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Veto Recess Begins In Frankfort

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

The 2009 session of the Kentucky General Assembly is in a two-week recess to give Governor Steve Beshear time to consider possible vetoes.

Lawmakers return on March 26, and the session ends on the 27th. But House Speaker Greg Stumbo is already predicting a special session may be necessary in June to address budget concerns. If so, he hopes lawmakers will pass his video slots bill, which he says could raise hundreds of millions of new tax dollars for the state.

But even if there is a special session, Senate President David Williams doubts Stumbo’s bill will fly.

“We have at least one additional vote in the Senate now, on the Democratic side that’s not going to vote for any expansion of gaming. And that makes the numbers, as small as our membership is – one or two or three votes make a difference,” Williams said.

Only Governor Beshear can call a special session, if he and lawmakers agree one is needed.

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Slots Bill Gets Hearing In Frankfort; No Action Taken

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

The 2009 Kentucky General Assembly may be winding down, but that didn’t stop House leaders from holding one last hearing on video slots legislation.

Kentucky horse industry representatives say states with video slots at horse tracks are out-competing Kentucky tracks by offering bigger race day purses. They predict video slots at Kentucky tracks could generate $328 million in state tax revenue in the first year of operation. That’s why House Speaker Greg Stumbo is touting his bill allowing video lottery terminals at eight Kentucky tracks.

“We are simply trying to formulate a plan that if the General Assembly chooses, that we will have the best plan to go forward with that we possibly can,” Stumbo said.

Stumbo appears to be priming the pump for action on the slots bill this summer–if there’s a special session on the budget–or in 2010. The bill emerged from a House committee this session then was recommitted to the Budget Committee, where it received a late-hour hearing, but no action.