Williams says if casino bill gets 22 votes Thurs., he'll call it back up Fri. for a chance at 23

02/23/2012 10:16 AM

Senate President David Williams told 84-WHAS radio’s Mandy Connell on Thursday that if the casino bill fell one vote short of passage on Thursday, he’d make a motion to bring it back on Friday.

Williams made the concession as casino bill supporters moved to delay the vote until Friday because at least two Democratic senators who support the bill won’t be attending Thursday afternoon’s session.

Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville had planned to be absent on business, Sen. R.J. Palmer of Winchester told Pure Politics on Wednesday.

But the vote on the constitutional amendment is set for Thursday on the floor — the day it will receive its third required public reading.

“The majority of the Senate Republican caucus wants to vote today,” said a statement issued later by Williams office. “… No excuses. The proponents have asked and demanded a floor vote. It is today.”

Lourdes Baez-Schrader, spokeswoman for Williams, said Williams will call the bill back up on Friday if it falls short by just one vote and needs Neal.

However, another Democratic senator, Sen. Joey Pendleton of Hopkinsville, plans to miss the Thursday afternoon session as well in order to attend the meeting of the Kentucky State Fair Board to support the board’s CEO and president, Harold Workman. Workman’s future is up in the air as Gov. Steve Beshear has been “in discussions” with board members about Workman’s future.

Baez-Schrader said the vote won’t wait for Pendleton because he isn’t a member of the board and “does not have to be there.”

“Everyone makes choices. They’re getting paid as legislators whether they’re here or not,” Baez-Schrader said.

Getting to 22 votes on Thursday without Neal and Pendleton looks to be a tough fight for casino proposals, especially if Eastern Kentucky Democratic senators Ray Jones and Johnny Ray Turner, are not on board. Turner voted for the bill in committee but said he reserved his right to vote against it on the Senate floor.

Williams also said in the statement that Turner will be attending a funeral on Thursday but planned to vote against the bill anyway.

Turner was not available for comment.


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