Could a gambling amendment have an easier path in the Senate than the House?

01/03/2012 08:15 AM

Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown said Monday that after meeting with Gov. Steve Beshear last week that he is “on the same page” with the governor about passing a constitutional amendment to allow gambling in Kentucky.

Thayer, the Senate’s state government committee chairman, stopped short of saying he was running point on the issue in the Senate. But he did say he would going over the details and options for the wording of a constitutional amendment with his fellow Senate Republicans on Wednesday.

Thayer said it’s too soon to know if the necessary three-fifths of the votes — 23 of them — are there in the Senate to approve a constitutional amendment. That won’t be known until a draft is released.

But Thayer sounded more hopeful than Beshear’s fellow Democrat, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

Stumbo, who served as attorney general from 2003 through 2007, has long maintained that Kentucky doesn’t need to change its constitution to allow gambling. He wrote an attorney general opinion to that effect, saying that the commonwealth’s constitutional debates more than a century ago made it clear that only the lottery was explicitly barred by the final constitution.

Still, Stumbo told Pure Politics on Monday that he and the House Democrats would be open minded about a gambling amendment.

Stumbo has said that he thought a constitutional amendment would have to start in the Senate because the House passed a bill to allow slots at tracks in 2009 only to watch the Senate reject it.


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