Casino supporters in Senate want delay on vote because two senators will be absent Thursday

02/22/2012 05:07 PM

Senate Republican leaders plan to press forward with a vote on the constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling on Thursday over the request of the measure’s sponsor and Democratic leader to delay because two Democrats likely to support the bill will be absent.

Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Sen. R.J. Palmer, the Democratic leader from Winchester, told Pure Politics that they asked Republican floor leader Robert Stivers not to call Senate Bill 151 for a vote on Thursday.

Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, will be out of town on business and Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville, won’t be in Frankfort on Thursday either, Palmer said.

Palmer said Neal had a business trip planned and wouldn’t be back until Friday morning at the earliest. Palmer said he believe Senate Republican leaders would wait until at least Friday to call the measure up for a vote.

“They have been true to their word about having an open process so far. I don’t know why they would make this any different,” Palmer said.

But a spokeswoman for Senate President David Williams said the vote on the casino bill is scheduled to happen as planned.

“It will have had its three readings,” said spokeswoman Lourdes Baez-Schrader.

As sponsor of the constitutional amendment, Thayer said he made a personal appeal to Stivers to wait until at least Friday for the vote. Stivers was “non-committal,” Thayer said. “He said he would take it under advisement.”

“All I’m asking for is a fair floor vote with all members present,” he said. “This issue is too important. The people of Kentucky deserve to know that this was a fair vote.”

Thayer said his first move will be to request that the bill be passed over. A majority of senators present could vote to pass it over until Friday. He said beyond that, “all options are on the table.”

Casino supporters could stage a walk-out to prevent the Senate from having a quorum. But that would take at least 20 senators because a quorum requires a majority of the elected senators. The Senate has 38 members.

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