October 22, 2009

State Roundup, October 22, 2009

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For many, it was a foregone conclusion that the state panel reviewing slots proposal would approve a Cecil County proposal by Penn National to install 1,500 machines. It did, unanimously. Most of the coverage today has to do with what’s next in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City.

The Sun reports that the slots commission set a Dec. 17 deadline for issues with the two bids to be resolved. Members have concerns about the makeup of the group that would run a casino in South Baltimore, and still haven’t received a licensing fee for an expanded proposal. In Anne Arundel, a delay in local zoning changes is holding up a proposal. Commission Chairman Donald C. Fry says there might be some flexibility in the deadline, telling John Wagner at the Post, “I’m not saying that is a drop-dead date,” if there’s a good amount of progress by then.

Meanwhile, Baltimore City approved a $13.7 million sale for the slots site there, writes Robbie Whelan at The Daily Record. The Baltimore Business Journal’s Dan Sernovitz reports that the developer will lease the land for the site, but use the land it bought for future, surrounding development.

Morgan State University won a fight with University of Maryland University College over whether UMUC could offer a community college administration degree online, The Sun reports. The state’s Higher Education Commission agreed with an earlier ruling that UMUC’s proposed program would duplicate a course of study at the historically black university, even though it would be an online offering.

Daniel Valentine at The Gazette has an account of President Barack Obama’s trip to Cheverly, where he visited a company owned by State Senator Douglas J.J. Peters, a Democrat, and announced plans to make more lending available through the Small Business Administration. The Post blog also notes that Obama gave Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson a “shout-out.”

State unemployment hit 7.2 percent in September, a .1 percentage point increase in the month, according to the BBJ.

Bryan Sears at Patuxent writes on his Strange Bedfellows blog that Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith’s potential run for state Senate from Cockeysville has caused County Councilman Vince Gardina to rethink his election plans. Maybe a run for the House of Delegates?

Maryland Politics Watch notes that Sen. Ulysses Currie is fundraising again, and discusses the potential impact of his legal troubles, which have been quiet for awhile.