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From MarylandReporter.com:

RACING PLAN REJECTED The Maryland Racing Commission has rejected the Maryland Jockey Club's latest plan for horse racing in 2011, leaving in doubt next year's Preakness Stakes and again raising the notion that someone else should run Laurel and Pimlico racetracks, reports Daniel Sernovitz for the Baltimore Business Journal.

It also means the racetrack at Laurel Park could close its doors Jan. 1, unless a last-minute deal is reached between the horsemen and the Maryland Jockey Club, writes the Sun's Hanah Cho.

Sun photog Amy Davis got some good shots at the hearing.

The commission unanimously sided with Maryland's horse owners and breeders -- hundreds of whom attended the commission's four-hour hearing and voting session, Hayley Peterson reports the Washington Examiner.

And it left the door open for the Jockey Club to submit another proposal for racing in 2011, Nick Sohr reports for the Daily Record.In his video report, Christian Schaffer of WMAR-TV reports that Gov. Martin O'Malley says it may be time for the state to step in.

TEACHER PENSIONS The political tug of war over teacher pension costs is escalating, as Howard County Executive Ken Ulman asked state legislators to put the burden of any shift of those payments from the state to local governments directly on the county school board, writes Larry Carson of the Sun. The Sun's Andy Rosen blogs about Ulman's request that the state not shift payments to the locals and asks, "What if he can't get the General Assembly to go along?"

And Marta Mossburg writes in an op-ed for the Frederick News Post that as the state wrestles with ways to pay for state employee pensions and health care, legislators with a state or local government pension from their day jobs must recuse themselves from voting on the issue. She also names names.

DEFICIT CUT Legislative leaders took a new approach to setting budget targets yesterday, telling the governor and lawmakers that they want to see the persistent $2 billion structural deficit cut by a third next year, meaning a $670 million real reduction in general fund spending, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

POPULATION UP Despite its population growing 9%, the number of Maryland's seats in Congress will remain at eight, according to new 2010 apportionment counts from the U.S. Census, the BBJ reports.

Maryland maintained its ranking as the nation's 19th-most-populous state, thanks in large part to a fast growing Hispanic population and more federal jobs, Yeganeh June Torbati reports for the Sun.

A nifty Census Bureau map shows the population changes state-by-state.

And the Sun offers a summary of other changes in Maryland in pictures.

SHALE DRILLING In a Sun op-ed, Del. Heather Mizeur says Maryland needs to take a close look at regulating the drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale, which is potentially hazardous for the ground water supply.

WINE DIRECT A new report by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot's office supports allowing in-state and out-of-state wineries to ship wine directly to buyers, the BBJ's Joanna Sullivan reports.

The Sun's Scott Calvert writes that the report offered a detailed look at how 37 states and the District of Columbia have drafted and implemented laws permitting direct shipment of alcoholic beverages.

WBAL-TV's Lowell Melser has a video report.

JOBS REPORT Mark Newgent of Red Maryland does a follow-up on last summer's job-growth report that was altered by state officials, suggesting that top officials in the governor's office were involved.

SNOWDEN ON PBJ Carl Snowden, the civil rights director for the Maryland Attorney General's Office, will fight to keep his second probation before judgment on drunken driving charges, despite the fact that recent law makes two PBJs in 10 years illegal, writes Scott Daugherty for the Annapolis Capital.

JOHNSON LOSES PRIVILEGE The Prince George's County Council has stripped newly elected member Leslie Johnson of a privilege that allows county lawmakers to shepherd development projects through the political process. Johnson was arrested last month after federal agents overheard her husband, then-county executive Jack Johnson, on a wiretap telling her to flush a $100,000 check from a developer down the toilet, Ovetta Wiggins reports for the Post.

COMPUTER USE The General Assembly's Legislative Policy Committee passed language informing staff and legislators that their use of the General Assembly's computers could be monitored, blogs MarylandReporter.com's Len Lazarick.

ETHICS REPEAL PULLED The Frederick County Commissioners have pulled a proposed repeal of a land-use ethics ordinance from their legislative package, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post.

WINKLER TO LOBBY County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has hired Yolanda Winkler to be the county's new director of legislative affairs and top lobbyist, writes Brian Sears of Patch.com.

The Sun's Raven Hill reports that Winkler has more than two decades of local and state legislative experience.

LANDERS MULLS BID Jody Landers, vice president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and a former Baltimore City Council member, is contemplating a run for Baltimore city mayor, Julie Scharper blogs for the Sun.

LIQUOR BOARD ANSWERS Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Worcester County Liquor Control Board presented a financial report and answered questions in the wake of an eight-month investigation by the Maryland Comptroller's Office that found some board customers received irregular discounts on wine and spirits.


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