Getting a bill passed to allow non-profits to hold charitable gaming night fundraisers has been an insurmountable obstacle for Carroll's state delegation for years, but with some new faces in the legislature and a new look to the delegation due to redistricting, hopefully the results from another attempt this year will be better.
The delegation has attempted to get the bill passed every year since 2009, but has always come up short. The bill would allow non-profits, including the volunteer fire departments, civic organizations and others to hold casino nights as a way to raise money.
Most of our volunteer fire departments depend heavily on their annual carnivals to raise funds. And while the community has always been a big supporter of these events, other variables – including the weather – can have a major impact on the amount of money raised in a given year.
Our lawmakers say that getting the bill passed will be a priority for them this year, but we've heard that before. Perhaps having a Republican in the Governor's Mansion will help our delegation be more successful, but our elected state representatives will also have to work with Democrats who control the House of Delegates and Senate – as well as with each other -- in order to get anything accomplished.
The biggest issue facing the state in the coming legislative session is the budget and closing a gap between revenues and expenses. That means there will likely be a lot of deal-making among various lawmakers as they attempt to protect money for things that are on their priority list. Local laws are likely to be held captive by some in power as a way to illicit additional support.
Carroll also has to deal with an expanded delegation with redistricting. While the delegations that include only a small portion of Carroll likely will be focusing most of their attention on the areas that make up the majority of their districts, having their support for Carroll legislation will be essential in efforts to get anything passed.
The new session, a new Republican governor and new faces in the legislature provide a good opportunity to get a gaming bill passed, but our state delegation members will have to work with members of these delegations, work with each other and work with the Democratic majority if they are to have any hope of becoming successful.