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Maryland’s Health Exchange.

MD-Exchange-Trash-Can-ROHWhat if you were to spend $125.5 million dollars on something like a website and get nothing in return?

Residents of the state of Maryland are facing that exact question.

To put it mildly, Maryland’s Health Care exchange site has be plagued with issues since it first came online.

The site has never worked correctly losing data, enrollments, and having security issues. Contractors feuded and fought while the site continued to fail.

On March 9, 2014, the Federal government said it would step in and conduct an audit of the site’s failure.

The probe, which Harris said would likely begin in a matter of weeks, is the first of its kind to be revealed publicly. It comes days after the U.S. Government Accountability Office said it would review the formation of state-based insurance exchanges — though experts say an inspector general’s examination is usually more exhaustive and specific.

State legislators also are scrutinizing problems with Maryland’s online exchange, which crashed on its first day last fall and has had continued problems, including feuding contractors and major software issues. The state review is not expected to be completed until mid-2015 — well after this year’s gubernatorial primary and general election.

The date of the completion is significant as the person responsible for the website roll out is Anthony Brown.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, the state’s point man on the health law’s implementation, is a leading Democratic candidate for governor this year. He has been criticized on the issue by Republican state lawmakers as well as by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, one of his rivals for the party nomination.

Separately, state lawmakers in Annapolis have ordered legislative auditors to review documents that show what was happening behind the scenes in the weeks and months before the site launched.

The joint oversight committee has asked legislative auditors to do a “performance review” of the exchange, an inquiry that would not begin until this summer. Auditors were already scheduled to begin a more narrow inquiry into the finances of the exchange.

Maryland was one of 14 states that chose to build its own health insurance exchange rather than rely on a web portal created by the federal government. Most of those states had their sites in shape by January, though Oregon, Minnesota and Massachusetts continue to experience problems.

Brown wants the audit to be completed after the election because the failure of the site and the implementation of the site would have disastrous consequences for him in the election. For Brown, it isn’t about getting the site right or being accountable, it is about being elected to a higher office.
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Maryland Senator Has Problem Understanding The Word “Private.”

Manno-ROHSenator Roger Manno is a Democrat representing the 19th District (Montgomery County) in the state of Maryland.

Manno seems to be a well educated man, having earned a degree in Political Science from Hunter College in New York and then getting a JD from the Franklin Pierce Law Center (New Hampshire) in the area of intellectual property.

Sounds okay so far, right?

Yet stunningly, Manno has introduced a bill into the Maryland State Senate that would prohibit weapons such as a knife or a gun on school property. If the bill dealt with public schools, that would be fine. We would disagree with him on many issues, but at least he has some standing on public official making policy and law concerning public property.

But Manno went further.

SB 353 proposes a ban on weapons on private school property as well.

Part of the bill reads:

(b) A person may not carry or possess a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on public OR PRIVATE school property.

(c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $1,000 or both.

The bill allows for some exceptions as to who may carry a weapon on private or public school property:

4–102.
(a) This section does not apply to:
(1) a law enforcement officer in the regular course of the officer’s duty;
(2) an off–duty law enforcement officer who is a parent, guardian, or 1 visitor of a student attending a school located on the public AND PRIVATE school
property, provided that:
(i) the officer is displaying the officer’s badge or credential; and
(ii) the weapon carried or possessed by the officer is concealed;
(3) a person hired by:
(I) a county board of education specifically for the purpose of guarding public school property; OR
(II) A PRIVATE SCHOOL SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF GUARDING THE PRIVATE SCHOOL PROPERTY;
(4) a person engaged in organized shooting activity for educational purposes; or
(5) a person who, with a written invitation from the school principal, displays or engages in a historical demonstration using a weapon or a replica of a 14 weapon for educational purposes.
(b) A person may not carry or possess a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on public OR PRIVATE school property.

Right off the bat there are issues.
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May Madness.

NCAA-Lacrosse-And-Stick-ROH The NCAA Division I Men;s Lacrosse Tournament starts today.

Over the next 3 weeks, 16 teams will vie for the championship which will be held on Memorial Day weekend at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on May 27, 2013.

You can see the entire bracket here.

Our beloved Maryland Terrapins (10-3) are seeded #6 in the tournament and stay at home to play Cornell (12-3.) This is a game between two teams that for the first month of the season were ranked 1 – 2 in the country, so these teams have some talent.

Maryland’s offense has been struggling, but last week they scored 18 goals on Colgate, which hopefully means the offense is back and can take the pressure off the Maryland defense, which has been solid.

It should be a great tournament.

Here’s the complete schedule for the first weekend with times and TV coverage:

NCAA DI First Round
Saturday, May 11, 2013

Noon
First Round: Lehigh at No. 5 seed North Carolina
Eamon McAnaney & Paul Carcaterra
ESPN2 / WatchESPN

2:30 p.m.
First Round: Yale at No. 8 seed Penn State
Joe Beninati & Stephen McElduff
ESPNU / WatchESPN

5 p.m.
First Round: Detroit at No. 2 seed Notre Dame
Mark Dixon & Matt Ward
ESPNU / WatchESPN

7:30 p.m.
First Round: Albany at No. 4 seed Denver
Booker Corrigan & Jamie Munro
ESPNU / WatchESPN

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Fear Of The Turtle Returns.

Its-Back-ROH

It’s back.

Yes ladies and gentleman, Division I lacrosse has returned to the field and this past weekend saw the number 2 ranked Maryland Terrapins travel 45 miles north on I-95 to take on the number 1 ranked and defending NCAA champions the Loyola Greyhounds.

The Terps spotted Loyola the first goal and then rattled off 5 unanswered goals. From there, the Terps never looked back leaving the home team and their fans to leave Loyola’s Ridley Athletic Complex saddened by a 12 – 10 loss.

We, of course, are not saddened by this at all.

Maryland is loaded this year with a better than average offense, a great defense and a great goalie. Time will tell if the team can reach its full potential, but the Terps are capable of playing for and winning the national championship in Philadelphia.

For us, even though they are far away, it is good just to see the sport back on the field. We had watched some games on television a few weeks ago, but the schedules of all schools are really kicking in. The fastest sport on grass is back.

Loyola is now 2 – 1 on the year. Maryland (3 – 0) should move up in the rankings (not that it matters) to number 1 and should be number 1 when they face hated ACC rival and perennial powerhouse Duke in Durham. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU starting at 11:00 AM on this Saturday.

Fear the turtle!



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Meanwhile, Just South Of The Mason Dixon Line…..

There are some strange things that are happening in the state of Maryland these days.

First is the curious decision the University of Maryland Board of Regents made to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference and move to the Big Ten. Err….. the “Big 10 We Can’t Count and Have 12 Members Conference” which is soon to become the “Big 10 We Can’t Count and Have 14 Members Conference” as Rutgers is said to be making the move as well.

Maryland is a founding member of the ACC and their leaving the conference is beyond disappointing. The move is simply for money as the Big Ten television contract adds about $25 million dollars to the revenue of each school. Yet there is something wrong about leaving a great conference that you helped found and supported for all these years for a conference that you have no ties to. To us it is like divorcing your wife of 50 years in order to marry a mail order Russian bride whoyou have not seen or spoken to.

Speaking of Russia and vodka. (Yeah, that is not a smooth segue, but we tried.)

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has told state officials the new increased sales tax on alcohol has had a negative effect on sales in Maryland.

David Ozgo, chief economist for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said the sale of distilled spirits in Maryland has grown just two-tenths of a percent in the past year, well below the national average of 3.1%.

“Distilled spirits growth in Maryland has been anemic so far in 2012,” Ozgo said. “Nationwide, off-premise sales are up 3.3 percentage points. But here in Maryland, we are actually off slightly.

There is very, very strong evidence that poor performance of Maryland package stores is a direct result of the Maryland decision to increase the alcohol sales tax to 9% in 2011.”

The liquor sale decline in Maryland can be directly associated with the sale increases in neighboring states, Ozgo said. Virginia’s off-premise sales are up 5% in 2012, while Delaware has seen a staggering 8.8% rise.

You mean people will go to another state to save money because of a new tax? Who would have ever thought that? Who would have ever suspected taxes affect economic growth?

Why was there an increase in taxes?
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A Tale of Two States.

Lou Dobbs takes a few minutes to consider two similar, neighboring states – Virginia and Maryland.

The exodus from Maryland has been a discussion for many years. According to the Census Bureau, the City of Baltimore has lost 30,000 residents from 2000 to 2010. The city is now petitioning the Census Bureau to change the population numbers but the City and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake do not have an explanation for the “error.”

While we were aware how the census numbers fiscally impact a city, we didn’t realize how much of an impact:

If the city wins its challenge — in which it argues that census workers missed counting 15,635 housing units — it means Baltimore’s population has held steady since 2000, not dropped significantly. And that could mean the city would receive $87 million more in federal funding, city planning officials said.

However, Mayor Rawlings-Blake has a plan to increase the population.
(more…)

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Check Please!

Our home state of Maryland is at it again. This time there is a new shot being fired across the bow of the state legislature and the Maryland Courts.

At issue are some rulings by the Court which have caught the ire of the legislature.

The most recent instance involved the Maryland Court of Appeals making new law by declaring in the case of Tracey v Solesky the mere act of owning a pit bull is a prima facie case for negligence if the pit bull attacks someone. In essence, the Court disregarded the actual law on animal bites and attacks, and simply made a new law.

In another case, the Court stuck down a law which created economic caps on awards for lead paint containment if the owner of the property had done that which the law required him to do. The end result is that for the property owner, following the law is no safe haven from lawsuits and huge damages.

Now, according to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland legislature is getting fed up with passing laws, and then having the Court of Appeals write its own laws which are contrary to those written by the legislature.

And this is where the true idiocy of the whole mess comes to the forefront.

This is what one Delegate to the Maryland Legislature had to say about the courts and the legislature:

This court definitely is revealing that it has some very strong views about shaping Maryland law, and to that extent, some people will criticize [the judges] as being activist,” said Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons, a Montgomery County Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. The “court will defend itself by saying it’s moving the law of Maryland incrementally forward. It all has to do with where you stand.”

This is an amazing statement. The Court has no business “shaping Maryland law,” “moving the law of Maryland incrementally forward,” or being “activists.” The Maryland Constitution is basically the same as that of the US Constitution with regards to the scope of the actions of the Maryland Courts.

Therefore whether you agree or disagree with the Court saying a pit bull is dangerous is not the issue. The issue is the Court had no legal or Constitutional right to make such belief part of the laws of the state of Maryland.

In doing so, the Court overstepped Constitutional checks and balances.

A spokesperson for the Court exemplifies the problem:
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One Step Closer….

If one looked at the scores of the NCAA Lacrosse Semi-Finals today, they would have seen finals of 7 – 5 and 16 – 10.

Knowing the styles of the teams, one would have thought the the score of the Loyola vs. Notre Dame game was 16 – 10, and the Maryland vs. Duke game was 7 – 5.

As it turned out, one would be wrong.

Somehow in the past week, the Maryland team was taken over by pod people and ran the Duke Blue Devils out of the stadium 16 – 10. You read that right. Maryland scored 16 goals in a game. Maryland had scored 16 goals twice previously this year: 16 goals against Marist and 17 against Georgetown. With all due respect to those fine schools, neither are Duke.

The 16 goals Maryland put on the board against Duke was the most Duke had allowed all year.

We were shocked.

Maryland took 29 shots and scored 16 times. That is an obscene 53% scoring rate.

Maryland now faces in state rival Loyola on Monday at 1 PM.

No matter what, the lacrosse champions will be from the Free State and can celebrate with steamed crabs.

We here at Raised on Hoecakes wish to congratulate Loyola on their fine season and reaching the finals. However, we sincerely hope they lose and our beloved Terps will be crowned champions.

Fear the Turtle!



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