Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Baptists to oppose more Ky. gambling

Vote on resolution set for today

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The Kentucky Baptist Convention todaywill formally oppose expansion of gambling in any form in Kentucky.

        A resolution to that effect was introduced Tuesday at the convention's annual meeting in Covington and officials predicted it would sail through today.

        Public affairs committee chairman Duane Bolin of Murray said the committee had several issues to consider over the past year, but said “the gambling issue just seemed to dominate all our discussions.”

        The resolution was perfectly timed, coming on the heels of an opinion Monday from the state attorney general's office that the Kentucky Lottery cannot branch into electronic casi no games without a constitutional amendment that would require a vote.

        State Sen. David Williams, R-Burkesville, said the attorney general's opinion “effectively removes this issue from consideration during the 2000 (General Assembly) session.”

        Mr. Bolin, who spoke to a gathering of more than 1,200 Baptists at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on Tuesday afternoon, said he was pleased to hear the news, but added, “It doesn't surprise me.

        “Just in speaking with legislators from my area of Western Kentucky, I gathered there was no real statewide support for expansion of gambling,” he said.

        The resolution urges Baptist churches and their members to contact their legislators and the governor and voice their opposition to any increase or expansion of gambling.

        “As a committee, we have urged our members that if they feel strongly on the issue to voice their concerns, especially to the governor,” Mr. Bolin explained. “We know that letters do make a difference to our political leaders.”

        Members of the public affairs committee and Kentucky Baptist Convention officials, including recently retired Executive Director Jim Hawkins, had repeatedly voiced their concerns to Gov. Paul Patton about possible new gambling ventures in Kentucky.

        The governor had put forth several months ago, for discussion, the possibility of establishing land-based casinos in vari ous geographical points around the state. The idea drew mostly criticism.

        When Mr. Hawkins received special recognition Tuesday for his years of service to the convention, including a proclamation from the governor, he laughed and said, “The governor may want this thing back by the time I'm finished with him.”

        Mr. Bolin emphasized that Mr. Hawkins had been “really active in lobbying against any further gambling in the state. He made his presence known in Frankfort, and he is very well-respected around the state.”

Burlington pastor to lead Ky. Baptists

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