Sports Outside the Beltway

Maryland Governor signs Pimlico legislation

This in order to save the track that hosts thoroughbred racing’s second leg of the Triple Crown, The Preakness Stakes. From the Daily Racing Form-

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday signed legislation giving the state the authority to purchase the Preakness Stakes and other Maryland horse racing assets of its bankrupt owner – by eminent domain, if necessary.

O’Malley signed the bill one day after the state’s house of delegates voted 93-43 to approve the legislation in the final day of the 2009 session. The state’s senate had passed the bill on Saturday.

The governor and Democratic leaders in Annapolis say the state needs broad powers to ensure that the second jewel of the Triple Crown continues running at Pimlico Race Course. The track’s owner, Magna Entertainment Corp., wants to auction off its Maryland assets – including Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park – under federal bankruptcy proceedings.

Lawmakers passed O’Malley’s bill over the warnings of Republicans who said the move threatened private-property rights. If Maryland wants to buy Pimlico and keep running the Preakness, it should compete in the marketplace with other bidders, Republican critics said.

Officials from the governor’s office and attorneys for the state have said the state may participate in a court-supervised bankruptcy auction that is anticipated this summer. The bill authorizes the Maryland Economic Development Corp. to finance a purchase by issuing bonds.

Magna officials and their attorneys have criticized the eminent domain bill.

I don’t eminent domain was meant for this purpose. Also the state of Maryland is butting into bankruptcy proceedings. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m sure this law will be challenged in court.

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