Kentucky Gambling Bill Fails in the Senate

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After nearly two hours of debate, the Kentucky state Senate failed to pass a bill Thursday that called for a November referendum on the issue of expanded gambling.  The bill received 16 “aye” votes, well short of the 23 needed to pass a constitutional amendment in the Senate.  There were 21 “nay” votes.

The vote was taken one day after a Senate committee approved the bill in a 7-4 vote.  Senate President David Williams fast-tracked the measure so that the full Senate would vote on it Thursday.  One senator who was expected to vote yes was not present Thursday because of a business trip.  Several Senators who had indicated they would support the bill changed their votes when it became apparent the measure would not pass.


Bill sponsor Damon Thayer and others urged their fellow Senators to give the people of Kentucky the opportunity to have their say on casino gambling. 

“I’m not a strong advocate of casinos,” Thayer said during the debate. “I don’t go to casinos, and I don’t really like them. I’m a horse racing guy… I wish as the sponsor of this bill to put this issue to rest once and for all. I trust the people of the Commonwealth.”

Opponents of the measure mostly cited concerns over gambling addiction and the moral hazards of increased gaming.

“I don’t care what the other states are doing,” said Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington. “Why would we jump off this cliff into darkness and sin and addiction? This is terrible public policy.”

Following the vote, Patrick Neely, executive director of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) said:  “Kentucky’s horse industry has undoubtedly reached a critical juncture.  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.”

Yeas

Blevins
Buford
Clark
Gibson
Harper Angel
Harris
Higdon
Palmer
Parrett
Pendleton
Rhoads
Ridley
Schickel
Shaughnessy
Stein
Thayer

Nays

Bowen
Carpenter
Carroll
Denton
Givens
Hornback
Jensen
Jones
Kerr
Leeper
McGaha
Seum
Smith
Stine
Stivers
Turner
Webb
Westwood
Williams
Wilson
Winters

» Read more at Lexington Herald-Leader
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  • BuckyinKentucky

    Google Kentucky Senate Feed Live and follow the action!
    Live!

  • jorge

    david williams is just a bitter old man

  • NSF

    Typical southern conservatives. Time to put in all of the instant racing machines AmTote can make and give that simulcast poker game a try.

  • Brownstables

    What poker game? We need all the help we can find

  • FourCats

    “Several Senators who had indicated they would support the bill changed their votes when it became apparent the measure would not pass.”

    Whether you supported the bill or not, this kind of wishy-washiness drives me nuts.  What’s the point in these Senators even being there if they’re just going to vote with the prevailing wind.  They’re more concerned in their own re-election that in doing what they think is right.

  • Wendy

    This is so disappointing.

  • Debra

    I would love to see posted which Senators voted “aye” or “nay”.

  • Georgia Antley Hunt

    Oh, come ON!!!  As a conservative, I’m insulted by this failure to allow true democracy to have its day!!!

  • David

    When you get the call (from KEEP or similar) please think about it and give to your favorite charity of choice instead.  Politics 101 in Kentucky is that if you want to get elected (or re-elected) a good first step is to have the racing industry allied against; it’s a fact so we might as well all get over it and go on.

  • Arf

    You got what you voted for, Kentucky.  Or, um, do you vote at all?

  • Bill Landes

    Better yet what about the millions David Williams’ Daddy In Law blew on him last November.  Wouldn’t that look good in a scholarship or backpack program.

  • Backontop

    Are you serious? The names are at the bottom of the article!

  • illegal_touching

    Thank You once again Sen.Williams for your continued support.

    Sincerely
    Indiana Counties with Casinos that border Kentucky
    (Dearborn, Ohio, Switzerland, Harrison, and Vanderburgh)
    XOXO

  • Guest

    Lol…Bible Belt fools deserve the miserable lives that they have; karma for slavery!

    Redtucky…:)

  • Watcher

    The “leaders” of the Kentucky TB industry need to put their money where their mouths are by funding a Super PAC to elect state reps who will let the people decide on this issue.
     
    Where are the Farish’s, Clays, Hancocks, Becks, Hughes, Jones, Bankes, Troutts, Waldens, and the Emirates folk? 
     
    A $20 million war chest would go far to fight our industry’s battles.
     

  • Don Reed

    What was the morning line and the off-odds on the proposition that the bill would pass?

  • nomoralcompass

    What did you expect, intelligence, reason, or common sense? Kentucky isn’t going to give people they can’t stand, a free lunch. This is a despised and hated industry in Kentucky, even in Lexington. We constantly underestimate the animosity most people in the commonwealth feel towards the industry.

  • illegal_touching

    I had a little hope; guess I was stupid or too much Bud Light Platinum now it feels like this year will be a dispersal of Kentucky circuit horses to racinos with the highest purses and most lucrative owner/breeder awards after the Derby.

  • Buglet

    Well…my morning line was 6-5 against, then after the committee vote, it was 4-5 for, then at the off, it was even money. Very fluid, controversial bill to amend the constitution.

    I was very surprised with the land-slide victory against this bill.

  • Rachel

    Hey, we can’t get it put up before the people here in New Hampshire, either, and we’re supposed to be the “live free or die” state…it really ticks me off when the legislature is afraid to let the people decide.

  • Rachel

    Ummm, it fell way short of the votes needed (like Democrats) and the main sponsor of the bill was a (gasp) republican…so it was a total bi=partisan failure

  • Petey Green

    It’s amazing to me that some self-righteous, hick lawyer from a small, conservative county in southern Kentucky can make decisions that so heavily impact the totality of the state and its signature industry. David Williams’ actions in calling for this vote a day after it exited committee defies logical explanation. It is an obvious, transparent attempt by an elected official to protect his agenda by abusing his position and keep the fair and DEMOCRATIC process from progressing. This in the face of his overwhelming defeat at the hands of Kentucky voters during his ill-fated run for governor. Guess he wants to stroke his ego and embrace what political clout he has left at the expense of the thousands of people who work in the Kentucky horse industries.

    In my opinion David “Blackjack” Williams is a coward, a hypocrite and everything that is wrong with professional politicians. I can’t wait until he slinks back to the cave in the hills from which he emerged.

  • Bellwether

    WILLIAMS WOULD BEE RITE @ HOME WITH THE AFGHANISTAN TALIBAN…

  • Stanley inman

    As a Kentucky horseman I can assure you that this bill’s defeat was not because kentuckians dont care about racing (the sport) but rather because they find the BUSINESS of racing to be so sordid.

    A workforce comprised of illegals because the industry leadership refuses to take care of it’s own; virtually every starter getting the needle before every race while industry leadership looks the other way claiming horses “need” to be medicated; kentuckians watch churchill invest in casinos in Mississippi, while claiming they can’t afford better purses in Louisville.

    While our leaders refuse to address the substantive issues responsible for our decline, the avg Kentuckian sees “the big picture” quite clearly; they just don’t buy the BS from the bankrupt ideas of our lazy leaders.
    Don’t worry about Kentucky, the sport has been around here longer than west Virginia, Pennsylvania and the rest, whose 15 minutes of fame are almost over. It’s not about business it’s about the horse And SPORT.

  • Bellwether

    ps…THOSE DUMB DUMB’s JUST SMACKED THE VOTERS N THE FACE BABY!!!…U PEOPLE NEED TO RAISE SOME HELL OUT THERE???…ty…

  • Bellwether

    AMEN…R THEY THAT TIGHT???…PLEASE…ty…

  • Bellwether

    THEY WOULD “STOP THE MUSIC” IF THEY COULD ALL OVER THE NATION & THE PEOPLE KEEP PUT N THESES JERKS N OFFICE!!!…PLEASE…AMERCIAN TALIBAN IS WHAT THEY R…

  • Bellwether

    ITS ALL ABOUT “THE VOTE” STAN…CUT & DRY!!!…LET THE PEOPLE STAND UP IF THEY DARE!!!…ty…

  • CB

    So the little rinky dink track in Franklin that people with no Kentucky connections bought to try to open a casino close to Nashville won’t have slots.

    Good!

    And good for the people of Nashville and all of Kentucky who won’t suffer the murders, embezzlements, bankruptcies, broken homes, bank robberies and other social ills that gambling has broug too places like Memphis.

  • David

    Home rule may be the only way Jefferson County will ever have an ounce of control on issues and stem the tide of net outflow of tax dollars.  LOL on that one.  Twain was right about Kentucky and, worse, it’s proud of it.  Steve may be the Gov but a guy like Williams will always be king of a band of idiots willing to follow.  Pitiful.

  • Bob C

    ATTENTION KENTUCKY HBPA—Want to get a gambling bill passed?  Boycott the entry box during Derby Week.  Drastic measure?  You bet it is, but drastic times call for drastic action.  It’s time to tell David Williams and the rest of the fools in Frankfort that the tail doesn’t wag the dog.  Stand up for your industry!!!

  • Elktonstable

    This failure was an unfortunately predictable outcome. Mr Inman’s comments are dead accurrate in regard to his own State. Public image improvement is priority number one for our entire industry.

  • Noelle

    Darkness and sin and addiction?  Senator Alice Forgy Kerr’s comment illustrates perfectly why the Republican party is failing nationwide.

  • Harry Buchanan

    Senator Alice Forgy Kerr is exactly what is wrong with politicians. They only care about their OWN views. I believe they are elected by the people of Kentucky to look out for the residents of Kentucky. She says gambling (casinos) bring sin and addiction. Its okay to play KENO at the neigborhood bar or play Lottery everyday in hope of changing your life. But according to Senator it is NOT okay to take a trip to a casino because iit is sinful. “If you don’t like casino’s stay home.Nobody has a gun to your head forcing you to go or do anything you don’t agree.” Senator Kerr forget about your OWN views and think about the thousands of jobs that could be affected if race tracks in Kentucky fold. Try thinking about the fate of the folks that put you in office in the first place. Unfortunately there are many Senator Kerr’s holding public office that could care less about residents of Kentucky and more about their antiquated views. Kentucky residents keep this in mind when the next election occurs.

  • Forthegood

    Totally agree with you Harry.  It seems politics has evolved to be much more about elected officials wielding power for selfish concerns or to impose their own righteous personal values as to how they think people should live their lives.  In the end people continue to struggle. It is a system that no longer works as it was intended.

  • BigPete

    Thank you for turning Turfway Park into a strip mall, there aren’t enough of those in the area. To be a respectable region, that region must have at least 300 strip malls within 10 miles of each other.  We are now 1 strip mall closer.  Occupancy of buildings located in the strip malls is not mandatory.

  • 3875waldo

    “Buglet” voted “Best Internet Alias of 2012!

    I’m waiting for JuneBugLet (JuneBuggy?) to be a contender on the track.  Much better name than that mess currently running, “Junebuggered” or whatever it is.  Ugh.

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