20 Aug 2014
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In Rare Post-Recess Session, Senate Approves Casino Bill Again

The re-vote follows a 24-2 vote last week in the early-morning hours of a marathon legislative session to end the year that was soon found to be problematic since it didn't have a supermajority.

In Rare Post-Recess Session, Senate Approves Casino Bill Again
The Rhode Island Senate voted 32-2 in a brief, nine-minute session on Monday to approve legislation that will put before voters a question whether to allow table games at Newport Grand.

The re-vote follows a 24-2 vote last week in the early-morning hours of a marathon legislative session to end the year that was soon found to be problematic since it didn't have a supermajority.

Twelve legislators didn't vote last week and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, of Newport, said the new vote was held to be on the safe side of potential legal tie ups.

Weed said Governor Lincoln Chafee approached her last week and said "you know there's a legal issue with the vote," referring to the fact that some people would see part of the bill as an appropriation because of language that calls for Newport to get $1.5 million out of the deal each year for the first six years.

"It appeared to me and on the advice of council and in an abundance of caution that the proper step to take would be to protect the city's appropriation and move forward with a second vote," Weed told the Associated Press.

Investor and former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino Jr. is proposing to buy Newport Grand and invest more than $40 million along with a group of fellow investors, converting the drab slots parlor into a world-class Monte Carlo-style casino and resort.

The two legislators voting against the bill on Monday were Sen. Louis P. DiPalma of Tiverton, Middletown and Newport and Sen. Edward J. O'Neill of Lincoln, North Providence and North Smithfield.

Sens. Daniel DaPonte (East Providence), James E. Doyle (Pawtucket), Walter S. Felag Jr. (Bristol, Tiverton, Warren) and Sen. Lou Raptakis (Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) did not vote.

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