Today the NH House Finance and Ways & Means Committee voted on the very controversial cansino gambling bill SB152. The vote 22-23 to ITL the bill. In most cases the ITL is a vote to kill the bill. The NH Legislature is still required to vote on the bill and this is good news for those of us who are pushing for this bill to pass.
The full house vote is expected to be as close as the committee vote and the bill could be changed on the floor. Governor Hassan released this statement after the vote:
“I am extremely encouraged by the closeness of today’s committee vote. Even without members having the opportunity to vote on bipartisan amendments, the one-vote margin demonstrates the strong and growing support in the House of Representatives for SB 152.
“As the bill moves to the floor, I believe the full House will give a more complete consideration to this legislation and the proposed bipartisan amendments that were not voted on today. I am confident the House understands that the people of New Hampshire want to invest in the priorities needed to create jobs, strengthen our communities, and spur innovative economic growth: higher education, mental health, public safety, economic development, and other critical areas. And the people of New Hampshire strongly support funding our priorities through one highly regulated destination casino.
“I urge the full House to listen to the people we represent, thoughtfully consider the legislation and proposed changes, and vote in favor of moving forward with our own plan to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire.”
People overwhelmingly support the expanded gambling. This job creation bill is long overdue and will significantly help the NH Building Trades who are starving for work since the beginning of the recession.
NH Building and Construction Trades Council President Joe Casey issued the following statement after today’s 23-22 vote in the Joint House Committee to review the casino gaming bill:
“Today the work of the special Joint House Committee on SB152 was hijacked by committee leadership, who employed a deceitful parliamentary trick to cut off debate on 16 amendments that would have improved the bill.
After weeks of dirty tricks by the anti-casino lobby, I was shocked to see committee Chair Mary Jane Wallner resort to the same kind of underhanded tactics we saw under former Speaker Bill O’Brien. I would never have expected this type of behavior from Representatives who have pledged to operate with fairness and transparency. This is a sad day for the New Hampshire House.
It’s clear from today’s razor-thin vote that SB152 would have seen a favorable outcome if a vote on amendments to improve the bill had been allowed. Instead, Chairperson Wallner put her personal preference ahead of what’s best for the people of New Hampshire.
63% of Granite Staters support bringing expanded gaming to New Hampshire, and we will work hard to make sure their voices are heard on the House floor next week.
I call on Speaker Norelli to put aside her bias against this bill and pledge to have an open and fair process on the floor next week. If she refuses to put aside the tactics of Bill O’Brien, she should hand the gavel over to someone who will.”
We will have to see what happens when the full House meets to debate this bill in the coming weeks.