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Rep. Saunders preps parimutuel bill, holds for special session

Democratic Rep. Ron Saunders says he's drafted proposed gaming legislation that is basically what lawmakers passed in the 2009 session, minus the Seminole gambling provisions that are now in limbo amid strained negotiations between the tribe and the state.

Translation: a parimutuel bill.

Saunders, D-Key West, said his proposal would allow the parimutuels to operate as lawmakers have already agreed they should. That will allow them to benefit from approved tax breaks and start on capital projects that can create jobs, he said.

But he isn't filing it until he gets a clear signal on if and when the Legislature will go into a special session -- which, depending on the day and who you talk to, could include anything from gambling and SunRail to oil drilling and designating a new state pie (well, OK, not that last one...).

"A majority of the Legislature already voted for some of this parimutuel stuff, so why not take what we passed and give these parimutuels the tax breaks," Saunders said. "Right now they're in limbo because of the Seminoles. I support the Seminoles, but resolving that issue is more complicated. The parimutuels are ready to go."

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