Pennsylvania Governor Rendell says if the General Assembly doesn’t pass a table games bill by the end of the year, he’ll have to lay off more state workers.
The House debated until 11 o’clock last night, but failed to make any progress on the measure.
Before debate on the bill began, Speaker Keith McCall admitted he didn’t have the votes yet to pass the Democrats’ version of a bill legalizing table games in Pennsylvania’s casinos.
The first few hours of Wednesday's session were devoted to parliamentary squabbles.
Republican Whip Mike Turzai and Democratic Majority Leader Todd Eachus both took part in a debate over whether McCall was trying to skirt House rules by allowing amendments on the bill.
(Turzai) "Why am I not surprised that this kind of procedural gamesmanship would be played on the expanded gambling bill?"
(Eachus) "Anyone in this chamber who didn’t realize this is coming had to be on Mars."
Governor Rendell says he “never thought” it would take so long to approve the introduction of craps, blackjack and other games, and warns if the measure doesn’t pass by January 1, he’ll need to trim 200 million dollars from the state’s budget.
"When we cut government operations there’s only two things to cut: purchasing outside contracts or personnel costs. There’s not enough left in any of those lines. So when you say cut other areas you’re essentially saying layoffs."
McCall says the House will stay in session until the bill passes. The House returned to session this morning.