Breaking! Group Files Lawsuit Against Strickland’s VLTs
Update at 11:15pm: Jesse Hathaway has some good thoughts on the subject here.
The press release is below the fold:
July 20, 2009
Committee Petitions Supreme Court to Send VLT Plan to Voters
COLUMBUS – LetOhioVote.Org today filed a Writ of Mandamus with the Ohio Supreme Court directly challenging Governor Ted Strickland’s plan to place up to 17,500 video slot machines at Ohio horse race tracks without a vote of the people.
In the writ, LetOhioVote.org committee members Tom Brinkman, Gene Pierce and David Hansen asked the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold the right of referendum on this issue. Further, the committee seeks the Court’s affirmation of the peoples’ constitutional right to vote on the video slot machine scheme. If the committee’s effort succeeds, the issue will be placed before voters in November 2010, and the slot machine rollout will be halted pending that vote.
“In 2006, nearly 57 percent of Ohioans opposed placing video slot machines at horse race tracks,” Pierce said. “If Governor Strickland and legislative leaders believe their plan is better than the one the voters already rejected, they ought to make their case directly to the people. Simply ignoring a public vote should not be an option.”
“The governor and legislative leaders should have the courage to place this issue before the voters,” former state representative Brinkman said. “They didn’t have the nerve to cut government, but they freely violate the expressed will of the people? Well, we say ‘not so fast.’” Brinkman is the co-founder of COAST, a Cincinnati-based taxpayer advocacy group.
“Placing video slot machines at struggling race tracks is nothing more than giving wealthy track owners a huge government bailout,” Hansen added. “It’s the same old story; they can’t make their business profitable so they turn to government. Any way you look at it, it’s bad economics and bad government.”
In 2007, Governor Strickland said, “The people of Ohio have spoken with a clear voice on this issue time and time again. They do not want an expansion of gambling in their state.” “The people deserve another opportunity to speak with a clear voice on this issue,” Pierce concluded.
Copies of the court filings are available here and here. The writ was filed to by Cincinnati elections attorney David Langdon.
LetOhioVote.org is ballot issue committee established to seek a public vote on the expansion of government sponsored gambling.