State Roundup, February 23, 2012

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE: After debate on the bill started on the Senate floor on Wednesday morning, a proposed amendment from Sen. Ed Reilly caused the bill to be delayed for a day, writes Justin Snow of

Bryan Sears of writes that the debate is expected to pick up on Thursday morning.

The Diamondback’s Jim Bach goes over why amending the bill could spell its doom.

CASINO FIGHT IN PRINCE GEORGE’S: The Maryland senator whose district includes National Harbor on Wednesday blasted a plan to steer a billion-dollar casino there, saying the move smacked of the kind of “backroom deals” that Prince George’s County needs to move beyond, writes John Wagner of the Washington Post.

John Rydell of WBFF has a video report on Wednesday’s hearing.

REDISTRICTING: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s redistricting plan will quietly become law on Friday, but Republicans and black groups have promised to challenge it in court, reports Daniel Menefee of

Sen. Jim Brochin talks to WYPR’s Joel McCord about problems he has with the way his district has been redrawn and legislation he is proposing to change the process in the future.

5TH DISTRICT: Rep. Steny Hoyer and Del. Anthony O’Donnell are the only 5th District Congressional primary candidates with significant funds, and are already running as if they are facing each other, reports Capital News Service’s Mark Miller in The St. Mary’s Enterprise.

PENSION SHIFT: Del. Norman Conaway, head of the House Appropriations Committee, said the possibility of shifting part of the public school pensions to the counties as proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley is “still in play,” reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser.

ULMAN RALLIES: More than a dozen Howard County leaders joined County Executive Ken Ulman at a public hearing on Tuesday night, urging Howard County members of the General Assembly not to shift part of the teacher pension costs to the counties, reports Lindsey McPherson of the Columbia Flier.

MARYLAND DELAYS VOTE ON TRAVEL PLAZA CONTRACT: The Maryland Board of Public Works voted on Wednesday to delay awarding a $56 million contract to Areas USA for the redevelopment of the state’s two travel plazas, writes Jack Lambert of the Washington Business Journal.

The delay came in the face of a lawsuit between two companies vying for the contract to refurbish and operate two travel plazas on I-95, reports WBAL’s Robert Lang.

USM BUDGET QUESTIONS: Administrators from the University System of Maryland complained that a proposed cut to the central system office budget actually means that budgets of the state’s 12 public universities are being cut, reports Justin Snow from

DEATH PENALTY: A group supporting abolishing the death penalty rallied Wednesday in Annapolis, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser. Advocates believe they have enough votes to get rid of the death penalty everywhere except the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

NEW MEDICAID COMPUTER: The Board of Public Works unanimously approved a $297 million contract for a new computer system to run the state’s Medicaid program, reports Megan Poinski of

WIND FARMS: The rate increase would not kick in until construction begins on offshore wind turbines, which is expected no sooner than 2017, if O’Malley’s Offshore Wind Energy Act passes, writes Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner.

WJZ’S Pat Warren reports in a video that a coalition of college students have also thrown their support behind Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal for wind energy.

GUN BILLS: Duane Keenan filed a podcast for about testimony for several bills dealing with gun permits.

DISABILITY ADVOCATES PRAISE FUNDING PLAN: Yesterday the activists found themselves in the unfamiliar situation of thanking Gov. Martin O’Malley and telling him to keep up the good work, writes Erin Cox of the Capital.

DISCRIMINATION PROBE: The federal government is looking into potential discriminatory hiring practices in Baltimore County’s police and fire departments, reports Bryan Sears of

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