A batch of casino bills were discussed in the House Rules Committee today. The outcome:

* LOCAL APPROVAL: The committee endorsed legislation that puts in law a rule already adopted by the Racing Commission that said the amendment-required approval of local officials to a casino in Pope or Jefferson County must come after an application has been made. This kills an effort to get lame-duck approval of officials in Pope County before  their terms ended but also before an application has been made for a casino in that county.

* ELECTION: Deferred a vote on a bill to require an election by county voters before a casino could be approved in Pope County. This amounts to a constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote. The bill was delayed for lack of a fiscal impact statement acceptable to Rep. Laurie Rushing, who disputed a finding of no fiscal impact. She said it would provide for an election, which would have a cost.

* JOHNSON COUNTY: A bill to amend the Constitution to shift a new casino permit from Pope to Johnson County failed,

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