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    State of Play

    Michigan: Gambling Opponents Take Aim at Detroit Casinos

    State Capital Strategies
    Thursday, July 2, 1998

    Supporters of a campaign to repeal Proposal E continue collecting signatures to reverse voters' decision to allow casinos in Detroit. The effort is already more than a month past the deadline for election officials to guarantee a spot on the November ballot, and the longer it takes, the less likely it is to appear this year. If the repeal effort is delayed a year or two, the temporary casinos will already be up.

    Repeal organizers say they have enough signatures to qualify the issue for the ballot, and are now only seeking a cushion of names to keep the effort alive if some signatures are challenged. Casino interests, noting the campaign's refusal to release hard numbers, are not convinced the numbers opposing Proposal E will add up.

    More State Political News From:
    California | Colorado | Idaho | Minnesota | Montana
    New Hampshire | North Carolina | Oklahoma | Rhode Island

    California: Nomination Poses State Political Questions


    President Clinton's nomination of state Sen. Diane Watson as ambassador to Micronesia has some intriguing political ramifications in California. Democrats in the state legislature have already lost one seat, so Watson's departure would cut their numbers in the Senate to 21 – a bare majority. And another Democrat, the aging state Sen. Ralph Dills, is rarely present because of illness.

    Democrats may pressure Watson to stay through the end of the session in August. Republicans in the U.S. Senate could offer early confirmation if she is willing to take it. If Watson rejects an early confirmation offer, she could endanger her chances of becoming ambassador.

    Colorado: Norton Makes Gubernatorial Ballot

    State Senate President Tom Norton will be on the ballot for the Republican gubernatorial nomination after all, facing state Treasurer Bill Owens in the primary. Earlier Norton thought he had not gathered enough signatures to qualify the ballot, but the secretary of state has certified that he has the necessary 16,000 signatures.

    Idaho: Kempthorne Backs Parental Consent Proposal


    Sen. Dirk Kempthorne (R), Idaho's front-running gubernatorial candidate, told the Idaho Family Forum and Idaho Christian Coalition he supports requiring parental consent before minors can obtain prescription drugs, including birth-control pills. His Democratic opponent, Boise attorney Robert Huntley, has said he would oppose such legislation.

    Minnesota: Freeman Wins Union Endorsement

    Party-endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Freeman has picked up the crucial endorsement of the AFL-CIO. The vote of support came on the eve of a July 1 gubernatorial debate in which seven of the eight candidates – including Reform Party candidate and former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura – participated. Only Republican Norm Coleman, the mayor of St. Paul, did not attend.

    Montana: Halligan Stepping Down From Senate Leadership Role

    Senate Minority Leader Mike Halligan (D) will not seek a leadership position in the 1999 legislative session, offering others in his party an opportunity to advance. The move also gives Democrats a chance to think about the impact of term limits. In 1992, Montana voters approved a term limits law requiring senators to serve no more than two consecutive four-year terms in any 16 years. State representatives are limited to four consecutive two-year terms in any 16 years.

    New Hampshire: Delahunty Still the Boss in State Senate


    Senate President Joe Delahunty (R) apparently did not like the recent auditioning for his job, which will be open in early 1999. He sent out word that, until the end of December, he's the boss. Delahunty can't prevent the jockeying, but he recently stood firm by thwarting efforts of Sen. Ned Gordon (R), who challenged leadership on several key issues. Gordon opposes gambling, while Delahunty favors it – which is why the bill to ban video poker machines, which Gordon supported, is now dead.

    North Carolina: Hunter Named Justice; Bryant Expected to Join House

    Gov. Jim Hunt (D) has appointed State Rep. Bob Hunter (D) to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. His likely replacement will be Annette Bryant (D), a radio station owner from Marion. Hunter's resignation is effective early next week.

    Oklahoma: Snyder Takes GOP Helm in State Senate


    Republicans in the state Senate have elected Sen. Mark Snyder as the new GOP leader for the 1999 legislative session. Snyder will replace the current minority leader, Sen. Bill Gustafson, who is retiring from the Senate. Rep. Fred Morgan is the House's Republican leader-elect. Legislators elected Morgan before the beginning of the 1998 legislative session.

    Rhode Island: Democrats Could Lose Three Representatives

    House Majority Leader George Caruolo (D) may be considering retirement, as he reportedly has been offered a lucrative law position. In addition, Rep. Vin Mesolella (D), deputy whip in the House, and Frank Anzeveno (D), who was deputy speaker, will not seek reelection this year.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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