Raleigh, N.C. — The House Finance Committee will hear the bill to legalize and tax video sweepstakes again Tuesday morning, but the measure is "for discussion only."
Finance Committee Chairwoman Julia Howard, R-Davie, confirmed there would be no vote on the bill in the morning. The bill will have a proposed committee substitute - a substantial rewrite -- Howard said. Then she dropped this nugget: "That will be our last meeting."
So, if it's the committee's last meeting, and the measure isn't going to get a vote, it's dead for the year, right?
"You figured that out pretty quick," Howard quipped.
So why hear it at all?
"Because, I'm assuming, the bill sponsor wants it heard.
The bill sponsor, in this case, is Rep. Bill Owens, D-Pasquotank, who has said that the sweepstakes bill could be critical in deciding whether he would vote for a veto override on the budget.
That said, even if the Finance Committee were to pass the bill, and the House passed it, its prospects were not all that great. Senate leaders are adamantly opposed to the measure.
Still, tomorrow's committee hearing is a curious exercise, or at least and exercise likely to rouse curiosity among those who follow gambling matters at the General Assembly.