Updated on 09/15/2011 1:35PM

Phone-bet bill gains in California

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Legislation that would permit telephone betting and establish a system to unionize backstretch workers in California is headed to the state Senate after passing a Senate committee on Tuesday.

The California Senate Appropriations Committee voted, 10-1, in support of Assembly Bill 471. According to lobbyist Bob Fox, the bill could reach the Senate floor this week. If approved, the bill must return to the Assembly before being sent to Gov. Gray Davis. Last year, Davis vetoed a similar bill, saying he did not want an expansion of gambling. Officials are not certain how he will react this year.

The legislation was amended in late June to change the method used by backstretch workers to decide whether they want a union. The new language calls for an election instead of the less-regulated card-check procedure.

A similar labor bill, which does not contain provisions allowing telephone betting, has been put on hold because it contains aspects that would reduce revenue to the state, according to Craig Fravel, executive vice president at Del Mar.