Barry Rascovar: Md. health care leader? It’s not Anthony Brown

Who’s in charge of Maryland’s computerized Obamacare rollout? Until recently, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown wanted you to believe he was the man. For years, he’s been describing himself as Gov. Martin O’Malley’s “point man” on this crucial health insurance program. The governor’s press staff dutifully gives Brown co-authorship and quotable lines every time there’s a press release. Yet it has become painfully clear Brown is not the “point man” on Obamacare, Maryland-style. (Md. Reporter)

Read Full Article

Lifting rifle ban makes sense

The Frederick County Sportsman’s Council is supporting a regulation change that would ease the deer hunting rifle restrictions in southern Frederick County for deer management purposes. The proposal would not change the current Frederick County regulations restricting rifles for deer hunting during the firearm deer season but would allow those individuals authorized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to take deer with a breech-loading rifle while in possession of a valid Deer Management Permit commonly referred to as a crop damage permit. As I see it, changing the existing restrictions in southern Frederick County even just for DMP holders will not be easily accomplished. The DNR has to consider how this change would affect the other 14 counties in Maryland that also have rifle restrictions. What may work in Frederick County may not be practical in neighboring Montgomery County for example. The DNR has to look at the big picture whenever they consider any regulation change that may be difficult to regulate in all counties. (News-Post)

Read Full Article

Heroin fight returns

Heroin addiction claimed the lives of several Carroll youths and young adults in the late 1990s until, finally, the community united in a massive effort of education, awareness and law enforcement to turn the tide. Now, it appears, the cycle is repeating, and it will take a similar effort to reverse this troubling trend. The problem with heroin, or any unregulated, illegal drug use, is that users don’t know what they are getting when they purchase the drug. Community involvement was a key component in the late 1990s when Carroll last faced a serious heroin problem. (Carr. Co. Times)

Read Full Article

Dec. 20 // Don't minimize minimum wage

Ever interested in the region's troubled youth — although usually in the context of a police crackdown on them — Del. Pat McDonough says he wants Maryland to adopt a "training wage" of $7.25 an hour for businesses of 100 workers or fewer. If the Maryland General Assembly raises the state minimum wage to the proposed $10.10 next year as many hope, he believes a state training wage would encourage businesses to hire more entry-level workers, as they wouldn't have to be paid the minimum wage until they've been on the job for six months. (Balt. Sun)

Read Full Article

C. Fraser Smith: While eyeing presidency, don’t forget your day job 

If you decide to run — while you’re still governor — remember that Job One is governor. You’re still running your state. If you let being governor look like Job Two, someone’s going to say you’re cheating the people. Let’s be real: There’s going to be some cheating in there anyway. So much travel to do, building networks. So much socializing and schmoozing with the deep-pocket folks. (Daily Record)

Read Full Article

Derelict drunken Delegate Dwyer

Here’s a joke. Q: When Delegate Don Dwyer shows up to the General Assembly on Jan. 8, how will he serve? A: In jail! Yeah, we know. It’s not that funny. But it is a joke that a serving member of the Maryland Legislature will be serving a 60-day jail sentence at the same time. (News-Post)

Read Full Article

School salaries must strike a balance

Comparing salaries among public officials is a compelling exercise that draws both fans and critics. It is, for a variety of reasons, difficult to fairly compare such pay scales with the wages of private-sector counterparts. By most measures, Wicomico teachers are not paid enough. Comparing these salaries to earnings for the entire county makes educators appear grossly overpaid, but doesn’t take into account the rigors of the job or the educational requirements. It is relevant, however, in one respect: Since teacher salaries come from taxes paid by all residents, their pay is constrained by the available resources. (Daily Times)

Read Full Article

Robert Summers: Md. needs to clean up its own pollution

Recently, there have been many reports on efforts by the Clean Chesapeake Coalition to change the way that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. The Coalition appears to point to pollution from other states as the source of the Bay’s problems. The reality is that each Bay Watershed state has played a role in the deterioration of the Chesapeake. Maryland is also a major contributor of pollution to the Bay and it would be irresponsible of us to blame others for all of the Bay’s problems. (Star-Democrat)

Read Full Article