State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Reaction to lottery deal rejection not neatly partisan

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 15, 2013 5:17 PM
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Photo by Scott LaMar/witf

The reaction to the state attorney general’s decision to reject the Corbett administration’s lottery privatization contract isn’t consistently divided along party lines.

Democrats, who have vociferously opposed the lottery contract, have been unsurprisingly glowing in their reviews of Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in office just about month now, and her decision to halt the deal to put the Pennsylvania Lottery operations in the care of a British firm.

But there have been plenty of critics of this plan on the Republican side of the aisle as well – among them, Cumberland County Sen. Pat Vance.

She isn’t making predictions about how the lottery deal will end up, but she is noting how quickly the results of last November’s election are disrupting the governor’s agenda.

“It’s a different game in town, now,” said Vance. “All three row offices are held by the Democrats and so I think there’ll be a lot of scrutiny -- and scrutiny’s never bad, overall.”

The Democrats in the other two row offices – auditor general and treasurer – praised Kane for rejecting the contract. But responses weren’t all reliably partisan.

House and Senate Republican leaders were muted in their statements responding to the decision. Both sets of GOP leaders indicated a preference that changes to the Pennsylvania Lottery happen by the same hands that created it – the Legislature’s.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, who wrote to the governor last month with concerns about the lottery contract, neither condoned nor condemned its rejection, saying the occasion highlights the need to clarify lottery and gambling laws.

The top two Republicans in the House noted the lottery was legalized by the Legislature, and state lawmakers should be the ones who ultimately decide whether it should change.

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