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Black Caucus Willing to Back Maryland Governor

6 February 2004

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – As reported by the Washington Times: "The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus says it will support the Ehrlich administration's slot-machine bill if blacks are given ownership in two proposed casinos along Interstate 95.

"House Deputy Majority Whip Obie Patterson, chairman of the 42-member Black Caucus, yesterday said black ownership is essential to winning the approval of the caucus.

"…Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. last week told The Times that he and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who is black, agree that minority ownership is an essential part of the slots legislation.

"…Mr. Ehrlich this year has proposed basically the same slots legislation he first offered to the General Assembly last year — a bill that would allow the state to reap revenue from licenses for 11,500 slot machines at four Maryland racetracks. However, he has included this year a measure that would set up 4,000 slot machines at two non-track sites along I-95 to garner support from House Democrats, who killed his legislation last year.

"The governor said the additional sites can be privately or state owned, and that a panel consisting of himself and Senate and House leaders would decide where to put the gaming facilities. He expects the state to make $2 billion annually from the revised plan…"

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