State Roundup, June 1, 2012

REMAPPING CHALLENGE: The Sun’s Michael Dresser reports that opponents of the congressional redistricting plan devised by Gov. Martin O’Malley and General Assembly leaders say they have passed the first test for putting the measure on the November ballot by gathering enough voters’ signatures to keep the effort going.

GAMBLING EXPANSION: A state lawyer has advised Maryland lawmakers that they are on strong legal ground to expand the state’s gambling program over any objections of previously licensed casino owners, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman told a Prince George’s County lawmaker that the 2007 law in which the legislature permitted the issuance of five licenses to operate slot machine halls did not create any property right that would let one of those license holders successfully sue the state if the General Assembly were to authorize yet another site, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

GAMING TASK FORCE: Lawmakers and officials are set to start weighing the pros and cons of expanding gambling in the state Friday, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette. Although allowing the Las Vegas-style games may help draw more business to Maryland’s casinos, the state also will have to weigh the consequences of an increasingly crowded market and a potentially addictive product.

GAMBLING ADDICTION: Maryland law requires that slot machines give back a little each year to combat gambling addiction by charging operators a $475 fee for each machine, but some of those funds have been diverted to other programs, according to the Gazette’s Daniel Leaderman.

GAMBLING AND TRANSPORTATION: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar thinks new gambling revenue to aid transportation funding.

MARYLAND LIVE! You can take a photo tour of Maryland Live!, the casino opening June 6 in Anne Arundel County, thanks to a photo gallery in the Baltimore Business Journal. And Janice Park of WBFF-TV also reports on the opening and the recent state audit that found that Lottery officials lost money because it didn’t monitor broken slot machines well enough.

CLIMATE RISKS: Maryland’s treasurer is calling on companies to disclose risks their businesses face from climate change so investors, including government agencies, have a better sense of what to expect, Daniel Leaderman writes in the Gazette.

PIT BULLS: Karen Parks of WBFF-TV reports that some pit bull owners are giving up their dogs as they await the state legislature action on a Maryland court’s ruling that the animals are inherently dangerous.

SAVING FAMILY FARMS: The Family Farm Preservation Act signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley into law last week aims to protect the future of the family farming by substantially reducing death taxes on many smaller operations, Dana Amihere writes for

CLIMATE CHANGE & ECONOMY: Alexander Pyles blogs in the Daily Record that state Treasurer Nancy Kopp says that climate change negatively affects supply chains — reducing productivity and causing a rise in production costs — and ought to be a serious concern among businesses in Maryland. She was basing her concern on this report.

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING: In an op-ed in the Sun, Ronald Fraser writes that not all occupation licensing laws on the books in Annapolis protect Maryland consumers from harm. And many of these laws misuse state sanctions to protect existing businesses from unwanted competition. Now a new study can help Maryland lawmakers decide which of these laws serve the public and should stay — and which should go.

TUITION HIKE APPROVED: The Board of Regents for Maryland’s university system has approved a 3% tuition hike for most in-state students, according to an AP story in the Daily Record.

DEPARTMENT MOVE: John Rydell of WBFF-TV interviews Arundel County Del. Ron George over the state’s planned move of the Department of Housing from a state-owned facility to a rental one 30 miles away.

MD WATCHES NY ON SODA BAN: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed this week a first-of-its-kind ban on the sale of large-sized sodas and other sugary beverages at restaurants and other outlets. But at the moment, Maryland is taking a wait and see approach, writes Meredith Cohn for the Sun.

RGA BLASTS O’MALLEY: Gov. O’Malley is being greeted in Wisconsin, where he hopes to rally support for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in an effort to defeat Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election, with a new video from the Republican Governors Association that highlights his tax increases back home. It’s set to a blues tune, blogs John Wagner for the Post.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin used a roundtable discussion in Prince George’s County yesterday to call on House Republicans to pass the Senate version of a bill that would reauthorize hundreds of millions of dollars of spending on domestic abuse shelters and violence prevention programs, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

CARDIN, BONGINO MEET: Chestertown’s annual festival was one tea party Sen. Cardin did not want to miss, and neither did his challenger, Republican Daniel Bongino, Cardin, D-Md., and met Saturday at the Chestertown Tea Party, and shook hands in a pleasant exchange, Dan Divilio writes in the Easton Star-Democrat.

KRATOVIL ON CONGRESS: Capital-Gazette columnist Eric Hartley writes about what it is like for former U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil to be out of Congress but in judges chambers.

LAND-USE IN FREDERICK: The state continues to disagree with Frederick County’s decision to push forward with its land-use review, according to a letter from the Maryland Department of Planning, Pete McCarthy reports in the Frederick News-Post.

SENIOR CENTER: The construction of a proposed Washington County senior center again dominated the discussion at a meeting yesterday in Hagerstown, where Maryland Department of Aging Secretary Gloria Lawlah told those in attendance that they deserved a place to get information about their benefits and gather for fellowship, Dan Dearth reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

CALVERT FORUM: Concerns for local children and businesses dominated last night’s forum in which more than a dozen speakers from the community quizzed the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners on issues important to them, reports Meghan Russell of

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporter’s Notebook has items on Tiger Woods and new media; Guy Guzzone’s pizza party; patented voting booths; Nic Kipke’s puppy; and foreclosure dough.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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