September 27, 2012

State Roundup, September 27, 2012

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LABOR & MARRIAGE EQUALITY: With a historic referendum on marriage equality on the state ballot in November, Maryland labor unions are organizing in support of gay marriage and may even provide the margin for victory in a close race, writes Bruce Vail of In These Times.

HIGH STAKES FIGHT: For the casino giants trying to persuade Marylanders to vote for or against more gambling here, the long-term stakes could be in the billions, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

MOCO VETS WANTS SLOTS: Advocates from Montgomery County veterans organizations — the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars — are lobbying the county’s House delegation to change its mind on gambling machines for veterans posts, writes Sam Smith of MarylandReporter.com. The veterans want the delegation to include the county in the state’s gambling expansion that allows up to five pull-tab video lottery terminals in veterans halls in other areas of the state.

SPLIT ON GAMBLING: Matt Connolly of the Washington Examiner reports on the recent Gonzales Research poll that found that Maryland voters are split over an expansion of gambling in the state, but most support same-sex marriage and the Dream Act.

FOR OBAMA, CARDIN: David Hill of the Washington Times writes the poll also show that Maryland voters appear to be strongly behind President Obama and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.

SOBHANI 2nd PLACE TIE: Matthew Hay Brown of the Sun writes that Rob Sobhani, the Montgomery County businessman who announced an independent run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Ben Cardin and challenger Dan Bongino only this month, has leapt to a statistical tie for second place in the race, according to the poll.

SOBHANI TWEETS: Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland reports about Sobhani and tweets with the candidate about policy.

EARLY VOTING: The editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times opines that early voting is no magic bullet, but it has potential to entice inactive voters to the polls, given time. It’s not, however, the only step needed. Simplification of the registration process and increased access to absentee ballots might also help.

RABIES DAY: The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene joins partners in Maryland and around the world in the sixth annual recognition of Friday Sept. 28 as World Rabies Day, a worldwide event to raise awareness about the effect of rabies in humans and animals, according to the Easton Star-Democrat.

JOB PREDICTIONS: If Congress allows the country to fall over the “fiscal cliff” in January, Maryland government would take a relatively modest direct hit, but the impact could be more dire for private-sector jobs and the tax revenue they generate for the state, blogs John Wagner in the Post. That’s the assessment of a new memo prepared by the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The federal budget sequester could reduce Maryland’s wage and salary base by about $2.5 billion and cut more than 12,600 jobs in a state that has more than double the number of federal jobs than the national average, according to an AP story in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

THIRD PARTIES: Emilie Eastman of the Capital Gazette reports on third-party candidates running for Congress. They represent the Libertarian and Green parties and don’t believe votes are wasted on them.

YOUNG CAMPAIGNS: Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young has racked up hundreds of miles and raised thousands of dollars in the first few months of his gubernatorial campaign. And he says he’s far from finished. Now he has a rented mobile home to take him around the state, writes Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News-Post.

LEOPOLD’S LEGAL BILLS: Alison Bourg of the Capital Gazette reports that private counsel for Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold in one of two federal discrimination cases has cost the county nearly $22,000 so far.

WBFF also reports on the Leopold legal situation.