State Roundup, Aug. 2, 2012

August 02, 2012 at 8:06 am

HOUSE ON GAMBLING: House Speaker Michael Busch signaled yesterday that his chamber intends to put its own stamp on gambling legislation it will advance during a special session that starts next week, writes the Post’s John Wagner.

MILLER URGES FRUGALITY: Maryland Senate President Mike Miller is planning a quick start for next week’s special session to expand gambling, and is urging senators to drive home in the evenings to save money if they don’t live too far away, writes the AP’s Brian Witte in the Salisbury Daily Times.

CORDISH STILL OPPOSES PG VENUE: The Cordish Cos., owner of the Maryland Live! casino in Anne Arundel County, reasserted its opposition to a new gambling venue in Prince George’s County, a day after circulating a list of concessions the company would seek if such a facility were authorized, blogs John Wagner in the Post.

Opinionators at the Baltimore Sun opine that the Cordish Cos.’ concession demands underscore the likelihood that the rush to expand gambling in Maryland in a special legislative session will amount to an effort to balance the competing interests of casino owners and developers, not a deliberative exercise in determining what is in the best interests of the state.

LAWMAKERS ANGERED: And Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner is reporting that Maryland lawmakers are angry that the Cordish Cos. is demanding a host of favorable conditions in legislation that would authorize an expansion of gambling in the state.

CITY GAMING DEAL: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took her case for cutting a deal that will bring table games to a planned downtown casino to the city’s House delegation last night, telling lawmakers the legislation expected to be considered in a special session next week will put the cash-strapped jurisdiction on the path to increased revenue, reports the Sun’s Michael Dresser.

But she also is cautioning state lawmakers from Baltimore City against going too far in leveraging their votes on an expanded gambling plan during next week’s special session, blogs John Wagner in the Post. Several have floated the idea of tying their votes to separate legislation that would increase the city’s borrowing authority for school construction projects.

HOW THE CHIPS FALL: With the approval of the Harrah’s Baltimore casino earlier this week and the possible approval of table games during a special session, James Bach of the Baltimore Business Journal sees how it stacks up against other local venues and nearby competitors.

UPBEAT ON BOND SALE: The Board of Public Works approved the sale of more than $700 million in general obligation bonds yesterday at historic low interest rates of about 2.16%, writes Dana Amihere for MarylandReporter.com. Maryland keeping its highest possible bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch’s Ratings was conducive to the competitive rates achieved in this bond sale.

CLIMATE CHANGE: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that policies to change building codes in flood plains and on shorelines, construct offshore wind turbines and manage suburban sprawl could gain political traction, officials hope, as recent extreme weather renews a conversation on climate change in Maryland and nationally.

YOUNG MAKES WAVES: Marylanders won’t elect a new governor for more than two years, but Blaine Young — the sometimes combative president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners — has already started to attract attention on the Republican side of the race, Ryan Marshall reports for the Gazette.

FORMER SEN. CORDERMAN DIES: John Corderman, a former Washington County Circuit judge and Maryland state senator, died Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. He was 70, writes Don Aines of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

CARDIN AG RUN? It appears that Del. Jon Cardin from the Baltimore region is hosting four separate fund-raisers in one month — three in Maryland and one in Chicago, writes David Moon of Maryland Juice. A source indicates that Cardin’s sudden surge in fundraising activity, including from out-of-state, is a good sign that he is moving forward with a potential run for Attorney General in 2014.

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