Political Notes — Stephens gets one last hearing for a casino bill

[private]Although the issue did not go anywhere this session, the House Regulated Industries Committee did give Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) one last hearing Thursday on his casino bill.

The committee did not take a vote on HB 158, the enabling legislation that would set up a state gaming commission to regulate casinos, but Rep. Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas) urged committee members to confer with Stephens over the interim about the bill.

“This will be back, it’s not over,” Maxwell said. “We will be dealing with this next year.”

Stephens said HB 158 has now been stripped back to what he called the “bare bones” of the bill and would provide for the issuance of four casino licenses in Georgia.

“It is the minimum for us to move forward with,” Stephens said. “This is only a framework for us to work from.”

Stephens encountered criticisms of his bill from several committee members during the hearing.

“Gaming is such an open area for corruption,” said Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta). “And there’s addiction. We already have a problem with opioid addiction in this state, and alcohol, and we’re about to add another.”

“One hundred and fifty-nine counties will asked to approve this, but only four counties or locations would benefit,” said Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell).

In this session, as in the past few, casino legislation has once again failed to make it to the floor of either chamber for a vote.

Barnes is for Ossoff

Former governor Roy Barnes announced Wednesday he is endorsing Jon Ossoff in the 6th Congressional District special election.

“Jon has been a refreshing breath of air in an otherwise stale environment of politics,” said Barnes, a Marietta attorney. “He’s united us as Democrats here in Georgia and around the nation.”

“Gov. Barnes has distinguished himself as a true statesman whose legacy is standing up for Georgia’s economic development and taking courageous moral stands,” Ossoff said.

There are five Democrats who qualified for the 18-candidate election, including former legislator Ron Slotin, but all of them trail far behind Ossoff, the leader in polls that have been publicly released.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: 6th District race , casinos , Jon Ossoff , Ron Stephens , roy barnes