November 20, 2012

State Roundup, November 20, 2012

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CASINO PAYDAY: Now that the governor’s proposal to expand gambling in Maryland has passed at the ballot box, some state senators and delegates who backed the controversial measure are looking to collect, reports Annie Linskey for the Sun.

FLAT LIQUOR SALES: Liquor sales in Maryland have stagnated in the past year, showing almost no growth since 2011, a change the industry attributes to an increased alcohol tax driving Marylanders to cross state lines in search of cheaper booze, CNS’s Rachael Pacella writes in the Capital-Gazette.

TOURISM DOLLARS UP: Visitors to Maryland spent more than $14.3 billion in 2011, the most since 2008, when visitors spent $14.5 billion. The Maryland Office of Tourism Development announced these and other numbers during the Maryland Annual Tourism & Travel Summit in Cambridge, reports Lindsay Robbins in the Gazette.

DISABILITIES AUDIT: Sam Smith of MarylandReporter.com writes that auditors have found that the Maryland Department of Disabilities is not consistently providing timely annual eligibility reevaluations to beneficiaries of its $1.2 million Attendant Care Program, which reimburses personal attendant services for 157 individuals with severe physical disabilities, auditors found.

SUPPORTING AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Maryland voters are supportive of health care reform even though some still haven’t grasped all the details, a new survey has found, Andrea Walker reports in the Sun.

More than half of Howard County voters polled in the survey also support the Affordable Care Act, although only 30% say they know “a lot” about what is in it, writes Blair Ames of the Columbia Flier.

FIX THE DEBT: A bi-partisan group called “Fix the Debt” has been set up to urge members of Congress to “compromise” and come up with “a grand bargain” that will avoid driving over the “fiscal cliff” of massive tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled for Jan. 1, Len Lazarick reports in MarylandReporter.com.

READY FOR WINTER: State highway crews have an answer to whatever winter brings our way this year: a snow-chewing, salt-spewing monster truck capable of plowing two full lanes at once, Candy Thomson writes in the Sun.

GARAGIOLA TODAY: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland talks with the man who was supposed to have gotten the chance to beat U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, state Sen. Rob Garagiola, about his primary loss to John Delaney, his personal life and his future.

VOTING MACHINE RECORDS SOUGHT: Republican Kenneth Timmerman filed a request to obtain voting machine records after losing in the 8th Congressional District race to U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who received 63% of the vote to Timmerman’s 33%, writes C. Benjamin Ford of the Gazette. Timmerman filed the request to obtain electronic voting machine records to clarify procedures to prevent tampering.

BROWN AHEAD: Maryland’s 2014 statewide races are ramping up, writes David Moon of Maryland Juice, and so far no office is more hotly contested than the Free State’s gubernatorial election. Juice received a copy of internal polling results from a source within Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s campaign, and they purport to reveal that Brown starts the race with a clear lead.

ABSENTEE VOTE: Frederick County’s absentee and provisional voters broke with the bulk of the local electorate by favoring President Barack Obama and in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants. However, reports Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News-Post, these 7,531 ballots didn’t cause any upsets Friday after election officials counted the last votes and added up the final 2012 totals.

GRASSO APOLOGIZES: In the wake of an accusation he “accosted” a voter, Anne Arundel County Councilman John Grasso on Monday apologized to people who watched him “draw a line in the sand,” reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

HIRING LOOPHOLE IN PG: Prince George’s County is attempting to close a local hiring loophole to strengthen last year’s rules for those wishing to do business with the county, writes Matt Connolly for the Washington Examiner. If the measure passes in today’s County Council meeting, companies with a county contract will have to submit an explanation whenever they cut a county-based subcontractor.