Harford slots nixedThe Senate, apparently persuaded that...

CAPITAL MATTERS

March 28, 1991

Harford slots nixed

The Senate, apparently persuaded that slot machines could lead to corruption, killed a bill yesterday that would have allowed Harford County civic groups to install the gambling devices in clubs.

The measure was sought by Harford's two Democratic senators, John H. Amoss and Habern W. Freeman Jr., in an attempt to raise money for charity and the county's volunteer fire departments. The bill would have required that 50 percent of gross receipts from the slots to go to charity.

However, opponents reminded the Senate of Maryland's long and troubled history with slot machines, which were outlawed in 1962 except for some fraternal organizations in some rural counties.

Opposition to the Harford County bill was led by Sen. John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel, who said allowing slots on the Western Shore "will inevitably lead to corruption." He said that when slots were legal in his county, their distribution was controlled by "barons" who "bought and sold politicians like bananas."

The Senate voted 25-22 against the bill.

Memorial Day holiday

Siding with war veterans who believe Memorial Day has become too commercialized, the House of Delegates voted yesterday to observe the holiday on the traditional May 30 date rather than on the final Monday in May observed by the federal government.

Despite the strong, 90-42 vote in the House, the victory for veterans is likely to be short-lived. A Senate committee killed a similar bill earlier this week, making it unlikely that the House move would succeed in the Senate.

Maryland observed Memorial Day May 30 until 1987, when the law was changed to make it coincide with the federal observance, avoiding confusion on when banks, courthouses or other institutions closed.

The House Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee agreed to that change four years ago, but the committee chairman, Delegate Anne S. Perkins, D-Baltimore, said that an election has intervened and that the new members of the committee see the issue differently.

"It's not our fault the federal government did this in response to business interests and commercial interests," she said.

Opposition to the bill was heaviest from the Montgomery and Howard County delegations, which represent many federal employees whose families could be inconvenienced by observance of the same holiday on different dates.

Mammogram insurance

The Senate gave its unanimous final approval yesterday to a bill that would require health insurance policies to list mammograms as a benefit. Mammograms are X-rays designed to detect breast cancer. The House has already approved a similar bill.

Maryland has the nation's 10th highest rate of breast cancer for women aged 50 to 70, with 300 women dying of breast cancer each year.

Quote of the day

"People say that the power of the governor is waning. I assure you that is an overstatement. The power of the governor has not yet been expressed."

Gov. William Donald Schaefer speaking before the Board of

Public Works

Today

10 a.m.: House and Senate convene, State House.

1 p.m. Senate Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee considers bill involving training for lead paint abatement, Room 200, Senate Office Building.

1 p.m. Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee considers legislation that would authorize 65 mph speed limits on about 160 miles of rural interstate highways in Maryland, Room 300, Senate Office Building.

There are 12 days remaining in the 1991 General Assembly session.

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