Doctors Seek Insurance Cost Reforms

Postcards to Solicit Patients' Political Support

Physicians across Maryland plan to start handing out tens of thousands of postcards for patients to send to state legislators. The preprinted cards are intended to let lawmakers know that doctors are not the only ones concerned about the escalating insurance costs threatening their practices.

The state doctors' lobby also has formed a political action committee to help defeat candidates who do not embrace legal reforms as an antidote to doctors' medical malpractice costs.

Probe of Miller's Fundraising Dropped

FBI Finds No Violation in Securing Donations

The FBI has dropped its inquiry into the campaign fundraising of Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), informing the lawmaker that agents found no evidence that he violated federal laws in arranging more than $200,000 in donations from racetrack owner Joseph A. De Francis.

The federal probe focused on $225,000 in contributions that De Francis, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, gave to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in three installments in 2002 and early 2003.

Democrats' Slots Backing in Vain

GOP Support Sinks as State Interests Clash

Maryland's House Democrats came out strongly in favor of a referendum to let voters decide in November whether slot machine gambling would become legal, only to find that support had evaporated from Republicans who had been pushing gambling proposals for the past two years. The collapse of the deal reflected sharp political divisions in Annapolis, as well as the disarray among powerful interests fighting for a stake in the financial windfall that the machines could produce, state leaders said.

Complaints Cited in Lamone Ouster Try

Charges Say Elections Official Ignored Orders

Maryland State Elections Administrator Linda H. Lamone ignored directives from the State Board of Elections, failed to respond adequately to local officials and recently told a job candidate that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is "out to get [me]," according to charges drawn up to support her ouster.

The complaints form the basis of the Republican-led board's effort to remove Lamone, a Democrat, from the post she has held since 1997. Lamone, who is fighting the effort in court, argued that the charges do not meet the state's standards for removing an elections administrator.

Across the Region

New Grade Rules; Pledge to Increase Police

* Some Montgomery County teachers are speaking out against a new guideline that makes 50 out of 100 the lowest possible grade for an assignment, even if a student hands in a blank piece of paper or no paper at all.

* Prince George's County officials pledged to hire at least 900 police officers over the next six years in an effort to combat crime as the county's population grows.

* St. Mary's County School Superintendent Patricia Richardson said she will resign at the end of the year to take a job at the University of Maryland. She has been an educator in St. Mary's for 32 years, including eight years as superintendent.

The work in its wake: Workers clean debris from a home in the Ripley area of Charles County that was damaged by a tornado.