Legislature Unlikely to Return Early Just to Revise Slots Law
As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "The issue of whether to call the Legislature back to Harrisburg to make changes in the law legalizing slots casinos is mired in politics again. "Gov. Ed Rendell and Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate can agree on one thing: The law should be refined. But they can't agree on how to refine it and who should take the first step to renew the process. "Yesterday, Gov. Rendell reiterated his refusal to call a special session that state Sen. Jane Orie, R-McCandless, has been pushing for and urged Republican leaders in the state House and Senate to call an early end to summer vacation by returning to regular session. "A Republican leader said there's no reason to call lawmakers back into session unless they know they can reach a consensus. "Democrats accused Ms. Orie of grandstanding and blocking previous attempts at changing the law. "Ms. Orie called for a special session two weeks ago after it was revealed that a Philadelphia lobbyist had listed his children as part owners of a proposed slot-machine supply company. They have since been removed. "Ms. Orie and others want to make several changes in the slots law, including prohibiting children as potential owners; eliminating middle-man slots machine suppliers; removing a provision that allows legislators to own up to 1 percent of a gaming company; and authorizing the state attorney general's office to oversee all slots operations, including background checks and operational oversight. ...Ms. Orie said it is important for changes to be made to the July 2004 law as soon as possible because the first casino licenses are scheduled to be awarded at the end of next month..."