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Committee OKs tip jar bill

April 09, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

ANNAPOLIS - A Maryland Senate committee gave its approval Thursday to two pieces of gaming legislation that would make significant changes in Washington County's tip jar gambling regulations.

"I think it's wonderful. It's always good when you get what you ask for," said Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, chairman of the county delegation.

Approval by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee virtually guarantees the bills will be approved by the full Senate, which could consider the legislation today.

"I'm very pleased. It's a plus for the county," said Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington.

Both bills have been approved by the House of Delegates. If the Senate approves the legislation, Gov. Parris Glendening would have to sign the bills for them to become law.

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One bill requires private fraternal and social clubs to funnel all of their required charitable donations raised from tip jars through the county Gaming Commission in cash. The legislation would increase the amount of money available for Gaming Commission to distribute to nonprofit organizations, fire and rescue companies and charities from an estimated $1.1 million this year to $2.45 million next year.

Supporters said the legislation also would cut Gaming Commission costs and relieve that panel of the administrative headache of determining what qualifies as an in-kind contribution.

Other changes in the bill include:




- A measure that would permit members of the county Gaming Commission to serve two two-year terms. Supporters of the amendment said the current limit of one two-year term results in too much turnover on the panel.

- An amendment that would allow members of the Gaming Commission to serve as officers and directors of nonprofit groups, but only if those groups do not apply for gaming funds.

The second piece of legislation repeals the tip jar regulations' July 1, 1999, expiration date.

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