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Ads On "Question 6" and "Question 7," Meningitis, Frederick County's Charter, and The Fast-Approaching Voter Registration Deadline
October 10, 2012
With less than four weeks to go before the election, more than $35-million have been spent on ads promoting and opposing "Question 7" -- the ballot measure that would expand Maryland's casino gambling program by allowing table games at casinos around the state and let a new casino go up in Prince George's county. And another $7-million have been earmarked for more ads. Most of the cash is coming from gambling interests -- including Caesars Entertainment (the company that owns a license for a casino in Baltimore), MGM Resorts (the company that wants to build a casino in Prince George's), and Penn National Gaming (the company that runs a casino in Charles Town West Virginia). Supporters of the gambling expansion say it would lead to new jobs and more money for education; critics say most of the jobs would have low salaries and note that there's no absolute guarantee that lawmakers wouldn't redirect gambling revenue from education to some other area (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post).
Another issue facing Maryland voters is same-sex marriage -- it will appear as "Question 6" on the November ballot. And over the last couple days, supporters and opponents of began airing some new TV ads. The ads from groups working to uphold Maryland's law legalizing same-sex marriage feature two high-profile African-American ministers from Baltimore City and Prince George's County -- they say the law is about "fairness" and note that it does note force churches to perform same-sex marriages if it's against their beliefs (via the Washington Post). A new ad opposing "Question 6" claims that children do best when raised within traditional heterosexual marriage; the Baltimore Sun notes that the studies cited in the ad do not actually directly address the issue.
Two unions in Frederick County are supporting a proposal to change the county's form of government. Yesterday, the leaders of the County's police union and firefighters union announced their backing of the ballot question that would replace Frederick County's Board of Commissioners with a County Executive and a seven-member County Council (via the Frederick News Post).
The voter registration deadline for the November election is fast approaching... it's less than a week away, Tuesday, October 16th. You can register to vote online via a link on the State Board of Elections' website. That's not the only website out there... University of Maryland students in College Park are also registering to vote online -- on a website managed by the university; the first of its kind in the country (via the Baltimore Sun). Meanwhile, a coalition of nearly 40 labor, civic and service organizations is setting a goal of registering 25-thousand new voters by the deadline. The coalition is targeting voters in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George's County and the First and Sixth Congressional Districts.
Another deadline is drawing near -- the filing deadline for people who received a tax-filing extension from the Internal Revenue Service. The deadline is Monday, October 16; the IRS is urging taxpayers to take advantage of electronic filing at irs.gov.
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith talks to The Baltimore Sun's Opinion Editor, Andy Green. They discuss the recent audit of Baltimore City schools and the range of deficiencies that were uncovered.
The number of fungal meningitis cases in Maryland linked to a steroid injection for back pain has risen to eight. So far, one Maryland resident has died after receiving the tainted injection, which was created by a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. That company has issued a voluntary recall of all its products (via our wire service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Baltimore Sun). A programming note: we'll have more on the meningitis outbreak this morning at 10, on the Diane Rehm Show.
Delegate Tiffany Alston is not going to trial on charges of misuse of campaign funds. Yesterday, the Prince George's County lawmaker worked out a deal with state prosecutors and pled guilty to misconduct in office (via our wire service, the Washington Post, and the Gazette).
A trial against Purdue Farms and an Eastern Shore couple who raise chickens over alleged pollution got underway yesterday in Baltimore federal court. Lawyers for each side presented completely different views of the case in opening arguments, with the plaintiffs claiming to have compelling evidence that chicken waste from the Hudson farms was ending up in ditches that flow to the Bay. The defense says that there's no evidence of pollution, and said that the case is pure speculation (via our wire service, the Daily Times, and the Baltimore Sun).
A new study from "The Tax Foundation" says Maryland has some of the highest taxes on businesses in the nation. The Foundation's "State Business Tax Climate Index" ranks Maryland 41st in the country when it comes to business taxes. The report lists Wyoming as the state with the best business tax climate, while New York is listed as the worst (via our wire service and the Baltimore Business Journal).
Maryland tied a temperature record earler this week. Monday's recorded high of 54 degrees at BWI marked the first October 8th with a high that low in 127 years (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
And in sports: The Orioles take on the New York Yankees tonight in Game Three of the American League Division Series. Both teams have won a single game so far in the best-of-five series. First pitch is set for this evening just after 7:30 p.m. in Yankee Stadium.
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