TOPEKA — The Senate is rolling the dice with a bill that was intended to make tweaks to the state’s gaming laws.
The full chamber quickly added a provision offered by Sen. Ty Masterson, R-Andover, that bans smoking on gaming floors.
The new statewide smoking ban, which begins July 1, al-lows smoking in state-owned casinos. That exception ran-kles many lawmakers who call the provision hypocritical in a law that bans smoking in privately owned businesses.
Lawmakers also added a provision that would allow the state to retain the privilege fee — $25 million for the South Central Gaming Zone in Sum-ner County — if a casino operator signed a contract then later pulled out after the agreement was finalized.
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Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, compared the money to earnest money that is put down when negotiating a house sale.
“You put the money down, sign the contract and if you decide you don't want to go through with the contract you lose your money,” she said.
Another amendment which lost, but prompted some vocal guffaws in the normally se-date Senate chamber, came from Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, who wanted to ban nudity in state-owned casinos.
"I don't know if this could take place, but I want to be proactive, because this is a state-owned property and we have to protect our citizens,” she said.
Fellow lawmakers did not view the potential problem quite so seriously.
"It takes a skillful seamstress to get the little skirts and shorts to fit the dogs and horses,” said Sen. Pete Brun-gardt, R-Salina, who was pre-senting the bill. “But I'm sure in the state of Kansas the skills could be found.”
He called the amendment unnecessary.
Other lawmakers wondered if the measure could prevent people from going to the bath-room in casinos or even taking showers or getting nude in the hotel rooms that are planned at some sites.
Sen. Chris Steineger, D-Kansas City, Kan., also noted the bill’s definition of nudity mentioned cleavage. He wondered how appropriate cleavage was defined and observed current fashions included some very low-cut tops.
“How do we define cleavage? I know how I define it in my own mind," he said.
Joking aside, the amendment failed on a roll call vote 14-18 with six senators passing on the vote.
As it stands, the bill would allow track operators a greater share of revenue from up to 1,200 slots at two tracks that are now closed: Camp-town Greyhound Park in Fron-tenac, just outside Pittsburg, and the Woodlands dog and horse tracks in Kansas City.
Sedgwick County voters rejected slots at Wichita Greyhound Park by 244 votes out of more than 103,000 cast in 2007, at the same time they rejected a casino by more than 12,000 votes. The track later closed.
A Senate panel took out a provision that would have al-lowed a revote on slots at the Sedgwick County track.