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Generally Assembled

It's been more than a week since the state legislative session ended, so below lies a week's worth of catch-up on the aftermath.

Dry Well: The best stories, of course, are from those with very specific agendas or focuses. From the Diamondback, which knows what's important on campus, comes word of a bill that will force Prince George's County liquor stores to close at midnight.

On the more serious side, the Washington Blade had something to celebrate (if hesitantly, because there's still the governor to go through), thanks to the General Assembly passing three gay-friendly bills.

Wrap-Up: More boring are the wrap-up stories, which tell us what we already know, if we've been paying attention, but they are useful in tying everything together. Anyway, the Gazette papers' GA stories are always worth reading, and here's their wrap-up (plus a look at how business interests made out). Speaking of bizness, the BBJ's take is equally negative, while the Post says the governor "calls bills hostile to business. Then the Post harps on--yawn--"partisan discord". According to The Sun, Gov. Robert Ehrlich, after stumbling in the GA, plans to "take his message to the people".

Oh, and the Post's Winners and Losers.

Then there's all those bills that got the most attention. One at a time:

Slots: In The Sun Ehrlich whines about his inability to get a slots bill passed, said the Preakness' presence in Maryland is threatened. And there's a wolf stalking him, too, he swears. The best take comes from, as it often does, Sun Perspective columnist C. Fraser Smith, who notes that slots fever has peaked.

Then in today's paper comes stories on Pimlico's Opening Day (and what lack of slots means), from The Sun, The Washington Times, and Sun columnist Dan Rodricks.

Stem Cell Research Funding: Thanks to the threat of a fillibuster in the Senate, no stem-cell research funding this year. The Post looks at what happened. Sun business columnist Jay Hancock, instead of following his peers' lead and complaining incessantly about the so-called Wal-Mart bill, calls the defeat of stem-cell funding the "General Assembly's biggest anti-business goof this year."

Large Employer Health Care Bill: Speaking of which, the "Wal-Mart bill" probably received the most post-session attention, likely because it passed with something approaching a veto-proof majority. In this Sun story the Service Employees International Union claims its first victory against the giant retailer. Also claiming a win are the country's liberals, including the Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel and Susan Bucher, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives. The Post's Steven Pearlstein is a bit more realistic, calling the bill "a purely symbolic effort".

Oh, and despite all the hand-wringing, Wal-Mart, according to this Crisfield Times story, though not happy about the bill, still plans to build a huge distribution center in Somerset County.

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