Since the current session of the Indiana General Assembly began, the possibility of Terre Haute and Vigo County becoming part of Indiana's gaming infrastructure became more real with each passing legislative step. As recently as Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee added its mark to a bill that further solidified the community as the primary site for a new casino.
That all changed on Thursday.
The full House took up the bill on second reading Thursday evening and encountered numerous amendments — 30 in all. Included were those that clearly place a Vigo County casino in jeopardy.
Such is the unpredictable and messy nature of legislating. No matter what happened Thursday, the issue is anything but settled.
The House has until Monday to take a final vote on whatever version of the bill it receives. Lots could happen between now and then. If the House does pass a bill, it will mostly likely go to a conference committee of House and Senate representatives to resolve differences in each chambers' bills.
The bill will then require the governor's signature to become law.
If the bill passes and language including a Vigo County casino is included, it still must go the governor's desk for his signature. Yet even if the governor signs such a bill, it would most likely require that the people of Vigo County have the final say. In a countywide referendum that could take place as soon as this fall, voters would be asked if they approve of their county being home to new casino.
While the Legislature does its thing with debate, potential compromise and behind-the-scenes wrangling, we're left to ponder the possibility of a hotly contested campaign on the issue sometime soon.
— The (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star