Should Failure to Pass O’Malley’s Gambling Bill Be Considered a Failure at All?

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So we’re getting to the moment in the General Assembly’s special session on gambling where the House of Delegates has a chance to redeem itself. The Senate has passed them a gambling bill largely similar to the “silly bomb” that sucked up the last hours of the regular session and left Maryland with a budget shortfall and several bills on the table. It would appear that the House would do well to pass the bill (which would turn Maryland’s five slots parlors into full-on casinos and add a sixth location in Prince George’s County) to restore its reputation as a legislative body that can get things done.

But should it be considered a failure for the House to vote down the bill (or to amend it dramatically, dragging out the process)? Gov. Martin O’Malley seems to think so. He’s “so sick” of the gaming debate that he’s asking the GA pass the bill, if for no other reason than to put it “behind us.” But that logic is faulty, because it’s really no logic at all. We expect our representatives not to vote according to their annoyance at having to consider the same issue “year in and year out,” but to vote according to the merits of the bill. Period.

O’Malley’s (non)argument for opening the state to casino table games forever after reminds me of my own teenage negotiating style: “Please Dad. C’mon Dad. Dad, pleeeeeeaaaaaase.” Apparently if O’Malley were my father it would have worked.

I for one, am happy that our representatives have been cautious about such drastic and irreversible legislation.



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