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Category: Legislation & Regulation

Heads Up Park & Trail Users: Hunting Legislation Heats Up

Parks, Trails & Sunday Hunting, 2010 In the March 2010 print edition of The Equiery we printed the following editorial regarding equestrians and multi-user parks, with a prompt to visit this blog (equiery.com News Feed) for the hunting-related legislative bills before the 2010 Maryland General Assembly. As of press time for the March issue, very little activity had taken place on these bills, but this and next week will be quite active, as the session has just entered its final four weeks. A list of the bills and their activity as of today, Monday, March 8 appears after the editorial. House hunting bills are heard in the Environmental Matters Committee; Senate bills are heard in the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee. For updates any time on legislation, visit Maryland General Assembly. Equiery Editorial Once upon a time, during hunting season, hunters were prohibited from hunting on Sundays. While this may originally have been tied-in to the now outdated “blue” laws (which prohibited everything from general retail to the specific selling of liquor on Sunday for religious reasons), it evolved into becoming a way for hunters to share public lands with other user groups during hunting season, so that the hikers, bikers, trail riders, foxhunters and more were not completely shut out of public property from September through the end of the hunting season. Approximately ten years ago (in...

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ALERT: Montgomery County in danger of losing County Equine/Ag Positions

According to a staff memorandum sent recently by County Economic Development Director Steve Silverman, at least three Montgomery County staff that assist the equestrian community and protect the environment are going to lose their jobs in June. In response to County Executive Leggett’s call for further budget reductions, Silverman will be proposing THIS FRIDAY (January 15, 2010) to the COUNTY COUNCIL to eliminate positions in the (already understaffed) Soil Conservation District (SCD) office (including the Equine Conservation Planner) and other related positions in the Agricultural Services office. These workers support horse farm owners and operators (and farmers generally) with conservation and environmental protection practices. Equestrian leaders in the Montgomery County are trying to rouse support from their fellow equestrians.   EPIC (Equestrian Partners in Conservation) has sent out the following plea: “It is critical that we stop Silverman’s proposal. Please write immediately to county councilmembers (and copy Silverman) today expressing your concern and demand that these positions – so important to the equestrian community, the agricultural community and the health of the Chesapeake Bay – remain intact. Just say ‘Whoa!’ to Silverman!” E-mail addresses for Montgomery County Council Members: councilmember.berliner@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.floreen@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.andrews@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.elrich@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.knapp@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.leventhal@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.navarro@montgomerycountymd.gov councilmember.trachtenberg@montgomerycountymd.gov...

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Slots OK’d for Arundel Mills and Laurel, But Not Both

Confused? Late Monday night, the Anne Arundel Council approved Bill 82-09, which changes the zoning regulations to allow Cordish Cos. to build the largest slots parlor in Maryland. The Council also approved Bill 81-09, which would allow slots at other locations in the County, but only if those sites are north of Rt. 32. This would include Laurel Park but not Arundel Mills. Now the final decision is left to County Executive John R. Leopold. He can chose to veto either bill and several sources, including The Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and The Daily Record, have all stated that Leopold will more than likely veto Bill 81-09, thus allowing Cordish to move forward with building near Arundel Mills. If Leopold decides in favor of Cordish, the group Stop Slots at Arundel Mills, told the press Monday night that they plan to launch a petition drive in hopes of creating a referendum that would be put on the Anne Arundel County general ballot this November. The group would need about 19,000 signatures and file the petition within 45 days of the bill becoming a law. So what does that mean for the future of slots at Maryland? Not really sure at this point. Send us your thoughts to editor@equiery.com or comment here on this blog. For more on this topic, read these articles: The Daily Record The Baltimore Sun The...

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Feed Fund = Your Money

The 2009 Maryland General Assembly passes legislation, which was then signed by the Governor into law, to increase the feed fund. Instead of collecting $2 per ton of feed sold (about a nickel per bag of feed sold), the State is now collecting $6 per ton of feed sold (about fifteen cents per bag of feed sold). This is on average about $6 per horse per year. This will increase the funding for the Maryland Horse Industry Board from about $75,000 per year to about $225,000 per year. The Maryland Horse Industry Board was created via legislation by the equestrian community for the specific purposes of promoting and growing the industry, and for supporting education and research. Ultimately, the feed fund is your money. So, The Equiery wants to know: how do you think MHIB should prioritize its projects? How should it spend its money? Click here to let us know what you think the money should be used for, or e-mail...

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Carts & Horses: which come first? Find out tonight!

Should Anne Arundel first vote to allow zoning for a slots casino, then Lottery Commission can decide if they are going to grant Cordish a slots liscense…or, should the Lottery Commission first decide whether or not they are going to grant Cordish the license, and then if so, the Council can decide about the zoning. Which is the cart, and which is the horse? If you are not busy tonight and you are interested in the fate of the Maryland Thoroughbred industry, the Anne Arundel County Council zoning hearing is THE place to be this evening. However, before the County Council hearing starts, all the buzz is sure to be about today’s late afternoon meeting of the Maryland State Lottery Commission, in which Commission is expected to vote on the Cordish Corp.’s request for approval for a slots casino near Arundel Mills Mall. Then, the real fun starts around 7 p.m., when busloads of horsemen descend on the Anne Arundel County Council Zoning Hearing, being held at 44 Calvert Street in Annapolis. Today’s zoning hearing will be a living illustration of the old saw “politics make for strange bedfellows,” as horsemen and slots foes alike will be protesting slots at Arundel Mills.  Meanwhile, there continue to be threats to table the zoning vote. If you are attending tonight’s protest, please send The Equiery your thoughts and photos, and we will...

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How Many Unwanted Horses Are There?

The Unwanted Horse Coalition Releases National Survey Results The findings from the Unwanted Horse Coalition’s (UHC) Study on Contributing Factors Surrounding the Unwanted Horse Issue are now available at www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org.  The study is the first of its kind to assess the causes and magnitude of the unwanted horse population in the United States. Results indicate that the problem of unwanted horses is perceived to be growing on many fronts. More than 90% of participants believe the number of unwanted horses, as well as those neglected and abused, is increasing. Almost all participants (87%) indicate that in the past year, the issue of unwanted horses has become “a big problem,” compared with only 22% who said the problem was important three years ago. Respondents also report that the number of horses being euthanized is increasing. In light of one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history, the economy is considered to be a significant contributor to the unwanted horse problem. The closing of the nation’s processing facilities, changes in breed demand/indiscriminate breeding, as well as the high costs of euthanasia and carcass disposal are also cited by respondents as major contributors. Regarding placement options for unwanted horses, 63% of equine rescue/retirement facilities polled report they are at near or full capacity and, on average, turn away 38% of the horses brought to them. Capacity is clearly the issue in that as...

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