03/21/2002 12:00AM

Slots bill gets unlikely add-ons


Opponents of legislation that would legalize slot machines at Kentucky racetracks are adding a host of amendments to the bill to dampen support for the effort.

A total of 18 amendments as of Thursday afternoon had been added since Monday, when the bill passed out of a House committee en route to the floor.

One amendment, added by Rep. Stan Lee, would allow 12-year-olds to play slots at the tracks, lower the minimum age for smoking at the track to 14, and allow anyone 16 or over to drink at the track.

Lee called his own amendment "ridiculous," but said it was a way to call attention to the bill's deficiencies. "The supporters all say that it's not a moral issue and just about raising revenue," Lee said. "But of course it is a moral issue, and a lot of people believe that."

Rep. Jim Callahan, chief sponsor of the bill, called the Lee amendment "ignorant" and said, "We shouldn't even be wasting space on the bill with that."

David Switzer, the executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and a supporter of the bill, called the amendment an "attempt to make a mockery of the whole process."

The bill could come up for a vote on the House floor as early as Friday, according to Callahan.