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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Monday, October 26, 2009:

O'Malley begins state match for stimulus money
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning is scheduled to travel to Laurel for "Capital for a Day." At a meeting with Prince George's police, sheriff and other public-safety officials, he's expected to announce the first grants to help outfit 112 new police officers funded through federal stimulus money. This summer, O'Malley promised the state would chip in up to $10,000 per officer to cover new uniforms, Kevlar, and other equipment so local governments wouldn't shoulder any new costs to get the officers on the street. The announcement comes as state and local lawmakers continue to meet weekly in Annapolis over local funding issues, and as O'Malley has stripped county governments of 90 percent of local transportation funds to help close the state's budget gap.

Advocates begin town-hall meetings on "crisis" for state's disabled
A coalition of Maryland non-profits and other groups that work with the state's disabled will hold a town-hall meeting tonight in Severna Park to raise awareness of the plight of the state's disabled, which have experienced cuts in care in many areas of the state under funding cuts approved by O'Malley. The town hall meetings began Thursday advocates have launched the series as they begin to lobby for the legislature to consider a new 5-cent tax on alcohol to restore funding for the developmentally disabled.

O'Malley steps into Arundel slots issue
In an interview with The Post, O'Malley says he "will not be angry" if a local zoning decision sinks the state's largest proposed slots casino at Arundel Mills mall. Until last week, O'Malley had been careful to avoid taking a public position on a county zoning bill governing the site of the proposed construction. Nearby homeowners strongly oppose putting slots at the mall.
"I've tried to respect [the council's] prerogative," O'Malley said Friday. "But I've never made any secret about my belief that we'd be best off keeping slots at the tracks. I think they all know that."

The Capital's Liam Farrell revisits the fateful moments in the state slots debate two years ago that began to germinate the Arundel Mills controvery.

Back-and-forth between O'Malley, EPA on chicken farms
"A broadcast remark by the Obama administration's point person on the Chesapeake Bay about strengthening federal controls on farm pollution has triggered some high-level diplomacy between Annapolis and Washington," writes The Baltimore Sun's Timothy B. Wheeler. "Pressed by Lower Eastern Shore politicians who contend that "stringent" federal regulations are driving the poultry industry from the state, O'Malley has exchanged letters and conferred by phone with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, seeking "clarification" about whether Maryland's chicken farmers face the prospect of tougher regulation than growers elsewhere."

The Sun's editorial page also weighs in saying education and public safety can no longer be "sacred cows" in the state budget as Maryland faces another $2 billion budget shortfall in the spending plan that begins next summer.

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  October 26, 2009; 7:25 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
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