Maryland special session will address gambling questions

Leaders tout job creation, revenue as reasons to act now

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Though Friday’s announcement only mentioned the gambling issues, other items can be added to any legislative agenda. Mr. Miller said he hoped the issue of pit bulls being labeled as “inherently dangerous” by a Court of Appeals opinion would be brought forward.

A task force established earlier this year to study the effects of the ruling and propose legislation to mitigate its impact was meeting regularly at the beginning of the summer. When it seemed like the chances of a special session had shrunk to nothing, task force co-chairman Sen. Brian E. Frosh, Montgomery Democrat, said the group would not meet again formally until October.

Mr. Miller met with Mr. O'Malley and Mr. Busch last week for a closed-door breakfast at the governor’s residence, one of two back-to-back confidential meetings between the governor and state and local leaders, that had many wondering whether the odds of a special session had turned in the governor’s favor.

Mr. Busch skirted a direct answer as to whether he thought there were enough votes in the House, saying members would “work on all the specifics of the legislation before the special session. We’re very diligent about all the details. We want the whole thing to go forward in a way that everyone benefits.”

Mr. Eberly suggested that Mr. O'Malley is “taking a bit of a gamble” if he is unsure about House support, but the governor’s early interest in a second special session painted him into a corner that might require negotiation, such as leveraging votes out of a pit bull bill.

“Holding a special session on gambling and pit bulls. This is not what was envisioned when the provision allowing for a special session was created,” Mr. Eberly said. “It’s the ‘pit bulls versus the pit bosses’ session.”

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