Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Maryland Gambling Expansion Heading to November Ballot // ROLL CALL: House Barely Approves Table Games & PG Casino


Local political reporters are all highlighting the results of Maryland's second special legislative session in 2012. After weeks of heated debate, the Maryland House of Delegates approved the gambling expansion plan -- with no votes to spare. Gambling proponents needed 71 votes in the House to pass gambling, and they received exactly 71 votes. The State Senate already approved the gambling expansion plan on Friday, so about an hour ago, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed the casino referendum bill. That means that gambling is heading to the November ballot alongside marriage equality, the Dream Act, and Maryland's Congressional redistricting plan.

SENATE PRESIDENT MIKE MILLER NOW CLAIMS GAMBLING "NOT THE WAY" TO FUND GOVERNMENT - Below is a quick round-up of local news coverage about the Maryland House's approval of the gambling bill. Amazingly, Senate President Mike Miller -- who is directly responsible for the casino push in Maryland -- is now saying gambling is "not the way" to fund government! See an excerpt from the Maryland Reporter special session coverage below:
MARYLAND REPORTER: By the bare minimum of 71 votes, the House of Delegates Monday night gave Senate President Mike Miller the kind of “sine die” adjournment he had expected April 9: The delegates passed a bill asking voters in November to approve table games and a sixth gambling casino in Prince George’s County....

A subdued Miller, believed by most legislators to have bullied O’Malley and Busch back into session, refused to gloat or take a victory lap after the Senate concurred in the House amendments and passed the bill 32-14....

“It’s a fad, it’s a fancy, it’s wrong, it’s not the way to fund government,” Miller told reporters. But Maryland needed to take full advantage of the gambling craze while it lasted....

KEY PROVISIONS OF GAMBLING BILL: Lastly, The Baltimore Sun had a very quick roundup of the key provisions in the newly approved casino referendum. The most important changes are the addition of a Prince George's gambling site, tax cuts for slot machine operators, and the addition of Vegas-style table games to Maryland casinos (eg: craps, blackjack, roulette, etc).

HOUSE OF DELEGATES GAMBLING ROLL CALL VOTE - The Baltimore Sun printed the roll call for the Maryland House gambling vote today. You can see the full roster at their site, but we highlight the Democratic "NO" votes below:
  1. Alston, Tiffany T. (D) Prince George's
  2. Barkley, Charles E. (D) Montgomery
  3. Beidle, Pamela G. (D) Anne Arundel
  4. Carter, Jill P. (D) Baltimore
  5. Gilchrist, James W. (D) Montgomery
  6. Griffith, Melony G. (D) Prince George's
  7. Hammen, Peter A. (D) Baltimore
  8. Holmes, Marvin E., Jr. (D) Prince George's
  9. James, Mary-Dulany (D) Harford
  10. Kelly, Ariana B. (D) Montgomery
  11. Lee, Susan C. (D) Montgomery
  12. Miller, Aruna (D) Montgomery
  13. Mizeur, Heather R. (D) Montgomery
  14. Morhaim, Dan K. (D) Baltimore Co.
  15. Murphy, Peter F. (D) Charles
  16. Niemann, Doyle L. (D) Pr. George's
  17. Pena-Melnyk, Joseline A. (D) Prince George's
  18. Robinson, A. Shane (D) Montgomery
  19. Simmons, Luiz R. S. (D) Montgomery
  20. Sophocleus, Theodore J. (D) Anne Arundel
  21. Vaughn, Michael L. (D) Prince George's
  22. Wood, John F., Jr. (D) St. Mary's

DIRECT MAIL & MEDIA WAR BREWING? - Given how much money was spent by groups on the public relations battle surrounding gambling, we could see a decent amount of paid propaganda in Maryland. In the closing days of the special session fight, a reader sent us the following direct mail piece that a group called CSOA sent to Maryland voters. They added the following comments about the origin of the mailer:
ANONYMOUS READER: A little late, so I don't know if you're still interested in it but here's the gambling mailer I got Monday.  The most interesting/weirdest thing about it (to me) is that it's from a group called CSOA but it doesn't say what that stands for. If you google CSOA Maryland, a race horse owner's group comes up... I guess they're mad that gambling is coming to National Harbor but not Rosecroft. Also, it seems to be targeted towards PG residents and I live in Howard county?
CSOA Maryland Gambling Direct Mail

PS - PIT BULL LEGISLATION DIED IN SPECIAL SESSION - One other piece of legislation was dealt with in the special session. Pit bull owners were rallying to stop a Maryland Court of Appeals decision that pit bulls are inherently dangerous. The Patch's Bryan Sears noted (excerpt below):
TOWSON PATCH: ... a bill meant to overturn a controversial Court of Appeals ruling that declared pit bulls an inherently dangerous dog breed failed after Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said the House gave senators a "take it or leave it" ultimatum.


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