- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2009



O'Malley to submit Preakness legislation

An official in the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, said the governor will submit emergency legislation aimed at keeping the Preakness Stakes horse race in Maryland.

The administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the measure has not been introduced, said the emergency legislation could be submitted as soon as Wednesday. Another source in the General Assembly also confirmed plans for the measure.

The administration official said the measure aims to expand the state's eminent domain authority to preserve the state's options to keep the second leg of the Triple Crown in Maryland.

The fate of the race that has been held in Baltimore for more than 100 years has run into uncertainties because of the bankruptcy filings of the race's current owner, Magna Entertainment Corp.

On Tuesday, the state Senate approved legislation to increase the percent of slot machine money for racing purses from 85 percent to 89 percent.

The Senate had approved a similar House bill Tuesday, so the House bill now goes to Mr. O'Malley.

Under Maryland law, up to $100 million in slot machine proceeds will be dedicated to horse racing, once slots become operational.

The increase would mean a loss of money to the horse breeding industry, however, from 15 percent to 11 percent.


Porn policies to be required

A panel of Maryland lawmakers decided Tuesday to require public colleges to submit policies for the showing of pornographic films.

The requirement is included in language in legislation containing the state budget. It does not spell out funding consequences if colleges show pornography, but it requires colleges to submit policies by Sept. 1.

The action was prompted by plans to show a pornographic movie at the University of Maryland at College Park on Saturday, which was canceled. Students watched a shortened version in a classroom Monday night.


PG Council rejects soccer stadium plan

A D.C. United spokesman said the soccer team will look beyond Prince George's County for a new stadium location after County Council members approved a letter opposing an effort to study the project.

State lawmakers from Prince George's said county council members there voted 8-0 Tuesday afternoon to send a letter opposing a bill that would allow the Maryland Stadium Authority to study whether to build the new stadium inside their county. County Council spokeswoman Karen Campbell did not return repeated phone calls.

United spokesman Doug Hicks said the team will “continue conversations with other jurisdictions regarding a future home” for the team.


Tax break backed for gay partners

The Maryland Senate endorsed exempting gay domestic partners who co-own homes from state inheritance taxes.

The Senate voted 28-19 Tuesday to approve a bill that would add same-sex domestic partners to the list of family members who can inherit homes without paying taxes on that property. The exemption would apply only to the couple's primary residence and the property must be jointly owned.

There is no state inheritance tax on property passing to spouses, children, parents, grandparents, stepchildren or stepparents and siblings under current Maryland law. Others pay a 10 percent tax on the property's value.

Opponents argue it brings Maryland closer to gay marriage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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