The leader of Republicans in the Iowa Senate says a bill that would let the Iowa Lottery’s TouchPlay machines operate ’til September 1st won’t be passed in the Senate. Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson, a Republican from Clarion, says a “majority” of the 25 Republicans in the Senate oppose the extension. “We have discussed this issue at great length…and we passed a law outlawing the TouchPlay machines effective May 4th,” Iverson says. “That will stand.”
But Iverson and other legislative leaders on Tuesday asked Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller to continue to search for a compromise that would keep TouchPlay investors from suing the state over their losses. Mike Triplett, a spokesman for the TouchPlay Coalition, says legal action is likely if legislators do not extend that deadline.
“There’s a lot of operators out there (who) have hired lawyers,” Triplett says. “They’re still holding out hope that there’s a possibility of a negotiated settlement here at the legislature, so if that door is now shut, the only door that is remaining open for them is the judicial system.”
Triplett, though, isn’t convinced a majority of the 50 senators oppose the concept of keeping the TouchPlay machines operating four more months so investors can recoup their money.
Senator Mike Gronstal, the leader of the 25 Democrats in the Senate, says there’s still a possibility for compromise, and Triplett says anything’s possible as long as legislators remain in session. “We’ve got a couple of weeks left. There’s still a lot of things on the table. There’s a lot of wheeling and dealing going on,” Triplett says. “If we’re part of that and it’s something that we’re happy with and we would agree to relinquish our claims against the state, then maybe it is something we’d take a serious look at.”
The Iowa House has already voted to let the TouchPlay operators keep the machines going ’til September. The Senate is evenly-divided, and the Republican and Democrat leaders must agree before that bill can even be considered by the Senate.