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Category: Legislation & Regulation

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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Horse Forum A Success

They came. They saw. And they talked. And they talked and they talked and they are still talking! On Thursday, August 6, 2009, close to 300 leaders in the Maryland equestrian community gathered to discuss the state of the industry. They were joined by Governor Martin O’Malley, who likewise talked and talked, talking well beyond the time slot into which his “people” had scheduled him, but delighting the crowd, with whom he engaged in an extended Q&A session. Watch for final reports on equiery.com and in The Equiery! Governor O’Malley’s speech: 090806horseforum Photos from the Governor’s office THE BEST ARTICLE SO FAR ON THE FORUM: O’Malley slams Anne Arundel County for slots inaction – LIZ FARMER OTHER RECOMMENDED READING The Gazette – story 1 The Gazette – story 2 News 8 The Baltimore Sun WJZ.com The Washington Post Hometown Annapolis...

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Slots Update

Remember how, back in the waning days of winter, the Laurel Racing Association (a division under track owner Magna) literally filed its bid for slots at the 11th hour, sans the $28.5 million dollar filing fee? And remember when the Video Lottery Facility Location Commission spun the bid because Laurel didn’t follow the filing rules? And remember how Laurel argued that, because the law was not clear as to whether or not they would get their fee returned if they lost their bid, it was acceptable that they did not file the fee? And remember how the commission essentially said, “malarkey?” So Laurel sued? And the Anne Arundel Circuit Court rejected their argument? So, Laurel appealed? Well, today, according to Daily Record, the Court of Appeals essentially said that both Laurel and the Anne Arundel Circuit Court jumped the gun, and that the case should have first gone to the State Board of Contract Appeals before it went to any other court, and that Laurel has to wait until the Commission makes its final ruling before they can challenge the bidding process. Recommended Reading Link: The Daily Record July 7: Cecil County Going For Slots According to the examiner.com, Perryville’s mayor and town commissioners have approved the preliminary site plan for a slots casino on a 30-acre parcel off Route 222 in Cecil County near Interstate 95. Town planners...

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Maryland Legislative Winners and Losers

by Nancy Hill (Sections of this article were first printed in the May issue of The Equiery.) The 2009 General Assembly session has come to an end.  The total number of bills introduced was 2,654 (1,073 in the Senate and 1,581 in the House of Delegates).  Every month it seems I write about the fact that the State of Maryland manages to spend more money than it takes in.  This month is no exception.   Our legislators adopted an annual operating budget of nearly $14 billion.  Although this amount balances the state’s current budget, it does not address the long-term budget deficit. Other big issues of this session were: The death penalty.  Currently, Maryland’s death penalty statute is among the most restrictive in the country but with the new law prosecutors will only be able to seek the death penalty if they have DNA or biological evidence, a videotape of the crime, or a video-recorded confession by the killer. The environment.  Maryland is now one of the few states that pledges to reduce its climate-warming greenhouse gases. Driver’s licenses.  Maryland will now require drivers to present a Social Security card or other proof that they are in the country legally to get a license.  Maryland has been one of only four states that didn’t require proof that someone is in the U.S. legally. Electricity.  The state will now partially...

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