September 13, 2012

State Roundup, September 13, 2012

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MORE SLOTS; MUM ON POLITICS: Representatives of the Cordish Cos. yesterday celebrated the opening of the rest of their casino’s massive gaming floor but stayed mum on plans for Maryland’s expanded gambling referendum, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

Officials unveiled 1,043 more slot machines and electronic table games, completing a $500 million casino that now ranks as the third-largest gaming destination in the country, writes Tim Prudente for the Capital-Gazette.

Cordish has not entered the advertising fray, reports Chris Korman in the Sun. Should Question 7 pass, Maryland Live! would pay a lower tax rate, a concession that has kept his company on the sidelines in the ad battle.

TOLL SCOFFLAWS: After Monday’s shocking revelation that the state was losing millions of dollars in unpaid E-ZPass tolls to repeat offenders – and not doing much about it, Maryland’s tolling agency is now investigating whether it can publicize the names of the worst toll scofflaws in a “Hall of Shame” and resume suspending the vehicle registrations of repeat offenders, reports Katherine Shaver of the post.

FARM BILL: With the U.S. Farm Bill of 2008 about to expire Sept. 30, advocates from Maryland and across the nation are pressuring Congress to quickly pass the 2012 bill that would end the subsidies for big corporate farms before Congress breaks for the election, writes Sam Smith for MarylandReporter.com. But Maryland lawmakers are not confident it will make that deadline.

SUING STATE OVER PIT BULL RULING: A resident at the low-income Armistead Gardens housing development is suing the state in federal court, asking judges to strike down a recent court ruling that pit bulls are inherently dangerous, writes Ian Duncan for the Sun.

GAY MARRIAGE & THE NFL: Baltimore Ravens football player Brendon Ayanbadejo is seeking to convert a recent attempt to silence him on same-sex marriage into more support for the cause, blogs John Wagner in the Post.

Melissa Block of NPR interviewed both Minnesota Vikings player Chris Kluwe and Ayanbadejo about their support of same-sex marriage and the changing views within the NFL.

David Moon at Maryland Juice offers a wrap up of some of same-sex marriage coverage.

FRACKING STUDY: Environmental groups are rallying to support legislation that would formally ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Maryland until studies are finished of the controversial drilling technique, reports Tim Wheeler in the Sun.

Writing an op-ed in the Sun in favor of studying the issue, Del. Heather Mizeur says that, armed with expensive lobbyists, the oil and gas industry is trying to make sure the state does not designate funding to carefully study the potential threats posed to Western Maryland and the rest of the state from fracking.

SCOOTER LAWS: Daniel Gross of the Gazette writes that College Park, where mopeds and scooters have become a popular means of transportation for some students, is making inroads into making sure that people are aware of the new helmet and insurance laws governing those vehicles.

STATE SURPLUS: The editorial board of the Washington Post writes that the latest reports on surpluses in both Maryland and Virginia are not all that they are cracked up to be.

LEOPOLD LAWYER ON LATEST: John Leopold’s new attorney attacked allegations that the Anne Arundel county executive’s administration destroyed documents and deployed spies, calling them irrelevant and meant only to harass him, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

IMMIGRATION AGREEMENT: Katherine Heerbrandt of the Gazette writes that Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is saying that Frederick County’s agreement with a federal agency to deport immigrants who are arrested and found to be in the country illegally is under review and may not be renewed in its entirety when it expires on Oct. 15.