Del. Frank S. Turner, who has headed the House subcommittee that deals with gambling the past five years, will leave that post to become vice chairman of the full Ways & Means Committee, the
Howard County Democrat confirmed Thursday.
Michael E. Busch is expected to make that announcement, along with other committee changes, Friday.
Turner, a five-term veteran who played a central role in the House's passage of a landmark gambling expansion bill last summer, said the time had come to give up the chairmanship of the financial resources subcommittee. After the General Assembly approved the legislation in a special session last August, the voters upheld it in a referendum in November after the most expensive political campaign in Maryland history.
Over the next few years, Turner said, little remains to be done on gambling except tweaking.
"I don't think there are any more mountains to climb," he said. "At some point, you want to say enough is enough."
Through much of last year's extended debate over gambling expansion, Turner expressed skepticism about the wisdom of permitting a new casino in
Prince George's County -- which became the central issue in the referendum. At times, he became the chief target of senators and lobbyists who favored gambling expansion.
However, when Busch came to an agreement with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Gov.
Martin O'Malley on a framework for expanded gambling, Turner acted as a loyal member of the speaker's team and helped shepherd the legislation through the House.