KY Gaming Bill Sidetracked by Filing Deadline

Officials still plan to introduce a constitutional amendment on casino gambling.

A lawsuit over legislative redistricting and the resulting extension of the filing deadline for the November election has stalled action on a constitutional amendment on expanded gambling in Kentucky.

The filing deadline for the November 2012 election has been pushed back by the Franklin County Circuit Court pending a hearing on a lawsuit challenging redistricting approved by the House of Representatives and Senate and signed by Gov. Steve Beshear. Lawmakers bristle at having to vote on controversial issues before the filing deadline.

Beshear, a Democrat, had said he planned to move the gambling bill the week of Jan. 29. The sponsor would be Republican Sen. Damon Thayer.

“It’s a controversial bill,” Thayer said Feb. 2. “There is too much uncertainty with this redistricting lawsuit, and until things settle down there is no sense in moving forward with (the gambling amendment). We still have plenty of time.”

The 60-day General Assembly session still has about 40 days to go.

The governor’s office said it remains committed to moving the gambling bill during the 2012 session.

“As the governor said before, there is still a considerable amount of time in the legislative calendar for legislators to consider the gaming amendment once it is filed,” Kerri Richardson, a spokeswoman for Beshear, said Feb. 2. “It’s too early to speculate on what impact, if any, the judge’s decision on redistricting may have on all business before the legislature.”

The language of the gambling amendment hasn’t been publicly discussed, though it is believed the objective is a mix of racetrack and non-racetrack casinos.