Friday, October 28, 2005

If Only Denny Jacobs Were Still Here

The (67-42-7)passage of Rep. John Bradley's HB1920(by the House) brought about the nominal beginning of the end for riverboat gambling as we know it, but Rep John Fritchey and others are far from convinced. (Fritchey, for the record, voted "present.") The Speaker's "yes" vote alone should cast doubt on the ability of the bill to accomplish anything meaningful, though diehard gambling advocate Lou Lang was not swayed, nor were Leader Cross and Rep. Julie Hamos, among others.

Voting yes were a diverse coalition of social conservatives and good government moderates, Tenhouse and Myers among the former and Coulson and Jakobbson(I know I may be misspelling it) some of the latter(although Bassi broke ranks and voted yes). It was roundly rejected by the delegation from Metro East, home of a thriving gaming industry.

I haven't seen any speculation as to whether or not the governor would sign the bill(presming it passes the Senate), though I suppose he's playing his cards close to his chest, no pun intended. Legislation in recent years has diluted restrictions on riverboat gambling by increasing the number of licenses and allowing it to take place on vessels that never leave harbor. The governor's gambling tax hikes may have strained his relations with the gambling industry and, particularly in an election year, any sweeping reform in this area would be unwise. However, one wonders if this effort isn't a lot like Blago's other initiatives:completely meangingless.

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