GOP gaming bill sponsors make an opening bid for Democratic help

Legislation to permit casino gaming at high-end resorts in Georgia is set to be unveiled on Wednesday. But last night, the two Republican sponsors, state Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta and Rep. Ron Stephens of Savannah, shared some of the details contained in the measure on GPB’s “The Lawmakers.”

Also on the evening program was state Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, who has become something of a champion for getting more low-income students into Georgia’s public universities.

Georgia is one of the few states that offers no needs-based scholarships. Aid that comes via the Georgia Lottery is merit-based.

However, to pass their casino measure, Beach and Stephens will need Democratic help, in both the House and Senate. Stephens was ready with a very public pitch:

“To that end, we talked about the needs-based piece. In the bill itself, the bill that will be presented Wednesday, we’re starting the conversation with 30 percent going to needs-based. And it could change. But 30 percent is our floor. And we’ve both committed to that.


“I think all of us at this table agree that there’s a huge void in the needs-based piece, and that will be 30 percent of all of the money that comes out of this.”

Scott Slade, the host, asked Evans if she were tempted by that opening bid. Said she:

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman
Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that...