State delegates from Montgomery County swapped notes Thursday night about their recent conversations with the governor and House Speaker and talked about what they might seek in exchange for their support of an expanded gambling bill in next week’s special session.
“I don’t think it’s any surprise that people in Montgomery County would want something in exchange for our support,” Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery), the delegation’s new chairwoman, said in an interview following the meeting, which was closed to press. “We’ll have something figured out in the next few days.”
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has called a special session to start next Thursday in which lawmakers will weigh allowing a new casino in Prince George’s County, as well as table games, such as black jack and roulette, at the state’s five other slots locations. None of those are located in Montgomery.
Kaiser said 17 of 24 delegates from the county participated in the meeting, either in person or by phone, and she said they were joined by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).
Expanded gambling legislation enjoys broad support in the Senate but fell short in the House during this year’s regular session.
In advance of the special session, delegates from several jurisdictions have huddled to talk about their level of support. Members from Baltimore, for example, are pushing for more authority to borrow money for school construction — something that would likely require separate legislation during the session.
In a letter this week, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) cautioned lawmakers that they could sink the bill if they seek too many concessions. Several provisions in the legislation are likely to help a casino planned for Baltimore.
O’Malley has yet to release the bill that will be considered during the session.
“People are curious what the bill says,” Kaiser said.
Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) plans to meet Friday with two groups of House leaders to talk about putting the chamber’s stamp on the legislation.