Legislative Digest

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Lawmakers against slots begin strategy sessions

ANNAPOLIS - A dozen slot machine opponents in the legislature held yesterday the first of what they plan will be weekly strategy sessions to stop the governor's gambling legislation for the third year in a row.

Del. Peter Franchot, a Montgomery County Democrat, said the group plans to develop an e-mail list of church leaders opposed to legalized slot machines. The legislators also decided to oppose all slots plans instead of trying to craft an alternative they would find more palatable than Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s plan for 15,500 slot machines at four racetracks and two other locations.

"The feeling was that we ... need to redouble, triple our opposition," Franchot said.

Ehrlich questioned as he talks to group of seniors

ANNAPOLIS - When Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. told a group of elderly Marylanders yesterday that his budget includes money to fund a prescription drug program through the end of the year, someone in the audience yelled out, "What about next year?"

If Ehrlich heard the comment, he didn't acknowledge it, moving on to other issues after only a brief reference to his decision to eliminate the prescription drug program for older Marylanders beginning next year.

Restoration of funding for the program is the top priority this year of United Seniors, a coalition of 31 organizations that lobbies the governor and legislature on issues important to the elderly, said Charlie Culbertson, the group's vice president.

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