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It's good to be Irish in March in Annapolis

March 07, 2005|by TAMELA BAKER

ANNAPOLIS - It's good to be Irish in Annapolis in March.

The "Irish Caucus," which seems to exist for the sole purpose of celebrating St. Patrick's Day, is preparing its annual soiree, and Del. Brian McHale, D-Baltimore City, and caucus chairman, announced last week that tickets for the party were available for $25.

"Point of clarification, Mr. Chairman," interrupted House Speaker Michael E. Busch. "Can anybody be Irish?"

"They can if they have $25," McHale replied.

The hits just keep on comin'


ANNAPOLIS - House Speaker Michael E. Busch's propensity for offering impromptu concerts for the statehouse press corps waned a bit in recent weeks as his attention was focused on how to deal with this year's most pressing issue.

But now that the House of Delegates has approved a bill to legalize slot machines, the pressures on Busch have diminished and he said last week that he has been resting easier.

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And he's back on form, treating captive journalists to his renditions of the Bobby Lewis standard "Tossin' and Turnin'" and Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

It might be time to find the Speaker something else to worry about.

Gambling on a place in history


ANNAPOLIS - Though he allowed a slots bill to reach the House floor this year, House Speaker Michael E. Busch said if the General Assembly actually reaches an agreement legalizing slot machines, "I'll be happy if it's over, but I won't be a happy guy if slots comes to Maryland.

"Will there be any joy in Mudville at a bill signing? Not for me," Busch said. "It'll be Gov. (Robert) Ehrlich's legacy and he's welcome to it."

He also gave some local legislators a gold star for sticking with Ehrlich.

"I appreciate the value of sticking to principles," he said. "I have to give a lot of credit to Chris Shank (R-Washington) and Bob McKee (R-Washington) - they have done more to promote the expansion of gambling and Bob Ehrlich's agenda," which he noted includes a hike in vehicle registration fees and implementation of the "flush tax."

In for a dime, in for a dollar


ANNAPOLIS - Last week Washington County legislators presented to the House Ways and Means Committee their proposal to establish a commission to review property tax assessments.

The cost for the commission is estimated at a whopping $919.

"I would just like to state for the committee that if there's a problem with that," said Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, "Del. (LeRoy E.) Myers and I have talked, and he's willing to pay $900 and I'll pick up the other $19."

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