September 25, 2012

State Roundup, September 25, 2012

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CASINO & PRINCE GEORGE’S: Some gambling opponents are hoping to block a sixth casino from being built in Maryland by focusing their energy in one place: Prince George’s County, reports Annie Linskey in the Sun. The county is a key battleground because of a provision in the new gambling law that says the state can build a casino in Prince George’s only if a majority of county voters support it in November — even if the referendum is approved statewide.

CONNECTIONS: Bryan Sears of writes about the relationship between a public relations firm, the politically well-connect Kearney O’Doherty Public Affairs, and companies with an interest in building a casino at National Harbor. Kearney O’Doherty is also behind the news aggregation site

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Pamela Wood of the Capital-Gazette writes a long piece on the same-sex marriage debate, outlining its history and a few of the arguments on both sides.

William E. Lori, the 16th archbishop of Baltimore, is scheduled to headline an event tomorrow organized by a coalition trying to keep Maryland from becoming the first state to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

Baltimore area pastors are jumping into the battle over same-sex marriage, some supporting it, others not. It is the latest in an intensifying campaign, one of four controversial items on the November ballot, writes the Sun’s Annie Linskey. Supporters and opponents of the new law have both purchased television time in October.

DREAM ACT: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland wonders if the DREAM Act will get lost amid all the other referendums and the elections.

CHANCE OF PASSAGE: Jim Bach of the Diamondback interviews professors at the University of Maryland on the possibility of Marylanders passing both the DREAM Act and same-sex marriage.

STUDENT VOTING: Amna Farooqi of the Diamondback interviews students at the University of Maryland to find out if they intend to vote and why or why not.

Jim Bach of the Diamondback writes about student voting and the potential for online voting, or at least using the Internet to make it easier to vote.

SCOOTER LAWS: Beginning Monday, mo-ped and scooter drivers in Maryland will be obligated to wear a helmet, as well as some kind of eye protection, reports Brian Shane for the Salisbury Daily Times. They also, for $20, will have to title their scooters through the state Motor Vehicle Administration, according to a new state law. And don’t forget the $5 decal that shows it’s registered. Both are available online.

PUBLIC INPUT ON FORMULA BAN: State health officials are asking for the public’s help in determining the potential risks of a ban on infant formula that contains a potentially hazardous chemical. The General Assembly in 2011 broadened a ban on bisphenol-A, a compound found in many plastics, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette.

PSC TO DECIDE SURCHARGE: The Maryland Public Service Commission is considering whether to leave a surcharge in place that allows utilities such as BGE to continue to collect money during the first 24 hours of a major storm power outage, writes Holly Nunn of the Gazette.

SPUTTERING ECONOMY: Larry Hogan and Jim Pettit of Change Maryland write, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, that federal government data show that Maryland’s economic engine is sputtering. Taxpayers, businesses and jobs are fleeing the state in greater proportion to other jurisdictions in the region.

MARYLAND NONPROFITS: Len Lazarick of interviews Greg Cantori, who takes over as president of Maryland Nonprofits next Monday at a time when nonprofit organizations and their clients – like many businesses in Maryland small and large – have been battered by the economy.

TAX REBATE: Millions in Frederick County taxpayer dollars headed homeward last week, an influx of money that could come in the nick of time for area nonprofits, reports Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post.