Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rollins upbeat, Carroll cautious on Beshear's plan for constitutional amendment to expand gambling

Democratic state Rep. Carl Rollins of Midway, left, sees support for a constitutional amendment to expand gambling, proposed by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear in his second inaugural address yesterday, but Democratic Sen. Julian Carroll, whose district includes Woodford County, "says any proposal must be vetted before there’s a vote," Kevin Wheatley of the Frankfort State Journal reports today.

The issue is of particular interest around Midway, because it is pushed by the Thoroughbred industry as a way to keep racing horses and breeding stock from leaving Kentucky for states where slot machines and casino table games finance race purses and breeders' awards. The idea has been blocked in the Senate, where President David Williams has been its most powerful foe, but Williams lost to Beshear in last month's election and now says there are enough Senate to pass it, depending on its content.

Carroll indicated similar caution. “I think there are a lot of questions that need to be thought through before we start putting that on the ballot because it’s not a question of the right of the people to vote on the issue, but it is a question of once it’s voted on,” he told Wheatley. “I am deeply concerned about some of the influences that are going to come in here with a constitutional amendment issue, so I want to see the legislation itself before I make a commitment.”

If three-fifths of each chamber voted for an amendment in the legislative session that will run from January until April, the proposal would be put to voters on the November ballot.

Rollins "said he’s heard positive comments from fellow lawmakers regarding a constitutional amendment," but wants it to start in the Senate, which in 2009 killed a House-passed bill for slots at racetracks. “Once before we took a hard vote on it. It was hard for a lot of members, not for me, and then the Senate killed it in committee. Never even heard it,”  he told Wheatley. (Read more)

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