Senate must "act first" on gambling bill for House to be on board with it in 2012, Stumbo says

12/07/2011 06:18 PM

The top-ranking state House Democrat said any expanded gambling measure that has a prayer in 2012 would have to start in the Senate because House Democrats still feel burned from a 2009 vote.

“The Senate would have to act first in this regard,” Stumbo said Wednesday in an interview on Pure Politics (1:50). “We have acted in good faith. We sent it over there. They killed it — just dead on arrival even though they signaled they weren’t going to do that. They were going to give it a full and fair hearing. So I think it’s up to the Senate to act first.”

The House approved a bill in a 2009 special session that allowed slot machines at race tracks. The Senate budget committee scuffled the bill before it could get to a vote on the Senate floor.

Stumbo said, so far, there haven’t been any meetings between legislative leaders and Gov. Steve Beshear over crafting an expanded gambling bill.

“I expect there will be those discussions,” Stumbo said.

Watch the video for more:

Some Republicans, such as the chairman of the Senate state government committee Sen. Damon Thayer, have said a constitutional amendment to allow gambling could pass the Senate with the necessary 23 votes. Thayer said he also prefers constitutional protections for horse racetracks, such as getting some of the revenue.

But Stumbo said it raises “a whole string of questions” to guarantee in the state’s constitution that racetracks would have to get casino licenses. A constitutional amendment also would have to be approved by a majority of voters in the next general election.

Stumbo said one counter-proposal would be a referendum-style approach so voters could approve allowing expanded gambling in the primary election — rather than the general election.

Some House Democrats have expressed concern that a constitutional amendment might gin up more conservative voters to come out to the polls.


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