December 22, 2009

State Roundup, December 22, 2009

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Finally, slots in Anne Arundel. In long-delayed votes, the Anne Arundel County Council approved zoning for two slots sites, including the one at the Arundel Mills Mall already granted a license. The decision now comes to County Executive John Leopold, who has supported the Arundel Mills plan. Opponents vow to take the measures to referendum, Nicole Fuller reports in The Baltimore Sun.

The Maryland Jockey Club promised to continue the fight for slots at the Laurel Park racetrack, John Wagner reports in The Washington Post.

Nick Sohr at The Daily Record has more on the slots vote, while WJZ TV has video, including comments from representatives of Cordish and the Maryland Jockey Club, and the AP report as well.

Another bidder has emerged to purchase the bankrupt Laurel Park, with a Pennsylvania company saying it wants to build a casino there, Daniel Sernovitz reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

The dig-out from the weekend storm is putting more strain on state and local budgets, says The Sun’s Larry Carson.

State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh responded disparagingly to the defense’s request for a new trial for convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, calling defense claims “outlandish” and “bombastic,” reports Nicole Flatow in The Daily Record. Rohrbaugh told the court the conviction should stand, according to Annie Linskey in the Sun.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, Maryland’s former LG and Senate candidate, is taking heat from former RNC chairmen and others for charging speaking fees of $8,000 to $20,000 for engagements around the country, Ralph Hallow reports in The Washington Times.

Randy May at the Free State Foundation has a critique of the state’s spending affordability process in the FSF blog.

The Sun editorial page takes a slap at Gov. Martin O’Malley for failing to embrace the reforms in teacher performance and evaluation now supported by Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick.

Former Frederick County Commissioner John Lovell wants Rick Weldon’s House seat, Meg Tully reports in the Frederick News-Post.

Maryland’s jobless rate inched up in October, Robert Rand reports in The Gazette.

Sean Sedam reports in The Gazette that Del. Jim Hubbard has pre-filed legislation to ban the flame retardant chemical decaBDE two years before a federal ban goes into effort, a measure Hubbard has introduced for the past two years.