Reconsideration works and the issue of historic horse racing will go to a vote of the people in November.
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha first succeeded in calling for a reconsideration of the vote on April 3rd that fell short of the votes needed to pass his resolution, then he succeeded in his move to approve the issue for the ballot.
Lautenbaugh recalled to colleagues his tough loss in 2012, when the legislature failed by one vote to override the governor’s veto of a similar measure.
“I remember a year or two ago, I saw the people up in the stands, up in the balconies here and they were here for their jobs. They weren’t just random people who came here. They were people who work at the tracks,” Lautenbaugh told colleagues during legislative floor debate. “And I got it. They were here to support their jobs. They were here to support their livelihoods. They were here to save their jobs.”
On April 3rd, the Unicameral first voted 29-19-1 in favor of LR 41, a constitutional amendment to place the issue of historic horse racing on the ballot. Lautenbaugh changed his vote to “not voting” so he could call for the legislature to reconsider its vote.
A constitutional amendment needs 30 votes to be placed on the ballot.
Lautenbaugh argued that historic horse racing will keep live horse racing viable in Nebraska.
“The tracks aren’t a vehicle for these machines. The machines are a vehicle to boost revenue at the track,” Lautenbaugh stated. “I think some have thought of this exactly reverse.”
If voters approve the measure, video replay machines would be placed at horse tracks. The machines would play videos of past horse races disguised to conceal the outcome.
Though supporters say it would provide a stream of income necessary to make the horse racing industry profitable, opponents cast doubt on those projections.
Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft told colleagues historic horse races won’t save the horse racing industry in Nebraska.
“This is not going to help horse racing. I believe it will hurt horse racing,” Brasch said. “So, I do not want to reconsider. I ask you to help horse racing by not bringing in casino type slot machines, not pari-mutuel racing.”
Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff argued that betting on video replays of past races won’t save the live horse racing industry.
“No matter how you want to view this, it’s simply a dead industry,” Harms stated. “No matter how you view it, no matter how you want to look at it, it is a dead industry.”
AUDIO: Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh opens on LR 41 CA reconsideration vote. [9:45]