Senate OKs casino bill again after late vote - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Senate OKs casino bill again after late vote

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By The Associated Press

news@abc6.com 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ The Rhode Island Senate has reconvened in an unusual post-recess session to pass casino legislation it already approved, after questions were raised about the original vote margin.        

Senators met briefly on Monday afternoon and passed a bill that included the financial terms of expanded gambling at Newport Grand, if voters approve in a November referendum.      

"Perfectly fine with it, just part of doing business," said Sen. Maryellen Goodwin.   

The bill was originally approved 24-2, with 12 not voting, in the early morning hours of June 21, shortly before the Senate recessed for the year. Appropriations measures need a two-thirds majority, or 26 votes.       

It passed Monday 32-2, with no discussion, in a nine-minute session.       

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says she held the re-vote just to be safe, even though Senate legal advisers didn't think the supermajority was needed in this case.

"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," said Paiva Weed.

Principal investor for Newport Grand Joe Paolino is pleased with the senate's vote.  His investment group wants to put $40 million into the casino, but only if it has table games.

"We are gonna have a beautiful plan and we are gonna create jobs that's what we said we are doing and I think to have more jobs and more economic development and more investment into Newport is something that's badly needed," said Paolino.

The act now heads to Governor Chafee. 

(C) The Associated Press 2014/WLNE-TV 2014

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