'Oversight' eliminated from gaming legislation

March 06, 1997


Staff Writer

Legislation that appeared to single out Washington County Gaming Commission member Paul D. Muldowney will be changed, Del. John P. Donoghue said Wednesday.

The bill, intended to lengthen commission members' terms from two years to three, contained a section that would have extended the terms of only those commission members whose terms began on or after Jan. 1, 1996. That would have excluded Muldowney, who began his term July 1995.

But a letter faxed by Donoghue to the Washington County Gaming Commission, which distributes funds raised from tip jar gambling, said the county delegation was committed to changing the language.


"It is unfortunate that this miscommunication has caused confusion," the letter said. "I have discussed this issue with the other members of the Washington County Delegation and we will remove (the section) entirely from the bill."

Muldowney said he is happy the changes will be made.

"It just goes to show what a little public spotlight will do," he said. "It's nice that they took it out. Other than that, I have no comment."

Gaming Commission members had voted Tuesday to ask the Washington County delegation to the General Assembly to remove the provision from the bill.

Gaming Commission President Sue Tuckwell said the quick action showed that the original language was an oversight.

"That's terrific," she said. "We're delighted they took that action. It just goes to show this delegation can be responsive. It also proves they're not holding any grudges."

Muldowney previously said that delegation members were afraid someone could use a position on the commission to build a political base from which to run for office against a delegation member.

He said the section of the bill served no purpose other than to be exclusionary.

But Donoghue, in a statement issued through staff member Chris Shank, said: "At no time at any delegation discussion did any gaming commissioner's political career come into play."

Munson also denied any political motivation.

"There's nothing to that," he said. "That's just silly."

Other points of contention remain.

Muldowney Tuesday criticized delegation members for not eliminating the sunset provision in the tip jar law. "Why they are holding on to this sunset deal just defies logic," he said.

Tuckwell said she expects that the state will expand and regulate gambling in five to seven years, eliminating local control over the money.

Also Tuesday, new commission member Don McKenrick took the place of Glenn Fishack, who resigned from the commission.

Staff writers Brendan Kirby and Ellen Lyon contributed to this story.

The Herald-Mail Articles