Busch says votes weren't there for pit bull compromise

April 09, 2013|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

House Speaker Michael E. Busch said a compromise bill intended to reverse a court decision singling out pit bulls as an "inherently dangerous" breed died on the House floor because it just didn't have the votes.

It is extremely rare for a conference committee report to fail on the House floor, where unlike the Senate there is no filibuster. But opponents made it clear they were willing to chew up as much time as they could to block its passage -- even if it meant other legislation went down.

Finally, at about 10 a.m., the House leadership pulled the bill off the agenda -- ostensibly for an hour -- but the bill never returned to the floor even as the speaker gave endless thank-yous to legislative staff and members introduced guests.

Busch said he was disappointed that the General Assembly was unable to resoleve the issue.

"You could tell there was a lot of angst on the bill. Our vote count was not very favorable," he said. Busch said he expects the legislature to take it up again next year.

Tami Santelli, Maryland director for the Humane Society of the United States, said delay comes with a huge cost.

"What happens next? People get kicked out of their houses. Pit bulls get sent to shelters and get euthanized. Businesses struggle with increased liability for another year," she said.

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