One of the more notable headlines to come out of the General Assembly last week is that, once again, lawmakers have rejected a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in the state.
Translation: Once again, lawmakers have subjugated the people of Kentucky, by refusing to them the opportunity to vote on this issue.
Ultimate power to amend the Kentucky Constitution rests with the voters, who vote any proposed amendment up or down. Lawmakers’ consistent refusal to allow them to exercise that power, year after year, is an insult to Kentuckians, who apparently cannot be trusted to determine their own destiny.
True, the legislature does have a gatekeeper role in determining which amendments voters may consider, because any proposal to amend the Constitution must first gain 60 percent approval from each house. However, the history of the gambling debate in Kentucky should make it clear that legislators are acting not as gatekeepers, but as obstructionists in the most positive light, totalitarians in the worst.
An expanded gambling amendment should be a shoo-in for the ballot. The issue has dominated public policy debates in the state for the better part of two decades, and will only be resolved once voters have their say, one way or the other. An overwhelming number of voters (85 percent, according to some polls) have said they want to vote on the issue, regardless of how they feel about it.
Kentucky voters are not children who need to be protected from themselves. It’s well past time they were given the opportunity to decide the issue of expanded gambling, once and for all.
— The Floyd County Times