Gansler decries ‘mismanagement’ of Maryland health exchange in letter to GOP senator

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) offered fresh criticism Thursday of the way that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration has handled Maryland’s online health insurance exchange, saying in a letter to a Republican senator that “the taxpayers ... have been poorly served by the Executive Branch’s mismanagement.” Gansler, a Democratic candidate for governor, wrote that he is “deeply troubled” by the tens of millions of dollars that have been “wasted while hard-working Marylanders have suffered from the botched rollout.” (Wash. Post)

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Duncan: ‘Time for answers’ on Silver Spring transit center

Calling it an “eyesore” in the midst of downtown Silver Spring, former Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan is calling on the county government to provide answers on the stalled construction of the Silver Spring Transit Center project. The facility was originally scheduled to open in 2011, but construction defects have led to delays and cost overruns that have made the $120 million project at the corner of Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring a sore point for county politicians and residents alike. (Gazette)

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Montgomery estimates $9 to $13 million price tag for publicly financed elections

Montgomery County might have spent as much as $9.6 million in the 2010 Democratic primary if the public campaign financing system proposed by council member Phil Andrews was in place that year, according to an estimate by Finance Director Joseph Beach. (Wash. Post)

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Rep. Issa apologizes to Democrat Cummings over handling of hearing

The House Republican majority shot down a Democratic effort Thursday to condemn Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight committee, for the "disrespectful manner" in which he adjourned a hearing as the panel’s top Democrat was speaking. He linked to an interview he gave to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in which he reported he had apologized to the lawmaker. "Mr. Cummings is a member of Congress who works very hard for his constituents," he said. Issa called what happened at the hearing "an unfortunate incident" and said he should have handled the matter differently. (Balt. Sun)

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House of Delegates passes domestic violence protections

Victims of domestic violence would enjoy stronger legal protections under legislation passed Thursday by the House of Delegates. House members voted overwhelmingly for a trio of bills proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley that would make it easier for a domestic violence victim to get a protective order from a court, expand the circumstances under which such orders could be issued and impose an extra penalty of up to five years for domestic violence in the presence of children. Versions of the bills have passed the Senate. Both chambers must pass the legislation in identical form before passage becomes final. (Balt. Sun)

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March 7 // Maryland panel sees $238 million revenue shortfall in current fiscal year and next

Maryland will have $238 million less than anticipated in its budget this fiscal year and next because of sluggish economic growth, according to revenue estimates released Thursday by a panel of the state’s top finance officials. Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who chairs the Board of Revenue Estimates, said the panel’s data suggest the recovery has so far bypassed most Marylanders — and he appeared to lay at least part of the blame on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s and the General Assembly’s eagerness to raise taxes and fees. (Wash. Post)

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Brinkley urges rejection of pay raises for legislators

Republican lawmakers in the Maryland Legislature are encouraging their colleagues to turn down salary increases recommended by a state commission. In his chamber, Sen. David Brinkley is leading the push to reject the proposed pay raises, which would lift lawmakers’ annual salaries from $43,500 to $50,330 by 2018. (News-Post)

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O’Malley says he’ll seek to restore inflation provision to his minimum-wage legislation

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Thursday that he is disappointed that the House of Delegates dropped a provision from his minimum-wage bill that called for automatic increases based on inflation and said he will lobby the Senate to restore it. O’Malley’s bill, which faces a final vote in the House on Friday, would gradually raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2017. The provision struck by the House would have made additional increases automatic after that. (Wash. Post)

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