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Published on August 17th, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, August 17, 2012

PENSIONS: Governing magazine follows up on a report by two Maryland think tanks that said the state pension system should switch to index funds and save high investment management fees. The initial story on the report is behind a paywall at the Baltimore Business Journal. Here is a direct link to the study.

GAMING BUCKS TO POLS: When the legislature went to work on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gambling bill, one of the first provisions to be rolled back was a sweeping ban on political contributions from casino interests, report Michael Dresser and Annie Linskey of the Sun.

GAMING BUCKS TO ADS: The passage of gaming legislation this week is expected to open new floodgates for political spending in Maryland and prompt deep-pocketed special interests to pour millions of dollars into advertisements targeting voters, writes Tim Prudente for the Capital-Gazette.

ROSECROFT ON OFFENSE: Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner reports that state lawmakers are predicting that the owner of Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington is expected to be the biggest opponent of a Maryland ballot question that would allow a casino in Prince George’s County.

CITY CASINO: Caesars hopes to break ground on its casino in Baltimore City next year, reports John Rydell for WBFF-TV.

EKING OUT THE VOTES: After what had already been a torturous day of arm twisting and vote-counting, top lieutenants in the Maryland House of Delegates thought they had nailed down just enough support Tuesday to pass Gov. O’Malley’s expanded gambling plan. Then, about 8 p.m., writes John Wagner for the Post, came word that two delegates — both of whom pledged to vote for the bill — were gone.

GAMING OPINION: Gazette columnist Blair Lee examines what’s in the referendum bill for expanded gambling. And Barry Rascovar writes in his Gazette column that as much as Gov. Martin O’Malley wants to put the gambling issue behind him, it will be with him for the rest of his term.

WHAT MADE THEM DO IT? Did political donations from the gambling industry make them do it? asks columnist Robert McCartny in the Post. That’s the ugly question lingering in the wake of the Maryland government’s move Wednesday to significantly expand casino gambling in the state, assuming that voters okay the plan as expected in a November referendum.

COURT TAKES UP BALLOT INITIATIVES: Two ballot initiatives in Maryland hinge on whether the state’s highest court thinks the process of collecting voters’ signatures was too easily defrauded, writes Rachel Baye for the Washington Examiner. The Court of Appeals heard arguments in both cases yesterday and are expected to hand down opinions in the coming weeks.

Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter.com writes that the ruling from Maryland’s highest court on whether the congressional redistricting referendum will appear on the November ballot could come as early as this morning.

PEOPLE OF COLOR: People of Color Democratic organizer Karen Britto, writing for Maryland Juice, is claiming that a high-ranking Democratic elected official is warning a member of her group away from continued efforts to organize minorities to run for elected office.

ON TO FUNDRAISING: State elections law prohibits lawmakers from accepting campaign donations while the legislature is in session, as it was until just after midnight Wednesday. But following the adjournment of the legislature, delegates and senators can host whatever parties they like, writes Alexander Pyles for the Daily Record.

DEPORTATION REPRIEVE: Hundreds of illegal immigrants lined an alley wall in Southeast Baltimore last night, each with a dream in mind. One saw a medical career, another a life in fashion, reports Kevin Rector in the Sun. All said they were eager to take the first step toward their goals: filling out a federal application asking the government for a reprieve from deportation.

CARDIN TOUTS COMPROMISE: Kelley Allan writes that U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin told the editorial board of the Easton Star Democrat in a stop before heading to Ocean City for a Maryland Association of Counties conference that getting things done requires old-fashioned compromise and a more moderate U.S. House of Representatives.

BONGINO ON ELECTION: The Easton Star Democrat writes that this year’s election is not about taxes and not about health care, Cardin’s General Election opponent for the U.S. Senate, Dan Bongino, told a meet and greet crowd. “Maryland is our home,” he said. “It’s worth fighting for.”

ARUNDEL POLITICAL EVENTS: Allison Bourg of the Capital-Gazette rounds up all the upcoming political events in Anne Arundel County.

ACLU SEEKS MORE LEOPOLD FILES: Allison Bourg reports for the Capital Gazette that the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland is asking the county’s new police chief to turn over files officers might have compiled on more than a dozen people at the request of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.

QUIXOTIC CANDATES: Minor party candidates also run for president, including Tiffany Briscoe of Annapolis, writes Benjamin Ford in the Gazette.

CONSUMER RATINGS: More than 40% of the Maryland legislature got perfect scores in the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition’s ratings of their votes during the General Assembly’s regular session, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For some reason, the Gazette has not been putting Reporters Notebook online, at least by Friday morning, and other stories are missing as well. Guess you’ll need to buy the print edition.

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