"It's a very divisive issue. It's been a very painful issue and I think we need to go on," says State Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville.
With a vote of 21 to 16, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to kill the casino gambling bill Thursday. 23 votes were needed to move the proposed constitutional amendment forward. The proposal would have allowed up to seven casinos in the state. Democratic Governor Steve Beshear's proposal was introduced by State Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, last week.
"It's not done very often, to take on your own leadership and your own caucus, to do something you believe in and that's what I did. I think there's been an effort to convince people to vote no over the last few weeks and the vote tally showed that," explains Sen. Thayer.
Sen. Thayer, along with State Senate Minority Leader RJ Palmer, D-Winchester, were trying to get the vote delayed until Friday because one of the bill's supporters, State Senator Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, was out of town. Governor Beshear said in a statement he was "upset that several of the Senators who publicly said they would support letting the people decide did not follow through." He continued by saying, "I am also disappointed that Sen. Williams chose to sabotage the chance for our citizens to decide by scheduling the vote for today, when he knew that a Senator who planned to vote 'yes' would not be in town."
But, Sen. Williams says Sen. Neal's presence wouldn't have made a difference.
"This bill, not only, didn't get a constitutionally-required 23 votes, it didn't even get the majority votes," says Sen. Williams.
Martin Cothran with the The Family Foundation is also happy about the bill's death. He released a statement saying, "it was a bi-partisan repudiation of the very idea that rich industry should be able to engrave its name on our state's most important governing document."
And Sen. Williams hopes this will be end of expanding gambling in the state.
"Hopefully, we can go on and address the important issues in the State of Kentucky. This budget is going to be a real challenge," says
However, Governor Beshear also called this "a good omen for the future of expanded gaming" and says he "looks forward to continuing to work with the legislature to address this issue."