- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2003

ANNAPOLIS (AP) The Maryland Senate approved a bill yesterday that would legalize slot machines at Maryland racetracks, setting up a showdown with the House of Delegates on the legislation.
The bill had bipartisan support, passing 25 to 21. Ten Republicans joined 15 Democrats in voting for it. Three Republicans and 18 Democrats were against it. One Republican did not vote.
The passage of the legislation, which was one of the cornerstones of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign in the fall, sets up a confrontation with the House of Delegates.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat, is a staunch opponent of the slots plan. Last week, the House voted for a bill calling for a study of how the state would be affected by the legalization of slots, which some described as an indication of the chamber's opposition.
The Senate plan calls for 3,500 machines each to be installed at the Laurel, Pimlico and Rosecroft racetracks. It also would authorize 1,000 slots at a track planned for Allegany County.
The bill, which a Senate committee amended from Mr. Ehrlich's proposal, would set aside 46 percent of the revenues for education, projected to be $700 million a year, while track owners would get about 39 percent. Mr. Ehrlich had proposed giving them 43.6 percent of the take from the slot machines, with 42.1 percent going to education.

Immigrant students who have attended Maryland high schools for at least three years could enroll in state universities and colleges at in-state tuition rates under legislation approved by the Senate yesterday.
Students would have to sign an affidavit that they will apply for permanent residency to qualify for the reduced tuition. Under current law, illegal immigrants pay the same tuition as out-of-state students.
The bill is similar to one that has passed the House. Mr. Ehrlich said after the vote that his "predisposition" would be to oppose the bills but that he would consider them.

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