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Published on June 11th, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, June 11, 2012

EGALITARIAN HOSPITAL DEAL THREATENED: Andrea Walker of the Sun reports that for 35 years, Maryland has enjoyed a unique exemption from the federal government that allowed it to regulate hospital rates so that patients are charged the same no matter where they seek care. But that egalitarian system faces an unprecedented challenge.

GANSLER FIGHTS DNA RULING: A Court of Appeals ruling has held that a common police practice — collecting DNA when a suspect is arrested and matching it to samples taken in unsolved cases — was an unconstitutional search. But law enforcement officials are fighting back, defending the program, and noting that it has led to 34 convictions. Attorney General Doug Gansler has pledged to seek an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Yvonne Wenger reports in the Sun.

MONITORING THE BAY: To better monitor the Chesapeake Bay and reduce poaching, the state Department of Natural Resources is moving toward enhanced and increased surveillance, adding the Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network, which will consist of camera and radar units, writes Earl Holland for the Salisbury Daily Times.

EXPANDING GAMBLING: David Hill of the Washington Times writes that a consulting firm will present its findings tomorrow on the potential impact of expanded gambling in Maryland as lawmakers continue to discuss possible legislation to add table games and a sixth casino in the state.

Prince George’s County officials want a piece of Maryland Live’s profitable gamblers, sparking a feud between it and Anne Arundel County as Prince George’s officials try to convince a state panel to expand Maryland’s casinos and gambling options beyond those approved by voters in 2008, Ben Giles reports for the Washington Examiner.

CASINO TRAFFIC PREDICTION COMES TRUE: Before the opening of the Maryland Live! Casino, the former chairman of the group that tried to block zoning for the casino in a 2010 referendum warned that there would be massive traffic problems. His predictions have come true, Sara Blumberg writes for the Capital-Gazette.

Myranda Stephens of WBFF-TV reports that concerns over increased traffic from the casino have been an issue from the very beginning, and that was one of the reasons why people voted against the referendum.

GAY ACTIVISTS RALLY: With same-sex marriage opponents successful in their drive to force a public vote in Maryland, about 100 people gathered in Hagerstown on Saturday to talk about the other side of the issue. The rally was organized by Hagerstown Hopes, a group formed about two years ago, reports Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

BUMPER PAD BAN: Maryland health officials continued their push to become the first state to ban the sale of bumper pads that line the inside of baby cribs, introducing proposed language Friday for regulations that could go into effect next year, Andrea Walker writes in the Sun.

Doctors say crib bumpers could turn it into a death trap, reports Gigi Barnett for WJZ-TV.

LICENSING BURDEN: Maryland has the 10th “most-burdensome” occupational licensing laws in the nation and is the 14th “most extensively and onerously licensed state,” according to a national study, License to Work, published in May by the Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based civil liberties organization, Donald Fry writes in Center Maryland.

WADE INTO THE PATUXENT: Former state Sen. Bernie Fowler held his 25th annual wade-in on the banks of the Patuxent River in St. Leonard yesterday, to test the clearness of the river.

ALSTON CASE HITS JURY: The theft case against Del. Tiffany Alston is expected to go an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury today after closing arguments, John Wagner of the Post blogs.

DELANEY PICNIC: More than 130 people attended a picnic hosted yesterday afternoon by 6th congressional district candidate John Delaney, who is running against incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, Julie Greene writes in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

‘BETTER WEEKS’ FOR DEMS: John Wagner blogs in the Post that during an appearance on “Face the Nation” yesterday, in which he assessed the fallout of the Wisconsin recall election, Gov. O’Malley acknowledged that Democrats have “had better weeks.”

ROVE BOOSTS MD GOP: Earl Kelly of the Capital-Gazette writes that Republican political strategist Karl Rove came to Maryland Saturday, and his message was clear: Republicans can wrestle control of the state away from the Democrats, if they will stay focused and work hard.

HISPANIC SUMMIT: The White House will host its first Hispanic summit, at Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County on June 16 to discuss various policy issues, such as the economy and health care.

VOTER FRAUD OR SUPPRESSION: Left and right disagree on whether efforts to require ID cards and other restrictions on voting amount to legitimate efforts to eliminate voter fraud or are really aimed at voter suppression based on a problem that doesn’t exist, Len Lazarick writes in MarylandReporter.com.

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