A bill to expand gambling at Kentucky's racetracks cleared its first hurdle.
On Thursday afternoon, the measure sailed through a committee vote and now it's up to the full house to decide what will happen next.
The appeal before one of the largest committees in state government centered on a promise that VLT slots money will build millions of dollars in new schools.
“It can give us the largest school building initiative that we’ve had in Kentucky, since the School Facilities Construction Commission was created,” said Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond.
Moberly was one of three who spoke in favor of the legislation before the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Thursday afternoon.
After nearly two hours of discussion and debate, the house committee approved the bill 19 to 9.
“People understand now in Frankfort, here in the General Assembly, that our racing industry is in trouble,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo after the vote.
The vote was not along party lines. 4 Republicans voted for it. 3 democrats voted against it.
“Since today we’re not considering allowing the people to vote, I gave that promise at home and gave my word, I vote no,” said Rep. Jimmie Lee, D-Elizabethtown.
Budget chairman Rick Rand didn’t allow anyone to testify against the bill, saying that was allowed Wednesday. But after the vote, Family Foundation spokesman Dave Edmunds gave his presentation to a mostly empty room. He calls the process of promising school construction projects slot trot.
“Construction of school project being held over lawmakers heads to buy votes,” said Edmunds.
Now the measure heads to the full house floor where 51 votes are needed to advance it to the Senate.