President Obama visited Maryland yesterday to talk about the Affordable Care Act. If Congress fails to pass a budget bill because of GOP efforts to defund that law, Maryland could lose $5-million a day in income and sales taxes. Plus: a challenge to MD’s new gun law, and more.
Obama On The Affordable Care Act And A Possible Government Shutdown: President Obama was in Maryland yesterday. As the Baltimore Sun reports, he spoke to students at Prince George’s Community College, and urged them to help make the Affordable Care Act work by signing up for insurance under the new healthcare exchanges which will begin enrollment next week. Obama also said that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay – and denounced Republican efforts to defund it as “irresponsible.” Those efforts are connected to a bill that would keep the federal government funded… and as NPR is reporting, the US Senate could vote today on a bill that would do that without defunding Obamacare. But the measure’s future in the House of Representatives is unclear, and with a government shutdown looming, Maryland is bracing for what that could mean. Governor Martin O’Malley’s office tells the Washington Post that the furloughs a shutdown would bring could cost Maryland some $5-million a day in income taxes and sales taxes. The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland’s economy would take a $15-million hit every day that the government doesn’t operate
MD’s New Gun Law: Gun sales are brisk around Maryland… as customers try to make their purchases before the state’s new gun law takes effect next week. Once that happens, handgun buyers will need a license and training. But those applying to buy a gun before the deadline will be grandfathered in under current laws. Maryland’s new gun law is set to effect on October 1st… but a number of gun rights advocates have filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent that from happening. At issue is a provision in the law that bans 45 types of guns classified as military-style assault weapons and prohibits the sale of magazines that exceed ten rounds. The lawsuit argues that the bans infringe on their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and says that case law backs up their position. Gun rights advocates tell the Baltimore Sun that they’ll ask for an injunction today to prevent the gun law from taking effect.
AFL-CIO To Consider Gansler And Mizeur For Endorsement: The AFL-CIO has changed its policy on how it’ll make an endorsement in the 2014 governor’s race. The powerful labor organization had said it would only consider endorsing candidates who’d filed their paperwork with the State Board of Elections by Thursday of last week. Only Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has done that – the other two Democrats in the race, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur, aren’t yet able to file, because neither has chosen a running mate. But Brown may not be certain of the group’s endorsement after all. Yesterday, the AFL-CIO says that it will allow Gansler and Mizeur to pitch their candidacies, out of what it characterizes to the Washington Post as a desire to be “inclusive.” The AFL-CIO says it will make its endorsements in late October.
Why Maryland Students Have New Curriculum But Old Test: WYPR's Fraser Smith and Gwendolyn Glenn talk about how schools are adapting to the new Common Core Standards and why some want a moratorium on testing for this school year. It’s this morning’s edition of Inside Maryland Politics.
SAT Scores Down, AP Pass Rates Up: Maryland SAT scores are down slightly. Figures released yesterday by the College Board, show that Maryland’s average composite SAT score fell four points to 1483. While the average score in reading held steady, math and writing scores were each down two points. Other figures released yesterday show the overall pass rate on Advanced Placement exams in Maryland jumped three-point-six percentage points. There’s more here from the Washington Post.
VA Hospital Emergency Room Criticized: The Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center is facing criticism for long waits at its emergency room. A new report from the VA Inspector General’s office says a shortage of doctors, nurses and beds has resulted in half of the ER patients spending more than six hours before being admitted. The VA report criticizes hospital leadership for not using on call doctors and nurses when patient volumes rise. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Audit Of Reginald F. Lewis Museum: An audit by the state of the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture is showing a lack of financial oversight. The audit shows poor accounting practices, including failing to inventory collections and failing to file annual reports at the Baltimore museum. The Baltimore Sun has more.
Bay Bridge Likely Crowded This Weekend: Maryland transportation officials are telling drivers to anticipate increased traffic on the Bay Bridge this weekend because of the NASCAR events in Dover, Delaware. The congestion will likely be exacerbated by the Ocean City Wine Fest. The MdTA is recommending that motorists use the Bay Bridge during off-peak hours. The Baltimore News Journal has more.
Baltimore Book Festival Closings: Expect traffic congestion this weekend around Baltimore’s Mount Vernon; the annual Baltimore Book Festival runs today, Saturday and Sunday – leading to multiple street closings; the Baltimore Transportation Department has a list here.
Baltimore Baseball: The Orioles won again last night, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 3 to 2. Tonight, the O’s host the Boston Red Sox to kick off their final series of the season; first pitch for tonight’s game set for 7:05pm. The Orioles play against the Red Sox on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Baltimore Football: On Sunday, the Ravens will be in New York to take on the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens are 2 and 1 for the season; the Bills 1 and 2. The Ravens beat the Bills the last time the two played, back in 2010