Legislative Session Action: The Last Day
Today is the last day of the Maryland General Assembly's 90-day session. We'll post some of the action on Maryland Moment as it happens:
* An emergency measure to ban the video gaming machines that have proliferated at bars and restaurants in St. Mary's County and elsewhere hung in jeopardy tonight after the House adopted an amendment that severely weakened the bill. The House voted 69 to 67 to effectively exempt from the legislation commercial bingo parlors such as those in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties. The bill has been a top priority for Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who has condemned video bingo machines and similar devices for generating money for private entrepreneurs with no state benefit. Del. Mary Ann Love (D), chairwoman of the Anne Arundel delegation, proposed the amendment because she said the loss of such machines would hurt small businesses that use them legally and cut into local government revenues.
* Both the House and Senate have approved a compromise plan for distributing a new fund to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Lawmakers earlier reduced a planned $50 allocation to the fund to $25 million as a result of the state's fiscal challenges.
* The House and Senate have passed a compromise on legislation expanding the state's DNA database to include samples taken from people arrested for violent crimes and burglaries. The Senate voted 33 to 10 to approve the compromise; the House approved it 130 to 9. Under current state policy, samples are not taken until conviction.
* Both chambers have unanimously passed a capital budget for the coming fiscal year that includes $333 million for school construction. The allocation is the second-highest in state history but less than the $400 million for school construction approved last year.
School construction has emerged as a leading priority in recent years, as a growing number of students in the Washington region and other parts of the state attend classes in trailers.
And here is a chart showing the status of some important issues.
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