The state senator who got close twice, then finally nudged the issue across the finish line says he hopes historic horse racing turns around the fortunes of live horse racing in Nebraska.
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha fell one vote short of overcoming a veto by Gov. Dave Heineman two years ago.
Lautenbaugh returned this two-year legislative cycle with a different tact. He would seek a constitutional amendment, bypassing the governor and going directly to the people.
He would still need 30 votes.
The first time the Unicameral considered LR 41CA on final reading, it gave the resolution 29 votes. Lautenbaugh quickly moved to change his vote to “not voting” so he could call for a reconsideration of the vote.
Reconsideration worked. LR 41CA passed with 30 votes.
Lautenbaugh says he expected the resolution to pass, though he knew it would be close.
“Well, it was always going to be close. I’m glad that we finally got this done and we’ll just let the people decide,” Lautenbaugh tells Nebraska Radio Network.
If voters approve the measure in November, video replay machines will be placed at horse tracks. The machines would play videos of past horse races disguised to conceal the outcome.
Lautenbaugh is at a loss to explain why the issue passed this week, when it failed last week.
“I don’t really know. People had more time to think about it. I don’t know what went awry last week,” Lautenbaugh says, adding that he thought he had the votes last week.
Lautenbaugh says he kept with the issue, because he believes it will make horse racing more profitable.
“If passed by the people, it will allow them to have bigger purses at the tracks, more people at the tracks, which will lead to more racing days, which will lead to more people at the tracks,” according to Lautenbaugh. “Hopefully, as it has in Kentucky, it will lead to sort of a resurgence of the industry.”