Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Gambling measure “dead on arrival” in General Assembly says advocacy group after Beshear speech

Last night's press release:


January 7, 2014

LEXINGTON—The Family Foundation said that Gov. Steve Beshear's proposal in tonight's State of the Commonwealth address to seek another Constitutional amendment to expand gambling was unrealistic and at odds with many of his other proposals. "The General Assembly has told the casino industry 'No' about fifteen times now,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation. “We need to move on to other, more important issues."

"The proposal to expand gambling is effectively dead on arrival in this session. There is a politically volatile situation in the House that is also going to make it very difficult to deal with any controversial issues this session. With Republicans within striking distance of a majority in the House, it would be political suicide for many members to vote on a measure that is going to make a lot of their constituents angry."

Cothran pointed to House Speaker Greg Stumbo's non-committal remarks on expanded gambling after the speech as further evidence of the poor chances the proposal has. "Speaker Stumbo wasn't exactly cheerleading for the proposal. If the Speaker isn't excited about the proposal, it's hard to imagine the measure has much of a chance at all."

If the Governor was really serious about issues like tax reform, Cothran said, he would leave the gambling issue alone this session. "If we get into another fight over gambling, it will suck up all the political oxygen needed to address tax reform or any other major initiative."

The Governor also spent much of his speech on health care issues, which Cothran portrayed as a strange irony: "We're wondering about the health benefits of thousands of Kentuckians sitting at slot machines at casinos with a cigarette in one hand and drink in the other. The governor bemoaned the state's low standing in smoking and cancer. Why would he want to add gambling addiction to the litany of social problems in this state?"


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