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State Roundup: Wednesday, Dec. 1

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From MarylandReporter.com:

RACING'S NEXT STEP State officials and the horse-racing industry vowed yesterday to try to salvage live thoroughbred racing in Maryland next year, though it remains unclear if the various stakeholders can come together to forge a viable plan, Hanah Cho of the Sun reports.

Nick Sohr of the Daily Record also reports that Penn National Gaming Inc. said it will continue to work with its corporate partner to develop a plan for Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in 2011.

Meanwhile, Liz Farmer of the Washington Examiner reports that a key Maryland horse racing adviser said that, with the Preakness Stakes is in jeopardy, Gov. Martin O'Malley should consider seizing the state's racetracks to salvage the beleaguered industry.

House Speaker Michael Busch said if the Preakness were in danger of being moved out of state, the state indeed could seize Pimlico and Laurel Park through eminent domain, Christian Schaffer reports for WMAR-TV.

The state's horsemen also believe there are ways to save Maryland's racing industry, Dave Collins of WBAL-TV reports.

O'MALLEY MAY LEAD Gov. O'Malley is expected to be chosen by his colleagues today as the next chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a position that should boost his national profile, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

As chairman, O'Malley could fatten his list of donors with names from other states, deepen relationships with a network of emerging Democratic leaders and recruit new faces to the party. It would also afford an opportunity to install loyal staffers in key national positions, reports Annie Linskey of the Sun.

ORIENTATION John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports that the incoming class of 30 new state delegates and 10 state senators is already facing a sobering number -- a budget deficit of more than $1.6 billion.

The Post's John Wagner reports that Senate President Mike Miller used the orientation session to put in a plug for raising Maryland's gas tax.

YOUTH DETENTION The plight of the state's juvenile justice system is addressed during the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-Radio as three people talk about the proposed youth detention center in Baltimore and what other solutions they envision for incarcerated youth.

JOHNSON OUT & ABOUT Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson, rarely seen in public since his Nov. 12 arrest on witness-tampering and destruction of evidence charges, dedicated a new 911 call center Tuesday. His office put out a news release praising Johnson's efforts to get the center built, and included some remarks that Johnson was said to have delivered at the event.

But top county public safety officials had been told the event was canceled. Same for reporters, writes Miranda Spivack of the Washington Post.

Ginny Terhune writes the story for the Gazette.

NOT GUILTY PLEA Maria Glod of the Post reports that the husband-and-wife owners of a Langley Park liquor store who are linked to a sweeping corruption probe in Prince George's County pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court, and the wife was released on home detention as she awaits trial.

TAKE OFFICE Incoming Prince George's Council member Karen Toles has broken her silence over the arrest of Leslie Johnson, wife of County Executive Jack Johnson and newly elected to the council, and apparently is willing to allow Leslie Johnson to be sworn in Monday, blogs Miranda Spivack of the Post.

BA CO AS LEADER Comptroller Peter Franchot tells Baltimore County business leaders that the county is in a position of leadership to guide the way toward better economic times, Steve Schuster reports for the Towson Times.

NEW SNOWDEN SENTENCE? Saying the recent granting of probation before judgment for a drunken-driving charge was an illegal sentence, a special prosecutor is asking an Anne Arundel County judge for a new sentence for Carl Snowden, the director of the civil rights office of the Maryland Attorney General's Office. The Sun's Andrea Siegel reports the story.

WINE TIMES In an op-ed column, Marta Mossburg writes that it is time that Maryland ignore the influential liquor lobby and let Marylanders buy the wine they want, how they want.

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