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Published on December 28th, 2009 | by Len Lazarick

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State Roundup, December 28, 2009

Here are some of the stories that unfolded since our last roundup, including a grisly killing on the Eastern Shore, the aftermath of slots resolution in Anne Arundel County, and plenty of year in review coverage.

Jill Rosen in The Baltimore Sun has a story on the political aftermath of the abduction and killing of an 11-year-old girl on the Eastern Shore.  Advocates and lawmakers are calling for stronger penalties for sex offenses.

Hallelujah,” declares an editorial in The (Annapolis) Capital, referring to the passage of an Anne Arundel County law that allows slots at Arundel Mills Mall.

The head of the Cordish Cos., the casino’s developer, had some strong words in The Washington Post’s Maryland blog for critics who say the facility won’t open in 2011 as the company has promised.

Senate President Mike Miller says the state’s implementation of slots has been a disappointment, according to Rob Lang at WBAL Radio, who also has an audio piece in which Miller says he wouldn’t object to Cordish owning more than one slots license. Such a move would require a legal change.

Sean Sedam at The Gazette has an advance on the Jan. 8 sale of Laurel Park and Pimlico horse tracks.

John Wagner at the Post interviews Gov. Martin O’Malley about his recent focus on job creation. O’Malley says the effort is more than election rhetoric.

The decade/year in review season rolls on with a comprehensive piece by Jill Rosen in The Sun. Among the topics: the election of Republican Bob Ehrlich as Governor, redevelopment in Baltimore, and the city’s transition from an industrial economy to an educational and health care market.

Here’s The Sun’s top 10 stories of the year, with links to other Sun year in review pieces.

Dan Morse and Matt Zapotoski write in The Post that Montgomery and Prince George’s counties were looking for more federal help than the $2 million they got to help combat cross-border gangs. The two jurisdictions are also unsure how they’ll split the cash.

A Post editorial takes aim at the Maryland liquor industry’s continued ban on direct shipment of wine to homes.

As of Wednesday, nobody had applied yet to fill Del. Rick Weldon’s seat after he leaves to work for Frederick city, according to Sherry Greenfield at The Gazette.

The Red Maryland blog is writing a lot about this story, and has a piece on some of the issues facing the Republican party as it looks for a successor to Weldon (he was elected from the GOP but dropped his affiliation while in office).

Erin Cunningham at The Gazette writes that early retirement programs for local governments looking to downsize their workforces have proven costly.

The Sun’s editorial page is calling for the state to make the funding of services for the developmentally disabled a top priority.

Maryland farmers are worried about a federal vow to crack down on Chesapeake Bay cleanup, arguing that new regulations could add even more unpredictability to their trade, Margie Hyslop writes in The Gazette.

Many election officials and county officials now oppose the expensive purchase of new paper-reading voting machines, especially after the merger of the two major competitors, Alan Brody reports in detail in The Gazette.

Former Del. George Owings is set to announce his political plans, which likely include a run for governor, Brody also reports in The Gazette. Owings was a Democratic lawmaker before serving as Ehrlich’s veterans secretary.

The Yiddish program at the University of Maryland is being threatened by budget reductions, Matthew Hay Brown reports in The Sun.

The Capital has coverage of the death of former delegate and secretary of state Lorraine Sheehan, a longtime advocate for the rights of the developmentally disabled.

Sen. Anthony Muse, D-Prince George’s, is proposing legislation that would require a judge to approve police use of SWAT teams ahead of time, writes Alan Suderman of the Washington Examiner. A SWAT team raid on the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights caused controversy this year.

Michael Sanderson in the MACo blog alerts us to a New York Times piece from Saturday showing how states like Maryland that are generous with Medicaid may suffer under the health reform bill passed by the Senate.

About 22 percent of the General Assembly is made up of attorneys, reports Marc Korman at Maryland Politics Watch. That’s less than Virginia or U.S. Congress.

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