Update, 5:15 p.m.: The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee has voted 11 to 1 to send the gambling bill to the Senate floor. Debate will begin Friday morning.
Update: 12:20 p.m.: During a brief floor session, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Miller) suggested the earliest the session could wrap up is Tuesday evening.
“I think we’re going to get it done, but if we don’t, it’s not going to be because we haven’t tried,” Miller said, speaking of the gambling bill.
He said pit bull legislation would get a hearing but that the prospects of acting on a bill are unclear.
“It’s kind of iffy in terms of where to go at this time,” Miller said.
Update: 11:25 a.m.: About three dozen anti-gambling protesters, many of them from Prince George’s County, are gathered outside the State House. They are holding bright yellow signs that call for “NO BACKROOM DEALS” and “NO TAX CUTS FOR CASINOS.”
Update: 11 a.m.: Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Cecil) has told reporters that O’Malley shouldn’t expect much support from Republicans in the Senate, who are dismayed with the special session.
“This whole session is a farce,” Jacobs said. “It’s about pit bulls, pit bosses, and my constituents say it’s pitiful.”
Update: 10:10 a.m.: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has arrived at a meeting of Democratic senators to talk about his expanded gambling bill. The Senate is expected to be a relatively easy sell. The chamber passed similar legislation in the regular session this year. The bill died in the House of Delegates.
ORIGINAL POST: The Maryland General Assembly returns to Annapolis Thursday morning to tackle — once again — the volatile issue of gambling.
The Senate is scheduled to convene at 11:30 a.m., kicking off a special legislative session that is expected to stretch into next week. The House will be back in town Friday.
The Senate plans a hearing at 1 p.m. on Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to allow a new casino in Prince George's County, as well as table games at Maryland’s five existing slots sites.
A fiscal note scoring the budget impact of O’Malley’s plan is expected to be released by legislative staff by the time of the hearing.
Also on the agenda Thursday: a hearing on legislation to address a court ruling that made it easier to sue pit bull owners and the landlords who allow them. The legislature could also take action on that issue while in town.
For session developments Thursday, check back here.