The Washington Post

Md. House leaders talk about Prince George’s casino

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, left, shows House Speaker Michael E. Busch a pen that he used to sign a congressional redistricting bill during a special session last fall. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is still weighing whether to call a special session on the issue despite the collapse last month of a work group plan that included allowing a Prince George’s casino.

Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he wanted to pull together a broader group of leaders from his chamber to hear from three delegates on the work group who withheld their support. The group’s eight other members — state senators and O’Malley appointees — all supported the plan, on which O’Malley was seeking consensus.

“I thought it was fair to talk to the rest of the leadership team,” Busch said. “There was no conclusion to anything.”

Last month, House members on the work group said they could not support a Prince George’s casino unless the state maintained its current tax rate on owners. Other work group members sought a reduction in the tax rate to compensate for the additional competition of a new casino.

O’Malley had advertised a special session for next week, but that now seems increasingly unlikely. Last week, the governor said — who voiced frustration with the House — said he could instead call legislators back to Annapolis later in the month or in early August.

But O’Malley aides said gambling has not been foremost on the governor’s agenda in recent days.

“The special session is not on his mind right now,” said spokeswoman Raquel Guillory. “He’s focused on the aftermath of the storm and working with the utilities to get people’s power restored.”

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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