Passed out of Committee yesterday and forced to a vote today, the Casino Gambling Bill failed 16 Yeas to 21 Neighs, with one very important vote not cast.
REPUBLICANS — Buford, Nicholasville; Gibson, Leitchfield; Harris, Crestwood; Higdon, Lebanon; Schickel, Union; Thayer, Georgetown.
DEMOCRATS — Blevins, Morehead; Clark, Louisville; Harper Angel, Louisville; Palmer, Winchester; Parrett, Elizabethtown; Pendleton, Hopkinsville; Rhoads, Madisonville; Ridley, Henderson; Shaughnessy, Louisville; Stein, Lexington.
REPUBLICANS — Bowen, Owensboro; Carpenter, Berea; Denton, Louisville; Givens, Greensburg; Hornback, Shelbyville; Jensen, London; Kerr, Lexington; McGaha, Russell Springs; Seum, Louisville; Smith, Hazard; Stine, Southgate; Stivers, Manchester; Westwood, Erlanger; Williams, Burkesville; Wilson, Bowling Green; Winters, Murray.
DEMOCRATS — Carroll, Frankfort; Jones, Pikeville; Turner, Prestonsburg; Webb, Grayson.
INDEPENDENTS — Leeper, Paducah.
DEMOCRATS — Neal, Louisville.
The Bill needed 23 votes to pass and obviously fell well short of that — they needed those four Dems, the missing vote and two Republicans, or some similar combo.
Thayer fought to delay the vote as Sen. Neal could not be there but Williams went on with it and got what he wanted — a double whammy, screwing the Governor who trounced him in November and flipping the bird to the state that so roundly rejected him.
The bill would not have legalized gambling, just put it on the ballot in November for the people to vote on, an option polls from the horse industry and even the republican party showed the people strongly favored. (Though it was never clear if the Amendment would have passed that popular vote.)
Some of the thinking goes that certain people who’d said they’d put the bill over the top were only willing to cast their Yeses if the Bill had the votes to assure victory. When Sen. Neal couldn’t make it — he was out of town — the pledged supporters fell away, not wanting to lend their voices to a controversial losing effort.
The Herald has the story, including:
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.”
The missing Senator, Neal, says he was out of town. David Williams says Neal skipped out on the vote to attend the Michelle Obama event in Louisville. Neal voted yesterday in Committee in favor of the bill.
Beshear put on if not a poker face at least a brave one. In a statement:
“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.
I am also disappointed that Sen. 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.
However, for the very first time, we were able to get this issue considered by the state Senate, and I appreciate the bipartisan cooperation of Sen. Thayer and others, which allowed that to happen.
This is a good omen for the future of expanded gaming in our state, and I look forward to continuing to work with the legislature to address this issue.”
Alice Forgy Kerr, Senator from Lexington, took to the floor and gave a little speech (with a shout out to her brother Larry):
“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.”
She’s not up for re-election until 2014 after she squeeked by Don Blevins back in 2010.
What’ll happen next? Can Beshear pull a rabbit out of his hat, or a lucky horseshoe? Or do we move on to revising the state’s tax system?