Carroll delegates offer reassurance on gaming bill prospects

For the past six years, Carroll County has proposed a bill that would enable charitable organizations to host card game or casino night fundraisers.

The proposal has been approved by either the House of Delegates or the Senate each year, but never by both during the same legislative session.

With concerns rising that the proposal may again be in trouble due to a statewide gaming bill, Carroll County delegates assured the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday that this piece of legislation is a priority in the upcoming legislative session.

"I don't care how it passes, whether we opt into a statewide bill or we have our own local bill, but we are going to do everything we can to get exactly what we want," Krebs said.

Delegates Justin Ready, Don Elliott, and Krebs met with commissioners Tuesday to discuss the board's legislative proposals.

Commissioners were originally scheduled to meet with both the House and Senate delegations Dec. 10, but that meeting was postponed due to inclement weather.

The Carroll County gaming proposal would enable charitable organizations to host a card game, card tournament, or casino night as a fundraiser. The effort has been spearheaded by the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association.

Krebs said that due to a large number of county gaming bills from around the state, the legislature is considering a statewide gaming bill regulating everything from slot machines to card games that would require counties to opt in.

Some concern from the state stems from a worry that for-profit gaming companies will be running the events throughout the state, Krebs said.

Ready said if there is a statewide bill, Carroll would try to work under its parameters, but the House delegation's focus is trying to "get what we want for our county no matter what."

While delegates stressed that the bill is a priority for them, Sen. Joe Getty has suggested commissioners be prepared to adopt a new strategy for passing the gaming proposals.

In a letter to Commissioners President Dave Roush Monday, Getty cited comments made by Krebs at the Carroll County Board of Realtor's legislative briefing.

Getty said that Krebs had "already conceded defeat in the House" on the county gaming bill, but Krebs rebutted that statement Tuesday.

"I'm not sure where he got that notion from because we are committed, all of us, to getting it passed again," she said.

In a phone interview Monday, Getty said that he sent the letter so commissioners and CCVESA would not be caught flat-footed if the county bill doesn't pass the House of Delegates.

He said the county needs to find out how to guarantee its primary needs are included in any statewide gambling legislation that may be passed during the session.

Other legislation that has been proposed by the county and discussed with delegates Tuesday, includes:

• Bills requiring an efficacy analysis for any legislation involving an amendment to the Land Use, Environment, or Natural Resources law to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of a proposal compared to other alternatives

• Two bills barring the state from imposing further stormwater requirements not specified in each jurisdiction's individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits until the 2017 Midpoint Assessment for Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model Phase 6.0 results and revised allocations are available and provided to local jurisdictions

• A bill that would exempt a county from implementing a storm water fee if stormwater projects are planned and funded to comply with MS4 permits, funds are included in the budget with a designated funding source, or a separate fund for these projects is in place and appropriately funded.

• A bill that would prevent the imposition of any additional storm water requirements until there is a multi-state agreement that puts comparable requirements, demands and corresponding cost on Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, New York, Delaware and West Virginia with regard to bay restoration.

• A bill that would increase the liquor license fees over three years to provide funding for an additional part-time inspector for underage liquor sales compliance by the county liquor board

• A bill to raise the county Sheriff's salary from $75,910 to $90,000 in 2015

• A bill to that would cover the county Industrial Development Authority under the Local Government Tort Claims Act, thus lowering the authority's cost of insurance

• The county's annual public facilities bond request.

• Bills that would delay the implementation of Common Core State Standards, discontinue the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, discontinue the PARCC assessments, longitudinal databases and teacher and principal assessments, and discontinue the implementation of the Race to the Top grant.

• A bill that would return full responsibility for contributions to the State Teacher Pensions to the state for free necessary funds locally for the mitigation of the impacts of implementing the Common Core.

• A bill raising the salary of Orphan's Court judges from $10,000 to $15,000 and to $16,500 for the chief judge.

• A bill requiring governmental and quasi-governmental agencies and organizations to publicize meeting agendas prior to a scheduled meeting date.

The 2014 session convenes in Annapolis Jan. 8.

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