Over 300 new Medicaid enrollees received the wrong infomation in packets mailed to them last month. The state blames IT "glitches". @ the Washington Post.
State Senate passes emergency legislation for people who have been trying to enroll in Maryland's health exchange. The act would make coverage retroactive to January 1st. @ the Baltimore Sun.
Congressman Delaney still thinks Maryland should abandon its state-wide rollout, and just go with the Federal plan. However the state's Secretary of Health argues that a switch right now would make the problem of enrollment worse. @ the Baltimore Sun
AFT-Maryland represents more than 20,000 state and municipal workers, including 9,000 educational workers in the City of Baltimore. During this legislative session, there are issues that are of particular concern to our members:
Job Protections for Maryland’s Educators: Higher Education Collective Bargaining
O'Malley rolled out his legislative package Monday night, and highlights according to news sources included an increase in the minimum wage ($10.10, indexed to inflation), expand pre-k participation, improve security at state-run jails, more help for victims of domestic abuse, and a bill that would deem 20,000 acres of state-owned land as protected lands, preventing development to occur on those lands.
The governor is scheduled to give his State of the State speech on Thursday.
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.
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.
While Maryland Senate President Mike Miller believes that a minimum wage raise in Maryland will happen, he thinks that, instead, it might be based by county, and not a state-wide, unified minimum wage.
In an article on Marylandreporter.com, the governor was asked if the unions approved the decreased state contribution to pension. O'Malley turned to his chief of staff, John Griffin, and Budget Secretary, Eloise Foster, who said that they had.
AFSCME and MSEA responded by saying that they were not consulted, and were not aware that O'Malley wanted to make that cut permanent. It has become clear, as well, that this cut was made to balance the budget without raising taxes.
O'Malley did a powerpoint presentation on his final budget submitted yesterday. The details are still sketchy, but from what we can tell, we should have a problem with the way some of the savings were achieved and revenues generated-- not by tax increases but by cuts to the funding system for pensions.
In previous budgets, the plan to get the state employee pension fully funded was to be achieved by 2024. In 2011, the state upped employee contributions to their pension from 7% to 9%. The state's savings from this increased employee contribution could go back into the pension fund, but only up