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Gaming, Pitbull Legislation Clear The Senate

Focus shifts to the House on Monday where both bills will be debated and voted on.

Focus on legislation to expand gambling and overturn a controversial Court of Appeals ruling on pit bulls shifts to the House of Delegates.

A House Ways and Means subcommittee will meet Saturday to discuss legislation that would open Maryland casinos to table games and could possibly legalize a sixth casino in Prince George's County if voters approve the law in a referendum vote in November.

The Senate adopted four amendments to the bill including a $500 annual license fee per table game that would go to a gambling addiction fund and requiring that one member of the gaming commission come from a jurisdiction with a video lottery facility.

A number of the 23 amendments rejected by the Senate involved earmarking parts of the money to roll back tax increases passed in May, toll increases and environmental funds.

"When you go home, after this whole thing is over you're going to get one question from the cynics: How on earth could you raise our taxes in May and give multi-millionaires tax breaks. How could you do that?," said Sen. Jim Brochin, a Towson Democrat who sponsored an amendment to use gaming proceeds to roll back tax increases. "Pass this amendment and you won't have to answer that question. This is so much the right thing to do."

In each case, the Senate leaders said such changes would hurt the state's ability to eliminate a projected $500 million budget deficit.

"I'm very sympathetic toward the amendment however I don't think we can set a precedent by sending money to worthy causes," said Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. "Once we go down that road how can we deny anybody?"

The Senate approved the amended bill by a 28-14 vote.

The Senate also passed a lightly amended version of a bill overturning a Court of Appeals ruling that declared pit bulls inherently dangerous dogs.

The fate of the bill, which was passed by a 41-1 vote Friday, is .

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on four bills, including one identical to the Senate bill, Friday. The sticking point for some delegates is the issue of strict liability for dog owners for any dog bite regardless of breed.

Sen. Joseph Getty, a Republican who represents Carroll and northern Baltimore Counties, was the lone vote against the Senate bill. Passage in the House is less certain, he said.

"That bill is going to take a different path," said Getty, speaking of the House debate and vote scheduled for Monday.

Sen. Brian Frosh, chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and sponsor of the Senate Bill, shared Getty's view of an uncertain future for the legislation.

"This is the best we could do. So, we thought OK, we will give it a shot to get it done in this truncated environment," Frosh said. "If it gets real twisted and complex, I think it will probably unravel because nobody is planning to spend next week here."

Annapolis Patch Local Editor Anna Staver contributed to this article.

Arlow August 11, 2012 at 04:29 AM
What a friggin' waste of time and MONEY. Not that O'M cares how he wastes our money.
MikeC August 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM
I echo Arlow's sentiments. What a waste! Waste of time, resources, money and so much more. Now we're making our state into a "gaming" mecca? How many meccas are there. I just heard a promoter of this bill on the news say that we'll now have money coming in that isn't coming from the people. Stupid statements like that caused this mess. So we'll have more money coming in to pay on higher crime rates, more policing, more social programs to help those who've put all their money into the caustic dream that they'll make something from nothing, bigger traffic problems,.... Yeah, what a waste.
Joe Dolan August 11, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Does it surprise anyone that this legislation is going to pass. IT was in the bag or O'Malley would not have called the session.
Michael B. Cron August 11, 2012 at 09:17 PM
This is a quote from the above article regarding Sen. Kasemeyer’s response to an amendment that Sen. Jim Brochin sponsored and tried to get passed which included overturning the recent tax hike, rolling back the toll increases and investing in environmental issues. However, un-sympathetic Sen. Kasemeyer’s quote regarding Sen. Brochin’s amendment clearly states that taxes and the like should never decrease only increase. "I'm very sympathetic toward the amendment however I don't think we can set a precedent by sending money to worthy causes," said Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. "Once we go down that road how can we deny anybody?" So basically Sen. Kasemeyer thinks that lowering taxes, reducing tolls, and investing in our environment are "worthy causes" that should not be considered but it is OK for the majority of our state legislators to grant multi-millionaires tax breaks. Obviously this is not a “worthy cause” but it is good for the wealthy few. So even when all of the dust settles and the smoke clears, casinos will flourish along with their owners while the rest of us hard working tax burdened citizens continue to be "bent over a log". This is an insult and a travesty to the people who elected these "intelligent" legislators to represent and act upon what they think are our "frivolous" requests.
Parkvillehoney August 11, 2012 at 09:19 PM
You only have so much gambling money to be divided. I bet the Cordish group is boiling mad that they were played for chumps. Any business corporation that does any business with the State of Maryland should think twice. I wonder if Maryland Alive will be giving back their slot machines when these new gambling sites open up.
Michael B. Cron August 11, 2012 at 11:24 PM
One can only hope!
Christopher Kidwell August 12, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Bigger traffic problems? That would happen if you had an influx of people moving into any area or put a sports venue of ANY kind there. Let's get real here: Every single time people have said there would be all those things you mention that are negative coming from gambling, they have been PROVEN to be wrong years later or seriously exaggerated the negatives.
Christopher Kidwell August 12, 2012 at 01:47 PM
How were they 'played for chumps'? There was never an agreement that they would be the only gambling establishment in Maryland. If anyone 'played them for chumps', it was they themselves by not getting in the agreement that for X years, no new gambling sites would be approved.
Voice of Reason August 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Citizens of Maryland, wake the heck up. We the people have the right to decide what happens to us and in our communities. It is being said that Government is getting to be a Might much. Making all these harmful decisions that adversely affect the middle and low class but then again who cares if they raise taxes and mid to low class folks don't have money to spend in their casinos right. Duh!
Joe August 12, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I don't know how Kasemeyer keeps getting elected. He is the idiot who wants every year to make CRIMINALS out of the many who happen to carry pocket knives onto any state property. Thankfully there is just enough so far to keep that idiot from making me a criminal.
Michael B. Cron August 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM
To quote an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address "......and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”. Unfortunately I believe that that ship has sailed. Our forefathers are rolling in their graves. Our government no longer works for us but rather we are at the government's beckon call to finance their wasteful spending and ludicrous entitlements. I however do not include unemployment benefits that are properly administered, Medicare and most of all Social Security. These three were bought and paid for by the hard working citizens of this great country but were pilfered and mismanaged by our greedy elected legislators. The latter two benefits are definitely not “gifts” or “entitlements” that can be reduced or taken away from us. We bought and paid for these along with our employers. We deserve every penny that is due us! Even though that my observations are mostly regarding our Federal Government, our State Governments have been doing the same things to us as well. When will this end?
MikeC August 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Christopher, prove me wrong, please. With the promised $1 billion to help out our state's schools I expect smaller class sizes with more teachers hired, new facilities (with a/c), no tuition for MD residents at state schools, and Maryland producing the best prepared young adults to tackle global challenges in the world. This is where we were 40 to 50 years ago. If we don't see that, then let's go back to what gave us those results back then.
MikeC August 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I'm with you on this, Christopher. Cordish successfully drowned out neighborhood opposition to his casino. He fought hard to get his easy money tree right where he wanted it. I don't think anyone is happier with the results than Cordish.
M. Sullivan August 13, 2012 at 01:25 PM
I'll repeat this post for today's story because I think it's relevant: The entire problem with Maryland casinos lies with the usual half-witted implementation generated by the masterminds in Annapolis. First, the original rules stipulated the highest tax rate in the country, no free drinks, short hours, and other ridiculous conditions. It's amazing that they got anyone to bid at all. Second, the locations are just plain stupid. Why build a casino in Perryville, just 20 minutes from Delaware Park? Why build the biggest casino in MD in the parking lot of the biggest mall in MD? Why build at Ocean Downs when real casino resorts in Atlantic City are on the other side of the Delaware Bay? Third, who decided it would be a good idea for the state to buy millions of dollars worth of machines? Is that the only way they could get any bidders? We don't need more casinos. We need smart casinos that are set up like real casinos without all these silly MD restrictions, in smart locations to attract out of state money. Something close to VA is the best idea. Just close Ocean Downs or Perryville and move the machines there. After all, we own them. Too many casinos in the wrong places just dilutes the market. A casino in Baltimore City will just be a crime-ridden dump in no time. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. i can only conclude that the decisions on this issue made in Annapolis so far have been made from sheer stupidity or the usual MD corruption.
Roland August 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM
It won't be long before these casinos are taking taxpayer money to stay afloat.
FIFA August 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Nah, they are cash cows. Although very poor odds of winning anything. But they will put those grand prize winners on TV for us all to hope, just like Power Ball.
Edward Charles August 13, 2012 at 03:08 PM
With Lotto, Keno, Powerball, Slots Parlors.... weren't we promised great schools, fire, police, roads, etc? Where did the money go - or was this just a "series of incompetently prepared projections" that will never pan out? Am I distrustful of Senate President Palatine ;-) ? Absolutely! Follow the money to find out whose pockets get lined, how many State employees' salaries get paid, etc. Money for great schools gets "lost" along the way.
Dean Smith August 14, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I was one of the many people in the neighborhood which Cordish successfully drowned out. If people knew what Cordish did to get slots at Arundel Mills Mall, they wouldn’t want to believe anything or trust anything he mentions. Now he wants to operate his casino 24 hours/day right in the middle of our neighborhood because National Harbor is proposing a casino. No one threatened Cordish to put the casino at a mall which is less than 10 miles from the proposed Baltimore Casino location. Now he knows how we feel when he proposed his casino at Arundel Mills Mall. However, the real blame goes to Maryland legislators who did a horrible job in planning, enabled Casino operators to control legislation, and lose focus on the wants and needs of Maryland Tax Payers.
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