State Roundup: $389M plan for racetracks

State Roundup: $389M plan for racetracks

Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore is the home of the Preakness. (Photo from the Executive Office of the Governor.)

LAWMAKERS PONDER RACETRACK FUNDING: Baltimore politicians and neighborhood leaders joined representatives from the company that owns the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park thoroughbred tracks to make a pitch to state lawmakers Tuesday for a $389 million aid package that would revamp both racetracks and keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports. They faced little negative feedback to their plan, which is expected to advance in the General Assembly.

  • Wood outlines the key elements of the $389 million plan.
  • The bills, crafted during months of intense negotiations last year, are intended to revitalize Pimlico, storied home of the Preakness Stakes, and Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County, the state’s more lucrative track, Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters reports.
  • In a video for WBAL-TV, Dave Collins reports on the details of the plan, including that it will keep the Preakness in Baltimore.
  • Mark Roper of WMAR-TV reports that Laurel Park would be worked on first, with Pimlico renovated by 2024.
  • Passing the bill would allow the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown to stay in Baltimore, enable economic development of the Park Heights community surrounding the track and make Laurel the day-to-day center of thoroughbred horse racing in Maryland, Holden Wilen reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.
  • Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who sponsored the bill in that chamber, framed the legislation as a missing piece in the Maryland horse racing industry’s rally from the brink. In order to maintain that momentum, she said, investment is needed in the roughly century-old facilities at Laurel Park and Pimlico, Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE BILL BEFORE HOUSE PANEL: Legislation to create a paid family leave insurance fund that would allow workers up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement should they need to take a leave for personal or familial reasons was brought before the House Economic Matters Committee Monday, Hannah Gaskill of Maryland Matters reports.

BILL WOULD RECTIFY HBCU FUND IMBALANCE: Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, testifying Tuesday in support of her legislation that would provide $577 million to the state’s four historically black colleges and universities, said long-running litigation over equitable funding for the institutions has gone on long enough, Tim Curtis reports in the Daily Record.

SENATE MAY VOTE TODAY ON HAIRSTYLE BIAS BILL: The Senate could vote as early as today on bills that would ease the standard for proving a hate crime and expand Maryland civil rights law’s definition of “race” to include ethnic hairstyles, Steve Lash reports for the Daily Record.

PHASE-OUT OF COAL POWER: Bipartisanship was on full display Tuesday as Maryland lawmakers and environmental advocates came together to support legislation that would phase out the burning of coal at the state’s six coal-fired power plants and provide money to take care of workers who would be affected by the transition, Bryan Renbaum reports in MarylandReporter.

  • Bryan Sears of the Daily Record writes that Sen. Chris West, R-Baltimore and sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, acknowledged the impact of the bill on the industry: “It establishes a carbon dioxide emissions standard for all six remaining coal-burning electrical generating facilities in Maryland that is so low that none of them will be able to qualify.”

HEMP FARM NEIGHBORS TAKE COMPLAINT TO ANNAPOLIS: A handful of Baltimore County residents who live near an industrial hemp farm and have for months complained of odors and questioned the possible health risks brought their concerns to Annapolis, arguing before House lawmakers Tuesday for action on the matter, Cody Boteler of the Sun reports.

CANNABIS MARKET GENERATES $21.7M IN TAX: The businesses that manufacture and distribute medical cannabis products in Maryland have helped create more than 4,000 jobs and generate $21.7 million in tax revenue for the state, Morgan Eichensehr reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

ON SENATE FLOOR, BE LIKE MIKE: Bruce DePuyt of Maryland Matters writes about how Senate president emeritus Mike Miller is handling his new and unfamiliar role on the floor of the chamber he presided over for 30 years. He is managing with the aplomb he always expected of the senators.

STATE RETAINS TRIPLE-A RATING: The nation’s three major bond agencies — S&P Global Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings — reaffirmed Maryland’s coveted AAA bond rating in advance of an upcoming sale of up to $800 million in general obligation bonds, Joanna Sullivan of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

B’MORE MAYOR’S RACE: Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott will begin airing TV ads Wednesday, part of a media campaign that blends his personal story with a promise to build a “better Baltimore” if elected mayor, Talia Richman of the Sun reports.

  • Expressing solidarity with an East Baltimore woman who lost her family house to a city demolition in 2018, Baltimore mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah pledged Tuesday that if elected he’ll protect other senior citizens from losing their properties, Hallie Miller writes in the Sun.

MO CO MANDATES LANDLORDS PROVIDE AC: In Maryland’s largest jurisdiction – Montgomery County – it will soon be mandatory for most landlords to provide air conditioning to tenants, Rebecca Tan reports for the Post

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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