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Maryland Senate Votes for Pit Bull Bill, Expanded Gambling

Md. Senate Votes for Special Session Measures




    The full Maryland Senate considered bills regarding pit bulls and expanded gambling Friday. News4's Derrick Ward reports. (Published Friday, Aug. 10, 2012)

    The Maryland Senate approved a measure allowing table games like blackjack and a new casino near the nation's capital and voted to change a state law so that it creates a strict liability standard for owners of all dogs, not just pit bulls.

    The Senate voted for expanded gambling Friday -- the second day of a special session called by Gov. Martin O'Malley in hopes of resolving a difficult issue in the state.

    Swift passage was expected in the Senate, which passed a bill earlier this year to expand gambling.

    The measure stalled in the House of Delegates, the tougher chamber for gambling legislation. A House committee held a hearing on the governor's measure Friday.

    The gambling measure would allow a casino in Prince George's County. A key part of the bill cuts Maryland's 67 percent tax rate on casinos to varying degrees.

    The pit bull bill was in response to a court ruling that determined pit bulls are “inherently dangerous” animals. That April decision by Maryland's highest court created a breed-specific, strict-liability standard for owners of pit bulls or pit bull breeds. Under the ruling, a pit bull owner could be liable for a dog bite without previous evidence of the dog being dangerous.

    The passed bill also reverses a part of the ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals that made landlords strictly liable for pit bull bites.