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Morning Read: Dark Future For iGaming Measure in D.C.

Majority of councilmembers lined up for repeal

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Morning Read: Dark Future For iGaming in D.C.

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* The D.C. Finance and Revenue Committee voted Wednesday to repeal the District’s Internet gambling measure.

The measure will be up for a full council vote sometime next week.  Nine out of 12 city council members have told The Washington Post that they are leaning toward repealing the measure.

Even former proponent of the measure Mayor Gray, said yesterday that the program should be scrapped because of the long and convoluted way it would have become a law.

Internet gambling was quietly added to the city’s lottery contract as a “non-traditional games” option more than three months after it passed a 2009 council vote; it was later legalized through language added to a 2010 spending bill, the Post reports.

If passed, D.C. will be the first U.S. jurisdiction to allow Internet gambling.

Mike DeBonis wrote a blog contemplating what a repeal would actually mean for taxpayers, concluding that if the iGaming program is deauthorized things could get messy and expensive for the city.

Finance officers estimated the program would generate $13.1 million in revenue through September 2015.

“That revenue has already been used to balance the city’s four-year financial plan. (Unlike pretty much every other government, Congress says the District has to balance its spending not just in the current fiscal year, but three years into the future.) So lawmakers have to identify $13.1 million in new revenue or spending cuts to account for the disappearance of “iGaming.” It’s not a lot in the context of a $6 billion-a-year local budget, but it’s not nothing. D.C. Council sources say they’re still working to find the money, so consider that a minor complication as the repeal moves forward.”

* Mayor Vince Gray actually asked former head of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency to resign from her post, multiple sources confirmed to Loose Lips.

West resigned Monday because of the investigation surrounding Harry Thomas Jr., the disgraced former Ward 5 councilmember who used the Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation to steal more than $350,000 in city money.

West was head of the CYITC during part of this time, and allegedly helped West steal $100,000 to pay for a fancy inaugural ball in 2009.

While West faces no criminal charges, Loose Lips said an internal investigation determined she showed enough poor judgment that she had to go.

On the topic of the Thomas scandal, The Washington Times reports that CYITC doled out more than $100,000 to other groups not registered as nonprofits and others that don’t exist in city records, raising more questions about the oversight of D.C. taxpayer money.

Read more here

* Democratic State Sen. Rob Garagiola, the challenger hoping to unseat Maryland GOP Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, outraised the veteran incumbent 3-to-1 in the final months of last year, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show that Garagiola raised $344,061 in the fourth quarter of 2011 while Bartlett raised $104,140 in that same period.

But, the reports also show that Garagiola has $323,126 on hand compared with Bartlett's $342,901.

Bartlett is expected to have a more difficult race than usual this election due to redistricting that put a swab of the more liberal leaning Montgomery County in his district.

In all, 13 candidates are running for the seat.

* Here’s a round up of what happened in Wednesday’s busy Virginia legislative session and a look at what’s going on today.

  • The Senate passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, a sign of the Republican stronghold in Virginia this legislative session. This is one of just several measures in the works this year that could significantly alter abortion laws in the state.

            The House is expected to pass the ultrasound bill in the coming weeks.

  • The controversial voter ID law that had people drawing comparisons to the Jim Crow era passed in a 69-30 vote in the House of Delegates. The bill would require voters who showed up at the polls without identification to cast provisional ballots.
     
  • A Senate committee approved a measure that would allow voters to use their concealed-handgun permit as a form of acceptable voter identification.
     
  • A bill that would require a candidate for local office to be listed on the ballot under a party affiliation failed in the senate Wednesday.

           Unlike federal and state elections, Virginia law does not allow party affiliation on local ballots.

  • In a more bizarre proposal, the Senate approved a bill that would allow the training of dogs to hunt bears to take place at night.
     
  • A Virginia lawmaker's push to get the governor to petition the federal Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug has failed.
     
  • A bill that would have imposed mandatory minimum sentences on DUI drivers convicted of manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter did not pass through a Senate committee Wednesday.  The bill would have required a one-year mandatory jail sentence for a DUI manslaughter and a five-year minimum sentence for a DUI conviction on aggravated manslaughter charges.
  • Today the House of Delegates will take a final vote on a bill that would allow school districts to open before Labor Day weekend without a waiver from the Board of Education.
     

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