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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Breaking News: Kentucky Senate "Deep Sixes" Proposed Gambling Constitutional Amendment, Giving Oponents The "Quick Death" They Wanted.

Kentucky Senate defeats casino gambling bill
By Janet Patton

(Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, right, the bill's sponsor, spoke before his "yes" vote during a session of the Kentucky senate to vote on the expanded gambling amendment bill on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 in Frankfort, Ky. Seated left is Senate President David Williams. Girls in background are Rachel Hicks, 12, left, Anna Collopy, 10, and Rebecca Collopy, 13, all of Ft. Thomas. They were pages for a day.)

FRANKFORT — The Republican-controlled Senate rejected casino gambling in Kentucky on Thursday, defeating a constitutional amendment that would have allowed voters to decide the issue in November.

The bill died on a 16-to-21 vote, with one Senator absent.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's proposal, introduced by Republican Sen. Damon Thayer of Georgetown, would have allowed up to seven casinos around the state. Provisions to limit five of the casinos to racetrack locations were stripped from the bill in committee on Wednesday.

"I want to congratulate Senate President Williams," Thayer said after the vote. "He has orchestrated the defeat of this amendment and he deserves credit for doing that."

Williams did not speak on the Senate floor but he opposed the bill.

Thayer and Senate Minority Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, pressed to have the vote delayed because Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, was out of town.

Without that pro-gambling vote, Palmer said before the Senate came into session, the bill could not garner the necessary 23 votes to pass a constitutional amendment.

Williams, R-Burkesville, said earlier in the day that if supporters could get 22 votes for the bill he would delay final action until Friday, but it fell well shy of that mark.

"It's over," Williams said afterward.

The governor, who defeated Williams to win re-election, also blamed the senate president.

"Obviously, I am disappointed that several of the senators who had publicly said they would support letting the people decide did not follow through on their commitment to our citizens," Beshear said in a statement afterward. "I am also disappointed that Senator Williams chose to sabotage the chance for our citizens to decide by scheduling the vote for today, when he knew that a senator who planned to vote 'yes' would not be in town."

The Senate debated the issue for more than two hours, with several senators, including Sen. Alice Forgy-Kerr, R-Lexington; Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville; and Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, making impassioned personal pleas against the legislation, which they said would hurt Kentucky families.

But Thayer and Palmer argued the bill was necessary for the horse industry, which Thayer said is under attack from other states like New York that have casino-fueled purses and breeders incentives.

Patrick Neely, spokesman for the Kentucky Equine Education Project, also expressed disappointment on behalf of horsemen.

"Kentucky's horse industry has undoubtedly reached a critical juncture," Neely said in a statement. "We therefore challenge those elected officials who professed support for Kentucky's signature horse industry, but voted against the bill, to help us find solutions to our industry's significant competitive disadvantage."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/02/23/2080851/gambling-bill-doesnt-have-votes.html#storylink=cpy

Editor's note: 21 no – 16 yes (Bill needed 23 yes votes to pass Senate)

Who voted (a yes vote is for the proposed amendment to be placed on a ballot)?

YES:
Buford (R-Nicholasville), Gibson (R-Leitchfield), Harris (R-Crestwood), Higdon (R-Lebanon), Schickel (R-Union), Thayer (R-Georgetown), Blevins (D-Morehead), Clark (D-Louisville) Harper Angel (D-Louisville) Palmer (D-Winchester), Parrett (D-Elizabethtown), Pendleton (D-Hopkinsville), Rhoads (D-Madisonville), Ridley (D-Henderson), Shaughnessy (D-Louisville). Stein (D-Lexington).

NO: Bowen (R-Owensboro), Carpenter (R-Berea), Denton (R-Louisville). Givens (R-Greensburg), Hornback (R-Shelbyville), Jensen (R-London), Kerr (R-Lexington), McGaha (R-Russell Springs), Seum (R-Louisville), Smith (R-Hazard), Stine (R-Southgate), Stivers (R-Manchester), Westwood (R-Erlanger), Williams (R-Burkesville), Wilson (R-Bowling Green), Winters (R-Murray), Carroll (D-Frankfort), Jones (D-Pikeville), Turner (D-Prestonsburg), Webb (D-Grayson), Leeper (I-Paducah).

DID NOT VOTE: Neal (D-Louisville).

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