May 22, 2012

State Roundup, May 22, 2012

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GAMBLING WORK GROUP: Gov. Martin O’Malley named an 11-member work group Monday night to study a possible expansion of gambling in Maryland and announced that if the group can reach consensus he would call a special session July 9 to vote on casino legislation, blogs Michael Dresser in the Sun.

John Wagner of the Post blogs that O’Malley named John Morton III, a business and financial services executive, as chairman of the group, which also includes four members of O’Malley’s staff and six legislators, three apiece picked by the leader of the House and Senate.

The session will likely address a bill that would expand gambling to table games like black-jack and poker, reports John Rydell for WBFF-TV.

CASINO OVERSATURATION: Casinos are not like Starbucks stores: You really can’t have one on every corner, according to David Cordish, whose company is opening the huge Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills next month. An AP report in the Capital-Gazette reports that Cordish was speaking to an organization of East Coast gaming companies.

SIGN SIGN SIGN: Joined by House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller, Gov. Martin O’Malley will hold a marathon ceremony today to sign hundreds of bills into law, including the two budget-related measures that died on the last day of the regular session, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Sherrie Johnson of WBAL-TV reports on today’s signing and offers this link to the entire list of bills.

DEVELOPMENT RESTRICTIONS IN QA: New environmental legislation signed into law May 2 by Gov. O’Malley restricts new major residential subdivision on the majority of land in Queen Anne’s County after Dec. 31, Shauna Thompson reports for the Easton Star-Democrat.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Federal, state and local law enforcement experts say access to major highways and the Internet are fueling the rise of human trafficking in Maryland. Kim Dacey of WBAL-TV reports on a seminar offered by the state that attempts to alert officials to the problem and combat it.

NAACP SUPPORT: Supporters and opponents of gay nuptials in Maryland are saying that the decision by the board of directors of the NAACP to endorse same-sex marriage will benefit their side of the issue, John Wagner writes in the Post.

Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette writes that local chapters will stand behind the NAACP’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, but the organization’s state president acknowledged the issue will remain divisive among blacks in Maryland.

Kathleen Cairns of WBFF-TV interviews Del. Emmett Burns who says the issue isn’t a civil rights issue. He adds that gays and lesbians want to make “as many children” gay and lesbian as possible.

PETITION REJECTION: The Maryland Court of Appeals has unanimously rejected an attempt by the Libertarian and Green parties to get their candidates back on the state ballot by petition, narrowly interpreting the high court’s own rulings on what constitutes valid petition signatures, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

PAT MCDONOUGH: Del. Pat McDonough, whose criticisms of Baltimore City’s crime rate and its “mobs of roving black youth” have drawn national attention, is now calling for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to resign. He’ll have a news conference today at 11 a.m., reports Sherrie Johnson for WBAL-TV.

McDonough was on Marc Steiner’s show on WEAA-FM yesterday with Kimberly Moffitt, assistant professor of American Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Anthony McCarthy.

O’MALLEY IN MAINE, TOO: On June 2, besides addressing Democrats in New Hampshire — home of the nation’s first presidential primaries — Gov. O’Malley is also scheduled to speak to Democrats in Maine, John Wagner writes in the Post.

GRADING SPEECH: A study suggesting that the sophistication of congressional floor speeches has declined by a full grade level since 2005 ranks Reps. Chris Van Hollen and John Sarbanes as the most eloquent — or verbose, depending on perspective — members of Maryland’s delegation to Washington, John Fritze writes in the Sun.

AA STRIPS CHIEF’S NAME: After approving an amendment specifically removing Police Chief James Teare’s name from the language, the Anne Arundel County Council passed a resolution last night commending the county police department — but not its chief — for decreasing crime in 2011, Kevin Rector reports in the Sun.

LACK OF VISION: Carroll County Times columnist Dean Minnich attacks what he sees as a fundamental short-coming in the current county commissioners: a lack of vision. People who like to stick to the basics, the fundamentals, the simple plans, don’t understand the need for a vision.

MoCo DIVERSITY: Center Maryland columnist Josh Kurtz writes about the need for more diversity in Montgomery County’s delegation to the General Assembly and Comptroller Peter Franchot’s audacity of nope.