Slot legislation vote is no joke/Annapolis Notes

April 07, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

The House Ways and Means Committee was packed with observers last week who were intently waiting to hear the panel decide the fate of slot machine legislation.

When Chairwoman Sheila E. Hixson, D-Montgomery, brought up the slots bill, Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. raised his hand and asked that vote be delayed for one day.

The room was quiet and some people exchanged puzzled looks. Why would a gambling foe like Myers want to hold a bill that was almost certain to be voted down?

Hixson explained that there would be no delay.

Myers, R-Allegany/Washington, said after the vote that his question was meant to be a joke.

Apparently no one got it.

On Tuesday, Hixson tried her own joke on the House floor, announcing a midnight hearing on the Senate's doomed slots bill.


"April Fools," she said.

Bear chocolates handed to lawmakers

Western Maryland lawmakers handed out bear-shaped chocolates to their colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly last week.

While it was meant to be a gesture of goodwill, some lawmakers couldn't resist ribbing their colleagues for opposing a bear hunt.

"We want you to get better acquainted with them because we're going to start moving them east," Sen. John J. Hafer, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington, told the Senate.

Del. Kevin Kelly, D-Allegany, told members of the House of Delegates: "You won't let us shoot 'em, but we can eat 'em."

Mooney's move to trim debt defeated

Sen. Alex X. Mooney tried to cut $5 million from Program Open Space last week in an attempt to limit Maryland's debt.

Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, argued the state is borrowing too much money in its $740 million capital spending plan for 2004.

Democrats noted that the extra $5 million was recommended by Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

"We've got a tough question here. Do we go with the governor or the senator from Frederick County?" Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller asked with a laugh.

Mooney's proposal was defeated by a vote of 42-4.

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