Maryland’s health department has drafted new regulations for clinics where surgical abortions are performed, after a woman required emergency surgery following an abortion performed by an unlicensed doctor at an Elkton clinic last year.
The regulations, which were submitted for public comment Friday, were developed in response to abortions performed in Elkton by a doctor whose license has since been suspended in New Jersey. Regulators found that Dr. Steven Brigham was starting late-term abortions in New Jersey and sending patients to Maryland to complete the procedures.
Part of broad expansion of coverage for women’s preventive care
Health insurance plans must cover birth control as preventive care for women, with no copays, the Obama administration said Monday in a decision with far-reaching implications for health care as well as social mores.
The requirement is part of a broad expansion of coverage for women’s preventive care under President Barack Obama’s health care law. Also to be covered without copays are breast pumps for nursing mothers, an annual “well-woman” physical, screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer and for diabetes during pregnancy, counseling on domestic violence, and other services.
The new requirements will take effect Jan. 1, 2013, in most cases. Tens of millions of women are expected to gain coverage initially, and that number is likely to grow with time. At first, some plans may be exempt due to a complex provision of the health care law known as the “grandfather” clause. But those even plans could face pressure from their members to include the new benefit.
The Maryland State Lottery Agency announced Monday that it generated $1.7 billion in sales in fiscal 2011, breaking its sales record for the 14th year in a row. The lottery agency contributed $519.4 million to the state’s general fund through its sales, an $8.9 million increase from last fiscal year.
That revenue is used to support education, public safety, health and environmental programs. The revenue makes the lottery agency the fourth largest contributor to the state’s funding sources, after sales, income and corporate taxes.
...on the Grid, But Return No Cash to Md.
Despite being a fan of renewable energy and jobs for western Maryland, Comptroller Peter Franchot has voted against a long-term lease for the state’s largest solar energy farm.
The contract for a 20-year lease of about 250 acres near the Hagerstown Prison Complex was approved with the votes of Gov. Martin O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy Kopp at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting. The contractor, Maryland Solar LLC, will fill the land with solar panels to produce 20 megawatts of electricity, expected to double the amount of solar power currently on Maryland’s energy grid.
The state’s Program Open Space has a new home agency and more flexibility with how funds can be spent.
With funds from real estate transfer taxes, which have been down recently, the program allocates money to buy land and conserve open space. This land can be used to preserve a natural habitat, but it can also be used for parks or other recreational areas.
The program used to be split between the Department of General Services, the Department of Planning, and the Department of Natural Resources. Now, in a move proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley and unanimously supported by the General Assembly, all of its functions will be carried out by Natural Resources. Emily Wilson, the acting director for land acquisition and planning at DNR, said that this move is just consolidating the program.
The report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science says sales jumped 34 percent from the 12.6 million oysters sold in 2009.
The improvement is attributed to development of a disease-resistant oyster seed that’s fast growing, and more sophisticated practices adopted by farmers.
Khalid Ouazzani owned a Kansas City, Mo., used auto parts store by day but was secretly supporting al-Qaida by night.
Using covert communications more complex than mere encryption, Ouazzani assumed he was eluding federal authorities, hiding his dealings behind a veil of virtual invisible ink. While the FBI won’t reveal details, agents say he used a form of steganography, the art of hiding messages within other messages.
But it was no match for the agency’s digital forensics specialists, who cracked Ouazzani’s code.
It’s official: July was a scorcher. High temperatures in communities across the USA broke or tied records 2,676 times, almost double the number (1,444) of a year ago, the National Weather Service reports.
August is unlikely to offer much relief, forecasters say. The heat wave anchored over the Central and Southern Plains states, including drought-stricken Texas, is capped by a colossal vault of high pressure that has locked out cooler air currents from Canada
Wonder how high the utility bills will be at that apartment you like? To help consumers and spur efficiency, U.S. states and cities are beginning this year to require that commercial buildings measure and disclose their energy use.
The new rules, which generally exempt small businesses, are expected to shame building owners into upgrades that will save energy and create jobs. They’re akin to nutritional labels on food, Energy Star ratings on appliances and miles-per-gallon stickers on vehicles. They won’t specify utility costs but will show a building’s relative efficiency, measured in energy use per square foot for apartments.
At 7 percent, Maryland’s unemployment rate is 2.2 percent below the national 9.2 percent average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Maryland lost 300 jobs from May to June, down significantly from outlier job losses in May.
“June was another soft month in Maryland’s recovery and a reminder that we must stay focused on the principles that will secure Maryland’s economic future,” Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez said in a statement. “During our recovery, which will require determined work from all Marylanders, it is more important than ever before to protect our investments in the state’s human capital, strengthen partnerships with employers and labor leaders and avoid short cuts that other states have taken.”
While some might argue it isn’t fair to compare the District of Columbia with states, the District tops a national list for drug and alcohol abuse.
A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found in 2008 and 2009 both D.C. and Virginia exceeded the national average when it comes to people 12 and older abusing drugs and alcohol. Maryland ranked below the national average.
The survey detailed in The Examiner also shows Maryland has the nation’s lowest rate of mental illness at 16.7 percent. Virginia’s rate was 18.5 percent and the nation’s was 19.7 percent. The survey finds the District’s rate of past-year mental illness for adults is 21 percent.
After months of vitriolic discord, Republican and Democratic lawmakers were expected to vote on Monday on a White House-backed deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and avert an unprecedented debt default.
The Democratic-led Senate is expected to pass the deal, which raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and cuts about $2.4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade.