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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: All eyes on House as casino vote nears
The House will decide the fate of Senate Bill 152 Wednesday. The bill, which passed the Senate on a 16-8 vote and has the support of Gov. Maggie Hassan, would allow up to 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games in a complex costing at least $400 million.
The paper-thin margin has given renewed hope and - casino supporters would say - momentum heading into this week's vote.
Casino supporters say Massachusetts has changed the equation by approving three regional casinos and a video slot parlor. The Massachusetts casinos give New Hampshire incentive to approve gambling, they say, because state revenues would otherwise decline by $50 million to $80 million and New Hampshire would have to bear the social and financial costs of problem gamblers while the Bay State received the financial benefits.
If House members overturn the committee's recommendation to kill the bill, they will have the opportunity to debate at least 10 of 17 proposed amendments.
Casino supporters knew they had an uphill fight in the House after the bill passed the Senate. One of the few people willing to make a prediction, longtime casino opponent Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, said the House would uphold the committee's recommendation and kill the bill.
The wild card, though, is the 100 or so Democratic freshmen House members who have not voted on the issue before.
What you don't want to be this weekend is a representative sitting on the fence because your phone will not stop ringing and your email will be filled before you can delete it.
Presidential Primary Anniversary: One hundred years ago, the Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill creating the state's presidential primary, making it the first such event in the nation.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will headline the NHGOP's first Liberty Dinner on Monday, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was recently in the state to raise money for the Republican state senators.
Long Day Ahead: The Senate has a long day Thursday as it acts on every major bill the House approved this session, from the stand-your-ground repeal to medical marijuana.
The stand-your-ground repeal bill has no chance of passing the Senate because at least two Democrats have said they oppose it.
The Ways and Means Committee recommends further study of a bill that would increase the gasoline tax 12 cents, although a move is expected to kill it outright.
A reworked version of the House-passed photo ID law would not repeal the more stringent requirements that go into effect in September and would instead delay those provisions for two years. The Senate version would restrict photo IDs to state- or federally issued identifications, which would include state college and university identification cards.
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