepared for any outcome. Last session, we passed legislation creating the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission. The commission brings together a bipartisan group of health care professionals, advocates and citizens to follow the debate in D.C. and create state policy options to address this crisis. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Republican Central Committee can't do its one job

Over the past three years, the Republican Central Committee of Carroll County has had the opportunity to fill four vacancies — two in the state legislature and two internally. While, ultimately, we think the people chosen to fill those seats are doing or will do a fine job in their roles, it could not be more clear that the central committee’s processes are completely broken. (Carr. Co. Times)

Read Full Article

Bridging the meal gap

In a year that has seen it share of disasters from hurricanes and floods, wildfires to mass shootings, Carmen Del Guercio frets that an outreach as basic as combating hunger may be shortchanged. For the president and CEO of the Maryland Food Bank, this is no idle thought. With Thanksgiving approaching, the non-profit has experienced a drop in financial contributions. Perhaps things will pick up in December, he offers encouragingly, but there is no guarantee. For most of Maryland, the holidays are a time of feasting, of turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread and, of course, in Baltimore, that inexplicable bowl of sauerkraut. But it is also a good time to remember those who go hungry. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Well done

We have at times had less-than-kind things to say about the Allegany County Board of Education, particularly in regard to its relationship with the taxpayers’ money — which at times has been cavalier at best. However, we also have said good things about the board. We’re going to do that again today. One of the more pleasant surprises we’ve had lately is the announcement that the school board will come in substantially under budget for the 2017 fiscal year. That deserves congratulations. (Times-News)

Read Full Article

Emily Keller: Our own worst enemies

An open letter to the citizens of Hagerstown: Almost a year ago, I was sworn in to serve my first term in public office. I had spent months talking with fellow residents of Hagerstown. I was not already a public official, so everyone was eager to speak with me and tell me their stories. I heard stories of success, fears about the future, frustrations with current environments, and everything in between. I handed out over 10,000 palm cards that advertised me as a “positive voice for Hagerstown.” I will never forget how I felt on election night. I believed in Hagerstown then, and I still do. (Herald-Mail)

Read Full Article

November 21 // The lonesome death of Emily Butler

We don't know much about 29-year-old Emily Butler other than that she died last week at the Maryland women’s prison in Jessup. But we can guess that her death was probably preventable. Butler is the latest victim of a cruel and unusual form of extreme punishment known as solitary confinement, which the state of Maryland insists doesn’t even exist officially in its facilities but which nevertheless continues to take a terrible toll on the inmates subjected to whatever euphemism the state uses to describe the prolonged isolation of prisoners from human contact. It’s past time for the state to abolish this inhumane and counterproductive practice, which is demonstrably harmful, but doesn’t make prison inmates or staff any safer. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Military pensions — haves or have nots?

During his two terms as governor, the late William Donald Schaefer often observed that the hardest part of the job was saying no. Deserving people with good ideas and commendable goals came to his doorstep all the time. But the state can’t afford to reward all whether in the form of new spending or special tax breaks. At some point, fiscal prudence requires the state’s chief executive — or its legislature — to politely decline. Such is the case with Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to eliminate state and local income taxes on all retirement income of military veterans. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

Questionable public housing policy merits investigation

There’s always a chance a government practice that sounds highly questionable is actually common, if little discussed. While that wouldn’t make it right, it might provide some justification for officials who thought it was standard operating procedure. But there doesn’t seem to be any such excuse for the practice, scrapped this year at the insistence of new housing agency Executive Director Beverly Wilbourne, of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis handing tenant rosters to the city police. This went on for close to two decades. (Capital)

Read Full Article