EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republican meets with Gov. on expanded gaming - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republican meets with Gov. on expanded gaming

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FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - The horse racing industry sponsored a survey that showed a majority of Kentuckians want to be able to vote on expanded gaming.  On Wednesday Gov. Steve Beshear said he wants a bill to start in the Senate, the same place it died last time. He did not say which senators he was talking to or from what party, however, WAVE 3 got a tip that he met with the Chair of the State & Local Government Committee Thursday and was the only television station to interview him.

"I believe that the Governor and I have the same goal and that is to get this issue on the ballot next November," said Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown.

In his year-in-review press conference Wednesday Beshear said he's pushing for expanded gaming again, but this time the bill will start in the Senate. He would not say with whom he was working.

"We're still planning that strategy," said Beshear.

On Thursday Thayer says they had a "working lunch."

"Just the two of us," said Thayer.

Thayer has a history of working in the horse racing industry, but not of working with the Governor.

"The last 2.5 years the relations between the Governor and me and really the Governor and the Senate have been pretty frosty," said Thayer.

He says the meeting was a "good first step."  Thayer sponsored a bill in 2010 to let Kentuckians decide if they want more gambling, but it never went to the floor for a vote.  He predicts things could be different this go around and it could pass out of the Chamber.

"I haven't done a vote count, but I have an idea that I think it's close," said Thayer.

Thayer says he will continue talking to the governor and leadership in both chambers to come up with a compromise, but isn't set on sponsoring it.

"I haven't made that decision yet," said Thayer.

A freshman representative from Louisville is, however taking that chance.  Rep. Mike Nemes, R-Louisville, prefiled a bill earlier this month that also allows voters to amend the constitution.

"I'm trying to get an appointment with the Governor," said Nemes.  "When I talked to him or seen him, he said-- I liked your bill, we'll get together, and we have not done that yet."

The Governor appears to be reaching across the aisle to get this through because both of these legislators are Republicans.

The session starts Tuesday and Beshear will address the General Assembly Wednesday night.  

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