In the American state of Georgia, proposed legislation that could have seen voters asked to permit the licensing of up to two resort casinos is dead for at least a year after failing to make it out of an influential government committee.
Initiated by Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach and known as Senate Bill 79, the proposed measure would have seen residents of the southern state balloted for the purpose of authorizing the licensing of a pair of large casinos with these venues required to pay a 20% tax on their gaming revenues. The legislation would have also earmarked the proceeds from this duty to a range of interests including the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) merit-based secondary education scholarship and grant program alongside a new needs-based college scholarship fund.
However, the Republican legislator’s measure has failed to gather enough support to pass through the 14-member Regulated Industries And Utilities Committee with Beach revealing that he is now set to spend the next year visiting with local clubs, education leaders and hospital administrators in order to garner sufficient backing to revisit the issue in early-2018.
“I am not discouraged,” Beach told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. “I do think we have the votes. We feel very confident we have the votes on the [Georgia State] Senate floor but you have to get it out of committee to get it to the floor. I will double-down and plan to crisscross the state starting in April. You can tell everyone, like Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I’ll be back”.”
The newspaper reported that an almost identical piece of legislation from suburban Savannah legislator Ron Stephens is still technically alive in the Georgia House Of Representatives but it is now unlikely to move forward without hope that its Georgia State Senate counterpart will be passed.
“We will not give up on these kids,” Stephens told local television broadcaster WSB-TV. “We will not give up on the HOPE scholarship, the HOPE grant and pre-kindergarten funding as it continues to dwindle. We’ll be back again.”
Mike Griffin from the Georgia Baptist Mission Board told WSB-TV that social and economic conservatives had joined forces to defeat Senate Bill 79 in the Regulated Industries And Utilities Committee because they believe the measure would be bad for the state.
“We can be thankful that legislators during this session have given an ear to understand that the end does not always justify the means and that we can’t always put and should never put money over morality,” Griffin told WSB-TV.