November 8, 2012

State Roundup, November 8, 2012

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TWO UNPRECEDENTED ACTS: John Wagner and Aaron Davis of the Post report that by the time the polls closed Tuesday, Maryland voters had done something unprecedented — twice. They narrowly approved one ballot measure allowing same-sex marriage and gave broad approval to another that extends in-state college tuition rates to some illegal immigrants.

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks writes that Maryland’s vote for both measures “runs counter to history, political science and human nature — a majority of citizens upholding laws that benefit distinct minorities. I think a little more attention must be paid to this. I find it extraordinary.”

WEDDING BELLS: All across Maryland, committed same-sex couples have begun planning their weddings, report Julie Scharper and Jill Rosen of the Sun.

Gay and lesbian couples can begin marrying in Maryland as early as Jan. 4, after 52% of state voters approved of same-sex marriage on Election Day, writes Rachel Baye for the Washington Examiner.

The victory in Maryland — together with a similar one on the same day in Maine — shows for the first time in America that the public as a whole can side with the principle of equality. For once, voters didn’t channel the reflexive, anti-gay prejudice that still lingers in our society, columnist Robert McCartney writes in the Post.

Starting in January, Maryland courts can begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. As a major advocate for allowing same-sex marriage, Ravens Pro Bowl special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo is overjoyed that the state of Maryland has now made it legal, writes Aaron Wilson in the Sun. “I’m so stoked,” Ayanbadejo said. “It’s like I woke up and it was Christmas.”

YOU BETCHA, NOW HIRING: A day after voters approved an expansion of gambling in Maryland, David Cordish, developer of the Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills, the state’s largest casino, said it would hire 1,200 new employees for table games – even as the ballot question’s leading opponent suggested that it will turn to the courts, report Michael Dresser, Chris Korman and Alison Knezevich for the Sun.

Maryland casinos are preparing for the addition of table games and 24-hour operation after state voters approved an expansion of gambling 52% to 48%, writes Matt Connolly for the Washington Examiner. Both table games and round-the-clock operation can start immediately, pending the completion of government regulations — expected to come in early 2013.

REVENUE DROP: Revenues at Maryland Live! fell below $1 million a day last month, the first time earnings have dropped below the threshold since the Hanover casino opened five months ago, the Capital-Gazette’s Tim Prudente reports.

PETITION SIGNERS: The Sun reports that, in Maryland, residents are entitled to view the names of the people who sign petitions challenging state and local laws, but the matter of when they become public record depends on where you are.

DELANEY-BARTLETT TRANSITION: The House of Representatives moves fast, said Lisa Wright, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s press secretary for about 18 of his 20 years in Congress, writes Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Members who lost in Tuesday’s election — Bartlett was one — will have two weeks to pack up their Capitol Hill offices, and complicating the departure will be a “lame-duck” session of Congress that starts Tuesday, Nov. 13.

While many say the re-election of Rep. Chris Van Hollen in the 8th District and the election of businessman John Delaney in the 6th were a foregone conclusion under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s redistricting map, Tuesday was the start of a new era of representation in Frederick County, writes Danielle Gaines in the Frederick News-Post.

The AP’s David Dishneau, writing in the Cumberland Times-News, reports that Delaney emphasized his pursuit of political togetherness yesterday by invoking both Republican Abraham Lincoln and Democrat Bill Clinton as leaders he hopes to emulate while representing Maryland’s 6th District.

THE LONG VIEW: For the eighth presidential election in a row, Professor Allan Lichtman has beaten the pundits and the pollsters, and accurately predicted the winner of the popular vote not just months but years in advance, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

CHALLENGE TO STATE MAP: In a Maryland Court of Appeals hearing Wednesday, opponents of Maryland’s newly redrawn state legislative map claimed that the state is violating a provision of the state Constitution by crossing county boundaries for unnecessary, partisan purposes when creating senatorial districts, writes Sam Smith of MarylandReporter.com.

Lawyers for the state defended Maryland’s new General Assembly districts Wednesday, telling Maryland’s highest judges that while the map may not please everyone, it’s legal and proper, reports Andrea Siegel for the Sun. “Somebody can always draw a better map. That’s not the issue,” Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman told the Court of Appeals.

LEGAL FEES IN ARUNDEL: Anne Arundel County employees ensnared in lawsuits won’t have to worry about paying their own legal fees — yet, anyway. County Councilman Jamie Benoit on Monday night pulled a bill that would have made employees whose behavior spurred a lawsuit pay the legal tab but intends to revisit it, writes Allison Bourg in the Capital-Gazette.

FREDERICK APPROVES CHARTER: Frederick County voters have approved charter government with 62% of the vote, writes Ryan Marshall for the Gazette. The change won’t take place til 2014.

The charter calls for a seven-member county council and an executive to run the day-to-day operations. Five of the council members will serve in districts and two will be at-large representatives, reports Pete McCarthy in the Frederick News-Post.