By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday he will present to the state legislature a constitutional amendment to expand gambling.
“We’re going to go all out to get expanded gaming on the ballot,” Beshear told reporters after a two-hour parade down Capital Avenue to celebrate his inauguration to another four-year term.
Beshear, who campaigned on the issue of expanded gambling in 2007 but was unsuccessful in his attempts to push it the last four years, said he has decided to seek a constitutional amendment instead of regular legislation to expand gambling because he thinks lawmakers are more comfortable with that approach.
He said he still is working on details of an amendment and would be talking more about it in the next few days. He hinted that he may mention the subject in his inaugural speech to be presented Tuesday afternoon.
If the 2012 General Assembly approves an amendment, the issue could be presented to voters next November at the polls.
Beshear said the state needs the revenue expanded gambling would generate. He said the state has “weaknesses” that must be addressed by more money.
Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, has said he is against expanded gambling, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has said an amendment would have to start in the Senate.
Some Democrats have expressed concern that placing a gambling amendment on the ballot next year could attract more conservatives to the polls and hurt Democratic candidates. All 100 House seats and one-half of the Senate’s 38 seats are up for grabs next year.
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