Casino bill finally dead (probably) for this session

[private]The last desperate attempt to get a legislative vote on a casino bill died on Friday as lawmakers worked their way through long “crossover day” calendars.

Death was pronounced at around 1 p.m. when Rep. Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas) told House colleagues that his Regulated Industries Committee would not take any further action on HB 158, the House version of the casino bill.

The Senate version of the bill came to a grinding halt earlier in the week when its sponsor, Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), pulled the measure back because he didn’t have the votes to get it out of committee.

Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) was trying to get HB 158 voted out of committee Friday and then placed on a supplemental calendar so that the full House could vote for it. But that last-ditch effort failed.

Crossover day is the last day for bills to be passed by at least one chamber or be considered dead for the session.

Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) said it was not likely that the casino bill would be resurrected later in the session as an amendment to another bill.

“I think it’s going to be tough,” he told reporters. “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

“I thought we had a consensus (on a casino bill) in the House, but it looks like we don’t have that and we’ll need to look at it in the interim,” Ralston said.

While legislators avoided a vote on the casino issue, the state Senate did pass a bill (SB 134) that would allow banks and credit unions to offer prized-linked savings accounts (PLS).

PLS accounts pay little or no interest but they do offer account holders the opportunity to enter jackpot drawings staged by the bank, where they can earn more chances to win as they deposit more in the account.

“They have had success in other states, encouraging people to open accounts and save money,” Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer said.

“Not everyone wins a prize,” Shafer said. “If you don’t win, you still have the money you saved.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: casinos , David Ralston , David Shafer , prize-linked savings accounts , Ron Stephens