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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009:


Unlikely alliance vows to upend Arundel slots
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Anne Arundel slots.jpg"An unlikely coalition of anti-slots activists and Maryland horsemen vowed Tuesday to collect enough signatures to force a public vote on the new zoning law that allows construction of the state's largest casino at Arundel Mills mall," writes The Post's John Wagner. "The groups' mobilization followed Monday night's long-delayed passage of a zoning bill by the Anne Arundel County Council. ... Like other Maryland jurisdictions, Anne Arundel allows residents to challenge legislation through a ballot drive. If the opponents collect about 19,000 signatures, the zoning law will be suspended pending next year's election."

In related news:

  • Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) on Tuesday signed the zoning legislation allowing the casino.

  • Developer David Cordish tells the Baltimore Business Journal's Daniel Sernovitz and Ryan Sharrow that he expects the casino to be up and running by fall 2011.

  • The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz and Laura Smitherman report Cordish filed papers Tuesday to begin the permitting process to construct the casino.

  • Laurel Park.jpg
  • Post sports columnist Andrew Beyer predicts the Anne Arundel vote could be the death knell for Laurel Park.
  • Snow cleanup piles on Md. budget mess
    "Maryland's budget for highway snow removal is in the red after a round-the-clock effort to clean up after last weekend's blizzard, state officials said Tuesday. The State Highway Administration has spent $27 million since last month for snow removal. It had budgeted $26 million for the entire winter," writes The Post's Aaron Davis. "During the height of the storm Saturday, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) activated the Maryland National Guard and pledged that the state's response would not be hindered by recent budget cuts. ... The $27 million in storm spending by Maryland transportation agencies does not include the cost of activating the National Guard, or replenishing supplies of salt and other equipment to get ready for the next storm."

    "Barry from D.C." ... and "Martin from Annapolis"

    Obama Xmas.jpg"Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) fielded calls for the last time on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" program Tuesday morning, including one with a familiar voice identified by host Mark Seagrave as "Barry from D.C. -- that would be President Barack Obama, calling in to congratulate his pick for chairman of the Democratic National Committee as he concludes his four years as governor," writes The Post's Rosalind Helderman. O'Malley, or "Martin from Annapolis," also called in to thank Kaine for his environmental work.

    Montgomery to share major new funding for base consolidation
    Thumbnail image for Van Hollen.jpg"Montgomery and Fairfax counties are due for a $300 million boost in federal funding to help cope with the downside -- traffic, traffic and more traffic -- of federal base consolidations that will also bring thousands of jobs to the region. In a deal crafted by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), prodded along by Maryland Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D), and pushed through a House-Senate defense appropriations conference committee by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), the two counties will divvy up the windfall to help pay for traffic improvements, public transit and expanded pedestrian access," writes The Post's Miranda Spivack.

    Record numbers of inmates working behind bars
    The state prison systems' entrepreneurial arm, Maryland Correctional Enterprises, produces dormitory mattresses, work stations or restored furnishings for the 5,000-bed campus and other government buildings in the state, reports The AP, in an inside look at the work unit at the 3,300-inmate, medium security prison in Westover. "By last year's figures, the $7.2 million industry employs a record 2,000 skilled inmates -- 220 of them at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover -- in furniture restoration and textiles jobs designed to train them and build a work ethic for a productive life on the outside."

    Briefly:
    Thumbnail image for Mike Miller mug.jpg

  • Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) has pre-filed a bill to fulfill the state's requirement to confirm language in Maryland's constitution. It's one of more than 70 bills filed so far in the House and nearly 100 in the Senate. The General Assembly convenes Jan. 13.

  • Thumbnail image for O'Malley mug.jpg
  • O'Malley signals he may be "open to the idea of making it easier for companies to hawk residential electric deals," writes The Sun's Jay Hancock.

  • Critics call for closure of girls' juvenile detention center in Laurel, writes Christopher Matthews for Capital News Service.

  • The companies planning to build a high-voltage transmission line through Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia have asked to temporarily withdraw their application in Virginia for technical reasons, writes The Post's Kafia Hosh. The transmission line, known as PATH, is a 765,000-volt line that would stretch for 275 miles from a substation near St. Albans, W.Va., to a proposed substation near Kemptown, Md.

  • Happy Holidays from The Post's Maryland Politics team. First Click will return next week (news permitting), and in January with new features. Throughout the quiet holiday period, keep up with The Post's state politics news on Facebook or on Twitter.

    By Aaron C. Davis  |  December 23, 2009; 4:26 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Snow clean up piles onto Maryland budget mess
    Next: Cardin, Mikulski: aye on health care

    Comments

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Next year can be better than last if we all work on it together.

    Posted by: VikingRider | December 23, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

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