ATLANTA -- The casino gambling bill showed surprising resilience Friday at the Georgia legislature. The bill, declared dead earlier this week, re-animated briefly. It likely won’t make today’s crossover day deadline – but that may not matter.
One might call the casino bill a zombie bill – a measure that comes back to life after getting declared dead. When members of the legislature convened Friday, they saw that a committee meeting had been scheduled at lunchtime to hear the House version of the bill to legalize "destination resort" casinos in Georgia.
But as the lunch hour drew near, members of the committee told 11Alive News the meeting had been canceled because the bill didn’t have the votes to pass – which is exactly what happened twice over the previous week to cancel a Senate committee meeting on the casino bill.
"I thought we had enough interest that we had a consensus. And we may not be to that point," said House Speaker Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). "We’re going to take a deep breath and come back and look at it over the interim. it’s an issue I think deserves some discussion" though Ralston stopped short of saying he favors the bill.
Asked what he means by “the interim”—whether that look would take an hour or a year-- and Ralston answered by saying the casino bill wouldn’t come up Friday.
Legislative rules indicate that a bill cannot become law if it doesn't pass either the House or Senate by "crossover day," which was Friday. However, amendments can be attached to bills that do make it past the deadline.