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State assembly budget expert says O'Malley's budget savings may not be enough.

Warren Dechenaux, the Maryland Legislature's top budget analyst, testified before the assembly yesterday that O'Malley's budget cushion of $30 million may not be enough to cover unexpected spending, which has averaged $145 million in the past few years (and is expected to include things like increased cost of defendants at bail hearings, as required by a new court decision).

In addition, the balancing act by O'Malley's last budget includes tapping into reserves of the employee health benefit fund, and lowering state contributions by $100 million.

Brown proposes moratorium on outdated standardized testing.

The Maryland School Assessments (MSA) tests that are given to Maryland
students are based on curricula that is being replaced, so Anthony Brown announced yesterday that the state should ask for a waiver until the new Common Core Curriculum is implemented.

O'Malley and stated education superintendent Lillian Lowery oppose a moratorium.

via the Baltimore Sun.

1/17/14 Todd Reynolds, Political Coordinator

More anger in Annapolis over problems with Healthcare roll out.

This time it was Senate Finance Chair Mac Middleton's turn to be upset at O'Malley/Brown over problems in the state health exchange. Upset that he was never informed about problems leading up to the roll out, senator Middleton now wants regular updates every two weeks from the administration regarding the progress of the fixes.

Campaign finance reports released: Brown takes funding lead over Gansler, and Mizeur does surprisingly well.

The candidates for Governor and Attorney General released financial reports for the previous year, and Anthony Brown surged ahead of Doug Gansler. Brown raised $5.4 million over the past year, while Gansler raised $1.7 million. Heather Mizeur raised $1.1 million over that same period, as well. Analysts said that the numbers show that more and more donors see Brown as the clear front runner, and that Mizeur should be taken very seriously, as over 90% of her donations have come from grassroots, small time donations of under $250.

Funding for school construction

Baltimore County joins Prince George and Montgomery counties in calling for more funding for school construction. This comes one year after Baltimore City schools won school construction funding.

More at the Baltimore Sun.

1/15/14 Todd Reynolds, Political Coordinator