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The End Of Steelmaking At Sparrows Point, The Growing Push To Repeal Maryland's Death Penalty, and The 2014 Gubernatorial Race
December 14, 2012
"A century of steel-making as we know it has come to an end." So said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, after yesterday's news that historic Sparrows Point Steel Mill will not only stay closed -- but that its assets will be liquidated and its buildings demolished. Sparrows Point was once the largest steel mill in the world, employing more than 30-thousand people at its peak. But the American steel industry has declined in recent decades, and when the plant was mostly shut down this summer, about 2-thousand workers lost their jobs. County Executive Kamenetz says that officials "do not have hope" that the steelmaking jobs will ever come back. Governor Martin O'Malley says that the state is working with the local Steelworkers Union to help former Sparrows Point employees transition to new jobs (via our wire service; more here from the Baltimore Sun and here from the Essex Patch; and more here and here from the Baltimore Business Journal).
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori is urging Governor Martin O'Malley to advocate for a repeal of Maryland's death penalty in the upcoming General Assembly session. So is NAACP President Ben Jealous, who met with the Governor yesterday to make a similar call. In 2009, O'Malley led a push to eliminate capital punishment in Maryland, but wasn't able to get the bill through the State Senate. The NAACP is hoping to find enough lawmakers to back repeal before next year's legislative session begins -- and Jealous will meet with State Senate President Mike Miller next week in support in hopes of getting him to agree to get repeal legislation a vote on the floor. Miller has, in the past, supported the death penalty (with reporting from WYPR's Karen Hosler; more here and here from the Baltimore Sun).
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith talks to The Sun's Andy Greene about Peter Franchot's announcement that he will not run for Governor in 2014.
Maryland's Board of Revenue Estimates has upgraded its estimate for how many tax dollars the state will collect during the current fiscal year. Yesterday, the Board projected that Maryland will bring in just over $15-billion in revenue in FY-2013. That's $127-million more than the Board had estimated just three months ago -- representing an increase of 5 and a half percent (via the Baltimore Business Journal).
Maryland's highest court has agreed to decide what should happen to the House of Delegates seat formerly held by Tiffany Alston of Prince George's County. Oral arguments are set for January 4th... just five days before the 2013 General Assembly session is slated to start (via the Washington Post).
Maryland casinos are now allowed to stay open around-the-clock. The state Lottery and Gaming Control Commission yesterday unanimously approved a request for 24-hour gambling at all of the state's casinos. The Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills mall begins 24/7 operations on December 27th; the state's other two operational casinos will only go 24/7 on the weekends, until after table games will be allowed at their facilties, sometime spring of next year (via our wire service, the Baltimore Business Journal, and the Daily Record).
Amtrak says it will replace the fleet of high-speed Acela Express trains that run between Washington, DC and Boston with brand-new trains utilizing next-generation technology (via our wire service and the Philadelphia Enquirer).
In sports news this morning: the Ravens play against the Denver Broncos this weekend; the game's at M&T Bank Stadium here in Baltimore, and starts at 1 o'clock on Sunday afternoon. It's a battle of division leaders, with Baltimore leading the AFC North at 9-and-4 and Denver atop the AFC West at 10-and-3.
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