State lawmakers return to the Capitol today only to return to the same debate they ended last week with: historic horse racing.
Opponents, such as Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, have launched a filibuster against a constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide whether Nebraskans should be allowed to bet on historic horse racing.
“I don’t think this proposal is going anywhere. It shouldn’t. It should go back to committee. I’ve made it clear; I want to kill the thing,” Chambers stated last week during floor debate.
Chambers has been joined by others who claim LR 41CA merely expands gambling in the state. They equate historic horse racing with slot machines.
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha sponsors the constitutional amendment and another bill, LB 590, which would allow for the machines.
The concept has been touted as a way for thoroughbred race tracks to earn additional income and keep live horse racing profitable. The machines would be located at the tracks. They would feature horse races that have been run in the past, with enough details removed to disguise the races. General information about the horses and the jockeys would be provided.
Legislators approved a similar measure last year, but Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed it. The legislature fell just short of voting to override the governor.
Lautenbaugh expressed frustration as the prolonged debate that is tying up his bill and preventing a vote and expressed frustration at trying to answer the issues raised by critics.
“You have to understand, there will never be enough. There will never be enough answers. There will never be an amendment that addresses concerns that will bring some people on board with this,” Lautenbaugh stated.
The debate likely will pick up where it left off.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]