March 19 // Maryland health exchange approves extra expenses to keep some contractors on board

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange will spend up to $850,000 to continue paying some contractors needed to fix the state’s troubled online insurance marketplace. The money will keep on the system’s project management office, a team of 16 contractors, through the end of June, when the state’s fiscal year ends. The exchange board voted on Tuesday to authorize the spending.  (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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GBC leaders speak out against 'ban the box' proposal to stop employers from asking about criminal records

Job applicants with a criminal record wouldn't have to disclose their past to a potential employer during the job application process under a proposal being considered by Baltimore's City Council. But the Greater Baltimore Committee fears the legislation adds another burden on city employers. The bill would forbid employers from doing a criminal background check on a job candidate until after a conditional employer offer is made. If companies don't abide by this, they would face criminal penalties. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Bankruptcy judge rules against developer Pat Turner's effort to keep Westport

A federal bankruptcy judge on Tuesday ruled against developer Patrick Turner in his last-ditch legal effort to hold onto the Westport Waterfront property in South Baltimore. The ruling appears to clear the way for Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp. to auction the property Friday on the steps of the city courthouse. Attorneys for Citigroup told the court on Tuesday that they will not accept a deal from Turner’s Inner Harbor West LLC to purchase the note on the 43-acre parcel, signaling they are ready to proceed with Friday’s auction. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Softened wild-animal bills clear House, Senate

Representatives of the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo and several similar establishments have successfully negotiated changes to a wild-animal bill that could have prevented some from replacing their bears and large cats. The House of Delegates and state Senate have both passed bills that initially raised concerns among zookeepers. However, with the amendments, lawmakers say they don’t think the proposal will force Catoctin Zoo near Thurmont to scale back its programs. (News-Post)

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Unemployment rate nearly 16 percent for people with disabilities

For the 5 percent of workers in Frederick County who have disabilities, getting the chance to prove themselves in the workplace can be difficult. The unemployment rate in Frederick County between 2010 and 2012 was higher for people with disabilities than those without, the census survey showed. Overall unemployment was about 6 percent, but the rate was nearly 16 percent for those with disabilities. (News-Post)

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Clarksville cyber firm views health exchange problems as opportunity for new business

A Clarksville cyber security firm hopes to capitalize on problems with health exchange websites across the U.S. LaToya Holmes, founder and CEO of BLARE Intelligence, lists multiple federal agencies as clients but now plans to branch out into the private sector. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Appeals court rejects Lord & Taylor's bid to halt White Flint Mall redevelopment

The owners of White Flint Mall have won a key ruling in their efforts to redevelop the aging and mostly vacant Montgomery County retail center. A federal appeals court rejected an appeal by Lord & Taylor LLC, one of the mall's last remaining retail anchors, seeking to temporarily delay the redevelopment until its lawsuit against the owners works its way through the court system. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Project could bring new restaurant and retail business to Arbutus

One of the main gateways into Arbutus is expected to undergo a major change if a project by Catonsville developer Steve Whalen gets underway. The project, Arbutus Station, will bring two commercial buildings near the intersection of Sulphur Spring Road and Waelchli Avenue. (Balt. Sun)

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