Georgia casino legislation gets Friday committee hearing

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In the state of Georgia, proposed legislation that could see voters asked to permit the licensing of up to two resort casinos has reportedly been given a hearing later today before the Georgia House Of Representatives’ Regulated Industries Committee.

According to a report from the Ledger-Enquirer newspaper, the measure from suburban Savannah legislator Ron Stephens would authorize a ballot that would see residents of the southern state asked to permit the licensing of a pair of large casinos with these venues required to pay a 20% tax on their gaming revenues. The Republican’s legislation would also earmark the proceeds from this duty to a range of interests including the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE) merit-based secondary education scholarship and grant program alongside a new needs-based college scholarship fund.

“We have been given the green light to try and get it out of committee,” Calvin Smyre, a Democratic member of the Georgia House Of Representatives, told the Ledger-Enquirer.

The Ledger-Enquirer reported that the news comes less than six days after an almost identical measure failed to make it through a hearing in the Georgia State Senate’s 14-member Regulated Industries And Utilities Committee. That proposed legislation, which was known as Senate Bill 79, was initiated by Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach but did not garner sufficient support and it remains unclear what would happen should Stephens’ bill pass through the Georgia House Of Representatives.

The newspaper reported that the Stephens’ measure will be heard before the Georgia House Of Representatives’ Regulated Industries Committee later today in hopes of then being put before the full body for a vote before the state’s current legislative session ends on March 30.

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