Anne Arundel ethics reform a good start but needs a significant fix

Proposed changes to the Anne Arundel County ethics law are a good start. Updating the current code of conduct for lobbyists, county officials, employees and appointees should be a regular task of every administration in pursuit of good government. One glaring omission from the proposal introduced this week, however, must be addressed before the legislation is passed. There simply has to be a ban preventing anyone accepting a county-funded paycheck from acting as a lobbyist before county or state government agencies or legislative bodies. The only exception should be when the employee is working on behalf of his or her agency. (Capital)

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Nicholas Tampio: Curbing PARCC test won't improve Md. education

People in Maryland should celebrate that the state is going to abandon the PARCC standardized test. The lengthy exam is aligned to the Common Core academic standards and administered to students in English language arts and mathematics at the end of grades 3-8 and twice in high school. According to Gov. Larry Hogan, “nearly everyone in Maryland — parents, teachers, students and the governor want these tests to end.” (Balt. Sun)

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Len Lazarick: Jealous attacks MarylandReporter.com as “right-wing blog”

In a public radio interview Tuesday, Ben Jealous, the Democratic nominee for governor, attacked MarylandReporter.com as “a right-wing blog that’s funded by right-wing donors that like to scare people.” Jealous’ claim came toward the end of a rambling response to a question from WYPR’s Tom Hall on his “Midday” program that referred to a MarylandReporter.com story shooting holes in his plan to save $660 million from the prison budget. Jealous got his facts wrong about the story, about the prison savings, and about the funding for MarylandReporter.com. (Md. Reporter)

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E.R. Shipp: No Boundaries Coalition among Baltimore's 'many bounties'

Among Baltimore’s many bounties are its legions of residents who will not give up on it no matter how many challenges come our way. They volunteer in schools and recreation centers and facilities for the elderly. They are the neighborhood block watchers. They keep the community associations going. They serve on committees and commissions and advisory councils to address everything from police activity to homelessness to recreation. They coax the gangbangers to cease the violence. And most of the time they are unheralded outside their circles. (Balt. Sun)

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September 18 // Bipartisanship saved Md.'s Obamacare exchange for now; here's what we need to do next

Monday the Maryland Insurance Administration held what must count as a remarkable hearing. Officials heard evidence about whether the two carriers on Maryland’s Affordable Care Act exchange should be allowed to lower their rates for 2019. Just months after CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Kaiser Permanente asked for rate increases of 30 percent or more, the insurers say the rates for their health maintenance organizations should instead be reduced by 22.3 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively. This is what happens when members of both parties actually try to solve the problems in our health care system rather than exacerbating them for political gain. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland, feds must assist opioid treatment providers

More frontline resources are needed to combat the opioid crisis. Even in a deeply divided political climate, there is bipartisan support for finding ways to curb an epidemic whose reach isn't limited by geography, income or race. Demand for substance abuse treatment is putting a strain on providers in Anne Arundel County. During a meeting with Sen. Chris Van Hollen at Maryland House Detox Friday in Linthicum, Delphi Behavioral Health Group officials lobbied for larger Medicaid reimbursement rates. The center's patients receive medical detoxification services over a five-to-seven day period without the intensive inpatient treatment traditional centers provide over a month or more. A hurdle, Delphi officials say, are state Medicaid reimbursement rates. (Capital)

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Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh: City is good for immigrants, and vice versa

The bipartisan group, New American Economy (NAE), which makes the economic case for smart and effective immigration policies, just released its inaugural NAE Cities Index. NAE analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities and assigned each a score, based on several criteria related to how well they are integrating newcomers. Those criteria include the strength of cities’ immigrant integration policies and a range of socioeconomic outcomes for each city’s immigrants, such as homeownership rates, entrepreneurship rates and more. Baltimore ranked among the top cities in the country for immigrant integration. The results of the index are a credit to Baltimore’s vision of a welcoming, inclusive and more prosperous city. (Balt. Sun)

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J.H. Snider: Prince George's County pension-spiking is ripping off Maryland taxpayers

On Sept. 17, 20 weeks after his announced resignation, Maryland’s highest paid public-school employee ended his tenure as CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools. On July 12, PGCPS announced Kevin Maxwell's severance package as $790,000, a sum that many considered excessive. The teachers’ union president attacked it as “appalling.” But this sum grossly understates the actual cost of Maxwell’s post-employment compensation. Most notably, it fails to include the increased value of his Maryland state pension. When that compensation is factored in, the cost of his severance package doubles to approximately $1.6 million. (Examiner)

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