04/11/2012 11:07AM

Nebraska governor vetoes Instant Racing bill

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Bill Hodtwalker

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – After winning narrow approval in the legislature last week, a bill which would authorize Instant Racing machines at racetracks in Nebraska, has been vetoed by Gov. Dave Heineman, and returned without consent to the Legislature.

The bill passed on final reading last Thursday by a vote of a 26-18 vote with five senators not voting. An override of the veto would require 30 votes.

Tensions between the unicameral legislature of Nebraska and Gov. Heineman have been rising in the past few weeks with the governor expected to veto two other pieces of legislation concerning prenatal care for undocumented mothers and an issue involving local city sales taxes. The legislature moved its closing day of the session from this Thursday to next Wednesday, April 18, where there is expected to be a motion to override the governor’s vetoe.

The Instant Racing bill was seen as a way to fund a new racetrack to replace Lincoln Race Course, which must close after this year when a lease with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln expires. The location is the former site of the state fairgrounds, which was moved to Grand Island and is being developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an innovation and technology campus.