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Governor Signs Bills Nixing State Song, Enabling Sports Betting

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Senate President Bill Ferguson, Gov. Larry Hogan and House Speaker Adrienne Jones deliver remarks at the start of Tuesday's bill signing.

Gov. Larry Hogan signed 226 bills into law Tuesday afternoon, including bills repealing the state song and allowing sports betting in Maryland.

At the ceremonial bill signing with the legislative leaders, Hogan called the state song “a relic of the Confederacy that is clearly outdated and out of touch.”

The lyrics to “Maryland, My Maryland” come from an 1861 poem by James Ryder Randall that celebrates the Confederacy. The General Assembly made it the state song in 1939, at the height of the Jim Crow era. The legislature considered many proposals to replace the state song over the last several years, but none succeeded. The bill signed by Hogan repeals the song but does not replace it.

Among the other bills Hogan highlighted in his opening remarks was the “Jordan McNair Safe and Fair Play Act.” Named for a University of Maryland football player who died of heatstroke in 2018, the bill creates new health and safety rules for student athletes. It also allows student athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name and image.

One bill signed Tuesday extends pandemic-era rules allowing bars and restaurants to offer carry-out and delivery of alcohol. Another creates a framework for sports betting after voters opted to legalize it during the last election.

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