Beshear wants constitutional amendment for gambling but hasn't finalized a 'strategy'

12/13/2011 12:29 PM

(UPDATED WITH REACTION) FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday he will push for an amendment to the Kentucky constitution to allow expanded gambling but hasn’t finalized the details for what it would entail or what would be most likely to pass both legislative chambers.

“I think more senators and representatives will feel comfortable voting for an amendment than just regular legislation,” Beshear added.

House Democratic leaders have said any gambling measure must start in the Senate. The House passed a statutory change to allow slots at racetracks during a 2009 special session only to see the measure die in a Senate committee.

House Democratic Floor Leader Rocky Adkins told Pure Politics on Tuesday that he didn’t know what specific language of a constitutional amendment might have the best chance of passing both the House and Senate with the required support of three-fifths of each chamber.

Republicans in the legislature have said they would be most likely to support a constitutional amendment, depending on the language. Many like that voters would have to ratify a constitutional amendment.

Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, predicted more House Republicans would support a constitutional amendment than the eight who voted in favor of the slots at tracks bill. But the House GOP caucus remains largely split, as answers by Koenig and Rep. Michael Meredith, R-Brownsville, show:

Beshear also told a gaggle of reporters after the inaugural parade Tuesday morning that he hadn’t yet spoken to Senate President David Williams, the Republican Beshear defeated in last month’s election.

He said his staff was in the process of setting up that meeting “possibly for next week.”

Williams and House Speaker Greg Stumbo agreed to serve as marshals of the grand march that will take place in the Capitol Tuesday night after Beshear’s swearing-in ceremony.

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