Gov. Martin O'Malley met for about an hour with House Speaker Michael E. Busch Tuesday afternoon to discuss expanding gambling in Maryland, and afterward told reporters he is "continuing to search for a consensus on this long lingering issue."
The governor said he hasn't "made a final decision" on whether or not to call the legislature to a special session on July 9 and will make that determination on Thursday or Friday.
O'Malley had said he would call the House and Senate back back to Annapolis next week to approve legislation on adding a sixth casino and table games. Time is of the essence: The changes would also need to be approved by voters in November, and there is an August 20th deadline to finalize ballot questions.
During Tuesday's meeting Busch explained where members of the House Democratic leadership stand on changing the state's gambling program. "The conversation we had with the Speaker about his House leadership team were helpful for us to do more informed outreach with better information than we would have before meeting," O'Malley said.
The governor said the next step is to reach out "beyond the leadership team" and discuss gambling with rank-and-file House members.
It is unclear how many of those talks will occur directly with the governor. "It's not like I'll be phone banking," O'Malley said. "We have very capable legislative staff. ... I'll probably be making some of those calls myself."