Thursday, December 10, 2009

PA Dem Leaders Decide to Delay Vote on Table Games

State-related universities will have to wait at least another week for funding.
Pennsylvania House Democratic leaders canceled today’s voting session, saying too many of the caucus’ members weren’t able to show up.
At the close of Wednesday’s House session, Democratic leader Todd Eachus said the chamber would spend the next day debating and voting on a bill to legalize table games at Pennsylvania’s casinos.
Speaker Keith McCall admitted on Wednesday he was still looking for the votes to pass the measure, but Democratic spokesman Brett Marcy says enough support has now been rounded up.
Marcy says the bill could have passed Wednesday night, if Republicans hadn’t spent several hours debating parliamentary issues.

"I mean, it was patently obvious all night last night that Republicans were not interested in progress. They were not interested in compromise. They were not interested in bipartisanship. And if they were interested in getting the nonpreferreds done then they sure didn’t show it last night."

Republicans want the House to approve funding for state-related universities before it addresses table games. Bucks County Representative Katharine Watson says a vote to fund state-related universities needs to happen soon.
"Gambling has its own life to take, and table games. It is not related to students attending school. It really isn’t. Gambling and higher education, in anyone’s dictionary or thesaurus, they are not synonyms. They have no direct, or even indirect relationship."

But Democrats say that isn’t possible – they argue expanded gaming needs to be approved in order to generate the money necessary to pay the schools. Watson and other Republicans insist there’s enough money to fund the state-related schools without passing table games. That would involve tapping into a 350-million dollar surplus that’s been set aside for next year’s budget.
House Democratic leaders and Governor Rendell say they’re not willing to do that.
The Thursday session was canceled, though, and the House won’t meet again until Monday.
Governor Rendell says if the table games bill isn’t passed by the end of the month, he may have to lay off more state workers.

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