What Happened on the Last Day of Session

As previously reported, the Maryland General Assembly session came to an end Monday evening with the passage of a “doomsday” budget, not the budget plan that had been adopted by House and Senate Budget Conferees.  It seems that time ran out on the passage of  the accompanying legislation that would have shifted teacher pension costs to county governments or enacted a number of revenue measures to fund certain priorities in the FY 2013 budget.   Time also ran out on the passage of legislation that would have allowed a sixth casino to operate in Maryland and provide for the operation of table games.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun (limited free views available):

About 10:30 p.m. Monday, House Speaker Michael E. Busch walked across the State House and delivered a grim message to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller: There weren’t enough votes in the House to pass the gambling bill.

Everything was unraveling.

The legislature’s leaders had spent the day crafting a deal. The Senate would agree to the House approach to raising income taxes. The House would pass, or at least attempt to pass, a gambling bill that was a high priority for Miller.

However, other issues soon came into play that affected the votes on the gambling bill in the House.

Side issues long considered dead in the Assembly session suddenly came to the forefront, including the composition of the Baltimore County school board and the Baltimore school system’s ability to finance renovations. The message to the speaker was clear as the night wore on — entire delegations in his Democratic caucus were withholding their votes on the gambling bill.

Now that the session has ended, there is speculation that a special session will be called to bring members back together to pass the remaining pieces of the FY 2013 budget plan and the gambling bill, but no action has been taken at this time.  When asked about this issue during a bill signing yesterday morning, the Governor “did not heed appeals to call a special session that would allow the legislature to finish its work.”

Additional press coverage of the last day can be found below.

Annapolis Capital
Washington Times

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