December 14, 2009

State Roundup, December 14, 2009

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Here’s what you missed in Maryland news over the weekend: gambling expansions next door turn up heat on slots, military expansion in Maryland gets a close look, and new info about horse racing bidders.

Casinos in neighboring states could soon be raising the stakes on Maryland, Laura Smitherman reports, analyzing the recent approval of table games at Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia and the push by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell to approve similar measures in his state. The Gazette discussed this issue Friday.

Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold writes a letter to the editor in The Sun, taking issue with “misinformation” in the debate over slot machines at Arundel Mills mall. Some are pushing for slots to be installed at Laurel Park race track instead. “Both history and the facts are inconsistent with the argument that a video lottery facility at Laurel racetrack will provide more financial benefits to this industry and its employees than a location at Arundel Mills,” Leopold writes.

Gov. Martin O’Malley is urging the federal government to help Maryland pay for infrastructure improvements surrounding the growing military bases at Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Bobby McMahon reports for Capital News Service.

The (Annapolis) Capital ran a weekend package by Joshua Stewart on the Base Realignment and Closure process affecting Maryland, with a feature on the expected boom at Fort Meade. The Capital also takes a deeper look at the effect on real estate and education.

The Baltimore Business Journal has a piece about a new, $43 million highway project to serve Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The Washington Post Maryland political blog has a link to video of O’Malley responding to criticism from former Gov. Bob Ehrlich at his virtual town hall meeting last week.

Maryland Politics Watch begins a series looking at how a 2010 matchup between O’Malley and Ehrlich would play out. Today’s installment analyzes voter registration by county.

Joe De Francis, who used to own Laurel and Baltimore’s Pimlico track, is bidding to buy the properties out of bankruptcy. The bidding team also includes his family.

Andrea Siegel in The Sun has a piece discussing the impact of new media, text messages and Wikipedia on the jury system. It’s getting harder to keep jurors from bringing outside information into deliberation, she reports, focusing on cases including Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon’s trial.

Lorraine Mirabella in The Sun writes about the changing nature of political organizations, as the Mount Royal Democratic Club in Baltimore disbands.

It looks like there will be more turnover at The Sun’s State House Bureau, as the University of North Carolina’s “Talking Biz News” blog reports that Bureau Chief Laura Smitherman is going to become The Sun’s business editor. Hat tip to the Post blog on the link.

John Wagner at The Post has an interview with Attorney General Doug Gansler, who said he’d like to coach fifth grade lacrosse if he didn’t have his current job.

Lawmakers are urging tech firms in Frederick County to get politically active in the coming election year, Ed Waters Jr. writes in the Frederick News-Post.

O’Malley is in Frederick Monday to open a new, $107 million highway interchange, The Associated Press reports.

Paul West in The Sun writes that two U.S. Senators are mischaracterizing some University of Maryland research funding as they criticize federal stimulus spending.

WBAL Radio and the AP have a rundown on some of the Maryland earmarks in the Senate version of a federal spending package.