Republican leaders in the Maryland General Assembly wasted little time Friday in criticizing the special session called by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on expanded gambling.
“The harrowing pressure cooker of a get-it-done-quick special session is not the place to debate an issue as complex as the expansion of gaming in Maryland,” said a joint statement issued by House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert) and Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-Talbot).
“There will be little to no time for public comment,” the two GOP leaders said. “Moreover, the image of Democratic leaders flanked by organized labor and Las Vegas gambling interests should be chilling to anyone who believes in honest and open government.”
At a news conference Friday morning, O’Malley — flanked by the top Democrats in the legislature — cast the session as a way to create more jobs in Maryland while ending a bitter legislative dispute.
Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil) countered that any promise of casino jobs does not offset recent labor figures in Maryland.
“The real crisis in Maryland is not whether there should be a sixth casino location, but rather the trend of recent job losses,” Pipkin said. “The best Governor O’Malley can muster is, ‘If you give me another casino, I can get you 3,000 jobs in a few years.’ How is that relief?”