Reporting Pat Warren
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Gov. Martin O’Malley calls a special session on gambling and not all lawmakers are happy about it.
Political Reporter Pat Warren has more on the significance of the governor’s decision.
Time to get back to work.
“I have made a decision to call a special session dedicated to resolve the lingering issues around Maryland gaming and to call that session on August 9,” O’Malley said.
For weeks, the administration has tried to build consensus on the addition of table games in the state’s slots casinos, a reduction of the 67 percent casino tax rate and approval of a sixth casino, likely to be located at the National Harbor.
Friday, the governor announced the tax rate reduction is off the table– a move that apparently will make it easier to get the votes to pass a gaming bill.
The session begins August 9 and will likely take three days, enabling the Board of Elections to meet the August 20 deadline to get it on the November ballot.
“It’s time to create the thousands of needed jobs, it’s time to maximize funding for Maryland public education,” O’Malley said.
Republican leaders are already voicing opposition, arguing that special sessions should be reserved for emergencies.
“I think we had an emergency situation when we adjourned sine die without a budget,” O’Malley said.
And it was the gambling issue that derailed the budget in April, forcing a special session in May.
If all goes as planned, it will be an interesting year for Maryland voters, who will tell lawmakers what they think of their work, not only on gambling but same-sex marriage, instate tuition for undocumented students and redistricting.
The tax rate on casinos will get separate consideration after the November election.