Governor Finally Unveils Casino Plan

Gov. Steve Beshear’s long awaited casino gambling bill has finally been unveiled nearly halfway through the General Assembly’s 60-day session. He and Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, announced the plan in a press conference in the capitol rotunda today.

As expected, it is a terrible bill that calls for a constitutional amendment allowing up to  seven casinos across the Commonwealth — five at racetracks and two in other locations that are at least 60 miles away from any racetrack. The bill will be assigned to the Senate’s Committee on State and Local Government, which Thayer chairs,  for consideration.

The bill must receive three fifths approval in both houses of the General Assembly before a referendum can be placed on the November ballot. In the Senate, that means the governor must win approval from 23 senators. The governor says he has the votes he needs. The Family Foundation of Kentucky says it can only identify 19 votes in the governor’s favor.

That means the pressure on senators will be intense in the next few days. Count on the deep-pocketed gambling industry to use every tactic available to lobby senators and generate phone calls supporting the bill.

That means it is especially important for citizens of goodwill who are concerned about the political games being played in Frankfort and who do not want to see casinos sucking millions of dollars out of our state’s economy to call the legislative message line in Frankfort. Now is the time when the danger is the greatest and when calls are the most important so if you have been delaying or procrastinating, please do not do so any longer.

If you have already called your individual senator, please call again, but this time ask for your message to be delivered to all senators.

The number is 1-800-372-7181. It will only take a few minutes. A courteous receptionist for the legislative message line will answer and get your name and address. You then just need to give a simple but polite message like, “Please vote ‘no’ on expanded gambling.”

The messages that senators receive on issues are then put on green slips of paper and delivered to the senator’s office where they are sorted based on the issue and the message of the caller. Legislators tell us repeatedly about how important these “green slips” are for communicating how constituents feel about an issue. Legislators can see just by the size of the stacks whether their constituents favor, oppose or just don’t really care about an issue.

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