Thayer open to trying again for casinos using lessons learned from 2012

08/01/2012 06:19 PM

Republican state Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown said he would be open to trying again for a constitutional amendment to allow casinos with some provisions being pushed by House Democrats.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, recently told Pure Politics that House Democrats would rather see local communities have the option to vote to accept a casino and wants to see competitive bidding for the casino licenses. (Thayer reacts to that starting at 5:30 of the video.)

The interview began with Thayer giving his reaction to Tuesday’s resignation of Republican U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, who stepped down for family reasons. (0:01- 1:55)

Thayer also offered a detailed breakdown of the myriad problems that led to the failure in March of the constitutional amendment he carried on behalf of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. The measure fell seven votes shy in the Senate for several reasons:

  • Senate President David Williams “wanted to show he could beat Steve Beshear,” Thayer said. (8:40)
  • The bill’s language, specifically the provision that barred casinos from being built within 60 miles of a horse racetrack. “I like that idea, but the fact of the matter is that there’s a significant constitutional problem with a protection like that. And it cost us a couple of votes,” Thayer said. (2:50)
  • The scheduling of the vote for a Thursday when one co-sponsor, Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville, was going to be out of town. “It was the decision of the (Republican) caucus but it was led by President Williams, there’s no doubt about that,” Thayer said. (3:50)

That started a domino effect, Thayer said, which cost any shot of getting to the necessary 23 votes. “I think the pressure would have been on a couple of Republicans who campaigned on letting the people decide,” he said. (4:30)

  • Political confusion, such as four Democrats breaking from the governor to vote against it, and controversy over the governor’s effort to oust the head of the Kentucky Fair Board, which angered some senators. (5:00)


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