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Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, May 25, 2012

NO TO 2nd SPECIAL SESSION: Maryland House Republicans announced their opposition yesterday to holding a special session on a gambling expansion, saying the issue needs to be considered in a “more deliberative and thoughtful fashion, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

The editorial board for the Frederick News Post agrees: The state’s lawmakers should forgo a second special session set for July and leave the debate over expanding gambling until 2013, when the Maryland General Assembly is formally set to convene once again.

And the Daily Record editorial board writes that while the legislature is being called back to discuss gambling, the more urgent needs – transportation issues – go unaddressed.

GAMING COMMISSION: A work group appointed by the governor will convene next week to study the issue of expanded gaming in the state, but some critics say their conclusions, and another General Assembly special session, already may be a done deal, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette.

YES TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A new poll shows widespread support for Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, and that includes support in Western Maryland, according to the Cumberland Times-News. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for Marylanders for Marriage Equality and has an overall margin of error of +/-3.4%.

The nation’s changing views on same-sex marriage and new support from black leaders could put Maryland on track toward becoming the first state to cast a public vote in favor of gay marriage, according to the poll, writes David Hill of the Washington Times.

In the Sun, Annie Linskey reports that the automated poll finds that 57% of Marylanders would support same-sex marriage at the ballot box and 37% would oppose it, by far the most optimistic survey on the issue.

Matthew Bieniek of the Cumberland Times-News reports that supporters of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law plan a July rally in downtown Cumberland.

POLITICAL CORRUPTION: In an op-ed for the Sun, Douglas Schmidt writes that for the past three years, Maryland has experienced an unprecedented crime wave of political corruption. The offenders have been high-ranking elected officials, and the offenses have involved a level of hubris and ethical depravity that are shocking by any standard.

DEFERING SMART METERS: Utility customers who oppose smart meters can defer installation of the new digital, wireless devices until state energy regulators make a final decision on whether ratepayers can opt out of the utility program, Hanah Cho reports in the Sun.

WBAL-TV displays a color-coded BGE map indicating when areas are designated to get smart meters.

FRANCHOT ON TAXES: Comptroller Peter Franchot continues to be a vocal critic of Gov. O’Malley’s tax increases. At the YMCA of the Chesapeake, he said the tax increases were “the wrong approach at the wrong time,” Simon Kelly reports in the Chestertown Spy.

SEPTIC LAW & CONSTRUCTION: In some counties, reports Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com, homebuilders and developers are scrambling to get perc tests down by July 1 so they can be grandfathered in under the new law that restricts use of septic systems for major subdivisions in Maryland. He reports on a state meeting yesterday that attracted a slew of local planning officials concerned with process.

DR. DEL. DAN ON DYING: Del. Dan Morhaim, a medical doctor, appears on The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-FM to discuss his latest release, a book on death called “The Better End: Surviving (and Dying) On Your Own Terms in Today’s Modern Medical World.”

VIVA LAS VEGAS: Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes about the four-day International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, which draws Maryland’s elected officials – from larger jurisdictions and the state.

NEW LT. GOV. FUNDING WEBSITE: In a pair of e-mails — one Wednesday, another yesterday morning — Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced the launch of AnthonyBrown.com, a fundraising website that he says will help Marylanders better communicate with and understand Gov. Martin O’Malley’s No. 2 man, blogs Alexander Pyles for The Daily Record. Of course, Brown is thought of as a leading candidate for governor in 2014.

NORQUIST ON LOCAL ELECTIONS: Grover Norquist, the man Democrats blame for partisan gridlock in Washington, brought his conservative message to Queen Anne’s County Republicans last night and praised the party for emphasizing electing officials at the local level as a way to counter Maryland’s Democratic leanings.

O’MALLEY & GINGRICH: John Wagner blogs in the Post that Gov. Martin O’Malley is booked to square off Sunday against former GOP presidential contender and former Speaker of he House Newt Gingrich on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

HARRIS’ MAIL COSTS: Although U.S. Rep. Andy Harris vowed to cut spending on his franking privileges, but has not, the editorial board of the Salisbury Daily Times opines that Harris has done better than most freshman members.

BOATING WOES: High gas prices, less discretionary income and the prospect of rising fees as the Department of Natural Resources looks for ways to cover a multimillion-dollar deficit next year have boaters and anglers feeling the pinch, writes Margie Hyslop in the Gazette.

O’MALLEY ON NATIONAL STAGE: With strong fundraising numbers and numerous national media appearances under his belt, The Gazette’s Daniel Leaderman writes that Martin O’Malley is using his second term as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association to generate support and build relationships with contributors across the country.

SUBWAY SAFETY: Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation, joined by colleagues from around the region, asked leaders of a conference committee Thursday to support the creation of federal subway safety standards, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette.

HORSE RACING: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar writes about the importance of horse racing to Maryland’s economy and farmland preservation.

REDISTRICTING: Republicans are having a tough time getting enough signatures on a petition to bring to referendum the congressional redistricting plan passed by the legislature, Len Lazarick writes in MarylandReporter.com

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