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Prescience

So out first proposed changed to the slots law is already in the hopper:

A Baltimore County lawmaker is proposing slot-machine gambling at Maryland’s major airport, but Gov. Martin O’Malley called the casino a “bad idea,” limiting its chances at a time of slots-related buyer’s remorse in Annapolis.

Del. Eric M. Bromwell’s House Bill 777 — the airplane-related number is a coincidence — would add Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to the list of locations for the casino licenses approved by voters last year.

The bill, co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 11 Baltimore County and city lawmakers, would allow 3,000 slots in the terminal area.

The idea is to separate air travelers from their cash while they wait to board airplanes, said Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat. “If you’re looking to capture revenues from outside of the state,” he said, “we’re talking about people from all over the country and all over the world that land in BWI.”

Now, this is actually a reasonable idea and I actually have no qualms with the idea of putting slots at BWI. No it doesn’t exactly make for a slot machine destination, but it’s a better use of some of the empty spaces of the airport than they are now.

So what’s the problem? This:

The idea would require a voter-ratified amendment to the Maryland Constitution, which the lawmaker has also proposed.

That’s right, because of the knuckleheaded way Democrats dealt with slots, we’ll have to go through the entire constitutional amendment rigmarole again. But….we knew that was going to happen:

The fact of the matter is that such language adopted in the Constitution will make it nearly impossible to correct any shortcomings with slots, particularly with slot parlor locations, once it is ensconced in the Constitution. At that point, If zoning becomes an issue as the Amendment allows, there is no useful way to fix it; any changes would also need to be adopted as Constitutional Amendments and subjected to another referendum to state voters. That’s no way to make public policy.

And it’s still no way to make public policy. Instead of a simple fix to a simple law, slots language being ensconced in the Constitution means 2010 is going to be a repeat of 2008. Nobody wants to live through that, but in order to save slots from becoming a complete boondoggle, Democrats may be forced to fight the fight once more.

I look forward to the day when we have competent representation in Annapolis….maybe then it won’t be so easy to predict their failures.

(Crossposted)






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