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Brown Unveils Proposals For MD Vets, Mizeur Plans To Announce Running Mate, and “The Magic Pill”

Bret Jaspers

Anthony Brown has issued a five point plan aimed at helping Maryland’s veterans, a plan he hopes to implement if he’s elected governor next year. Another Democrat in the race – Heather Mizeur – will announce her running mate tomorrow. Plus, “The Magic Pill,” home sales, school discipline, and more.

Brown Unveils 5-Point Plan For MD Vets. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has issued a five point plan aimed at helping Maryland’s veterans – a plan he hopes to implement if he’s elected governor next year.The Baltimore Sun notes that the plan includes a tax break; Brown says he wants to eliminate taxes on military pensions up to $150-thousand a year. Another proposal would extend bridge loans to veterans waiting for their disability claims to be processed by the VA. Brown also wants to help vets find jobs and housing, and create a Veterans' Treatment Court, similar to drug courts, which would connect veterans with mental health and drug and alcohol counseling, rather than send them to jail. The Washington Post notes that Brown is a colonel in the US Army Reserve, and served a tour of duty in Iraq.

Brown To Get AFSCME Endorsement: Brown’s gubernatorial campaign is expected to get the endorsement of Maryland’s largest union of state government workers. The Baltimore Sun reports that AFSCME, or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is set to give Brown its support today. AFSCME represents about 25-thousand state workers and public university employees. The Washington Post has more.

Mizeur To Announce Running Mate Wednesday: Brown is vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination with state Attorney General Doug Gansler and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur. Brown’s picked Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his running mate; Gansler has tapped Prince George’s County Delegate Jolene Ivey to be his. And tomorrow, Delegate Mizeur is expected to reveal her pick for Lieutenant Governor. The Gazette reports that Mizeur will announce the identity of her running mate at an event tomorrow night in Silver Spring.

The Magic Pill, Part 2: Getting Fair And Equal With Your Mental Healthcare For years, having health insurance didn’t necessarily mean you were covered for mental health care. Many plans didn’t cover it at all; others provided very limited coverage. But late last week, the Obama administration issued regulations aimed at fixing that. In this installment of our weeklong series “The Magic Pill: Will The Affordable Care Act Fix Mental Health Care?” WYPR’s Mary Rose Madden explores the odds of success.

Arnett On Proposed Manager-Council Shift: Annapolis Alderman Ross Arnett is clarifying his support for a plan that would strip most powers from the office of mayor. Arnett is a Democrat… and some have seen his proposal as a partisan, as Republican Mike Pantelides was elected mayor last week – Pantelides will be the first GOP Mayor Annapolis has had in 17 years when he’s sworn in early next month. Arnett says he has been receiving angry calls from all over the country about his proposal… but notes that he’s long supported a change to a manager-council form of government, and adds that he first put his legislation into play 3 years ago, when a Democrat held the Mayor’s post. The Alderman tells the Baltimore Sun that he’s no plans to introduce the legislation that would make the change anytime soon.  But he tells the Capital Gazette that he does want to go forward with the proposal, which he says would remove political considerations from day to day decisions in Annapolis. Alderman Arnett notes that even if the measure is approved, the changes couldn’t fully take effect until the year 2017.

Pantelides Looks For Volunteers: Annapolis Mayor-elect Pantelides is looking for volunteers to serve on his transition team. He urges interested people to submit their resumes by the end of the week. Pantelides will be sworn into office on December 2nd. The Capital Gazette has more information here.

Philippines Relief: Baltimore-based organizations are sending much-needed relief supplies to people in the Philippines devastated by last week’s massive Typhoon. Catholic Relief Services and Lutheran World Relief are providing such things as emergency water and sanitation supplies and thousands of tarps for makeshift shelters. The Baltimore Sun has more.

Bishops Elect New President: Roman Catholic bishops from around the country are in Baltimore to elect a new president today. The annual convention of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has ten nominations to succeed Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Dolan was elected three years ago. His successor will take the post Thursday at the end of the assembly – and the Baltimore Sun notes that Baltimore Archbishop William Lori is one of the bishops in the running for the job. 

Public Comment Period Extended For School Discipline Procedures: Maryland residents will have more time to weigh in on possible changes to how students are disciplined at public schools. State education officials say the goal of the rules overhaul is to cut down on the number of out-of-school suspensions and change the thinking behind the way students are punished. The state board of education will vote on the issue in January – and the Washington Post notes that the public comment period has been extended through early that month.

Suspensions For Pre-Kindergarteners: The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the number of out of school suspensions issued for pre-kindergarteners in Baltimore doubled during the last school year. The city school system suspended 33 kids aged 3 and 4 last year; during the same period, Anne Arundel County schools issued 19 such suspensions.

Home Sales, Prices Up In Baltimore Region: Baltimore area home prices are continuing to go up. A new report from RealEstate Business Intelligence shows that median home prices have risen more than 3 and a half percent over the past year… with the average sales price now around 238-thousand dollars. Home sales are up around the region as well – increasing around 15 percent in October. As the Baltimore Business Journal reports, the report also indicates that the number of homeowners listing their properties for sale rose 27-percent over October of last year. It's the largest year over increase for a month since 2010, when the federal home buyers credit spurred a flurry of real estate activity.

Crashes On Baltimore Roads Increased After Speed Cameras Went Up: New statistics are showing that the number of crashes on Baltimore roads has increased since the city installed speed enforcement cameras. The numbers indicate that the number of crashes rose by five-percent from 2009 when cameras, were installed compared to last year. City officials are downplaying the report, noting to the Baltimore Sunthat the number of crashes was down by three-percent in the high crash intersections where the speed cameras have been installed.

WYPR's Morning Edition news anchor Ashley Sterner serves up the latest Maryland news and weather every weekday morning, delightfully interspersed with the occasional snarky comment.