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Published on July 27th, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, July 27, 2012

SPECIAL SESSION ANNOUNCEMENT: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s press office is alerting State House reporters that an announcement concerning an expected special session of the General Assembly to deal with the issue of expanded gambling will come today, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Gov. O’Malley had been eyeing a Thursday announcement but ran into scheduling difficulties with Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch and State Senate President Mike Miller, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

MGM DROPS TAX BREAK EFFORT: The chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International, which wants to open a luxury casino at National Harbor, says his company has dropped efforts to win tax breaks from the General Assembly to build a gambling palace at the Prince George’s County site, reports Michael Dresser at the Sun.

MARYLAND CALLED SLEAZY: Meanwhile, an executive with Penn National Gaming accused Maryland officials of running a “sleazy process” as they consider whether to allow a new casino in Prince George’s County. Penn operates one casino in Maryland, in Cecil County, and has been vying to build another at Rosecroft Raceway, reports John Wagner of the Post.

GAMBLING ELSEWHERE: Maryland isn’t the only state that has been grappling with the issue of expanded gambling lately, and it’s not the first to see plans for a major facility stall in the legislature, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette. This year, states including Illinois, Michigan, Rhode Island and New York considered some form a gambling expansion, and protracted debates and false starts are common, experts say.

CONCEAL & CARRY: State experts on gun laws and county law enforcement officials have varied views on a court order that will make it easier for Maryland residents to carry handguns in public, Courtney Pomeroy writes in the Frederick News Post.

HOGAN’S FUDGE: From 2007 through 2009, the recent year for which data is available, Maryland’s net migration improved over the previous year, writes Steve Lebowitz of the Daily Kos. O’Malley’s tenure has seen a sharp reversal after his predecessor, Gov. Bob Ehrlich, racked up the deepest net loss of Maryland taxpayers since interstate migration data has been available. It’s also a surprise to anyone listening to former Ehrlich aide Larry Hogan.

O’MALLEY’S PAC: The Sun’s Michael Dresser and Luke Broadwater follow up on stories yesterday that O’Malley created a national PAC, which gives the governor a federal political vehicle for spending on races at both the national and state level.

Although O’Malley aides say the PAC was opened to raise money for voter referendums this fall on gay marriage and reduced tuition rates for illegal immigrants, the group also could aid the Democratic governor in forming the type of financial network necessary for a White House bid, reports Brian Hughes in the Washington Examiner.

BARTLETT ADS: Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, running for reelection in the now more Democratic Sixth District, casts himself as an “independent voice” in his first radio ad of the general election campaign, reports Matthew Hay Brown for the Sun.

Bartlett’s ad, which can be heard here, appears designed to appeal to Democrats and independents who may not know the 10-term incumbent, blogs Ben Pershing in the Post.

BROWN DUMPS DONATION: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is donating $17,000 in contributions his campaign received from a D.C. contractor now at the center of a fundraising scandal in Washington embroiling D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. CORRECTED: The move comes days after O’Malley donated $38,000 tied to Jeffrey Thompson, Jim McElhatton writes for the Washington Times Examiner.

MAYOR & MCDONOUGH AT ODDS AGAIN: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appearing this week in a commercial in support of a law that would grant in-state tuition rates to some illegal immigrants is drawing criticism from Del. Pat McDonough, Bryan Sears reports in Patch.com.

The Sun’s Alison Knezevich writes that McDonough said yesterday in a news release that, “The mayor’s ‘amnesty atmosphere’ is creating unfair competition for jobs and entrance into community college for the legal residents of Baltimore.”

TOLLIVER TAPPED: Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold named former Maryland State Police superintendent and once county police chief Larry Tolliver the new chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department effective July 31.

RIGHT TO RECORD: The Frederick Police Department and the Maryland State Police have policies addressing a citizen’s right to record officers at work, but, overall, such policies are scarce. Officers in other agencies receive some training about “the right to record,” but the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland asserts that is not enough, Cara Anthony reports in the Frederick News Post.

MANURE CLEANUP: Farmers are complaining that too much of the effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay are falling on them in regard to manure from their livestock, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on Pat McDonough; Chick-fil-A; Sally Ride; MoCo Council; Bill Frick and Brian Frosh; Nicolee Ambrose; and transportation funding.

ACCOUNT ERRORS AT DHCD: State auditors have found that the Department of Housing and Community Development filed reports on escrow accounts six months late and $194,000 that was supposed to go to the agency was sent elsewhere without efforts to recover it, writes Dana Amihere for MarylandReporter.com.

MENTALLY ILL WITH GUNS: Montgomery County police have seized guns in 25 psychiatric cases this year, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette.

DEAD VOTERS: A Maryland group says it has found evidence of ballots cast at polling places in the state long after the voters were listed as deceased, but has not decided what to do with the information, The Gazette’s Benjamin Ford reports.

SURGE RESERVE: The editorial board for the Gazette writes that state Sens. Brian Frosh and Jim Rosapepe have proposed an intriguing notion – a reserve of retired power and public safety workers who would help in case of another major power outage. While Pepco balks, the idea still should be taken seriously.

POWER SOLUTIONS: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar writes that in this political season, it’s easy pickings for candidates to attack Pepco and BGE for the sustained power outages, but that addressing unexpected forces of nature such as a derecho will take more in emergency planning than simple solutions

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