Senators Birkholz, Stamas, George, Jansen, Hardiman, Brown, Kuipers and Cassis, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the adoption of Senate Resolution No. 11.
Senator Birkholz moved that the statement she made during the discussion of the resolution be printed as her reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Birkholz’s statement, in which Senators Stamas, George, Jansen, Hardiman, Brown and Kuipers concurred, is as follows:
Today, ladies and gentlemen of this body, is a very sad day for the state of Michigan, and it is sadder still for the people of the greater west Michigan area. Another casino in Michigan has just been approved with a simple voice vote and not even time for us to get our “no” votes out there.
The casino is in Allegan County and comes on a day when, as I was driving in this morning, the Detroit casinos are just reporting a large decline in business; on a morning when I met with one of my judges, Judge Harvey Hoffman from Eaton County and Judge Williams May from Kalamazoo, two of the best and most reputable judges in our state—actually in the nation—on drug courts and the effects of crime in communities. They are very concerned about the costs of prisons; the probable lowering of income for the local court systems to deal with drug courts to deal with the crimes that result from the people who go to, and frequent, casinos. They are concerned about the cost of local jails. We have plenty of studies, ladies and gentlemen. I have piles of them in my office, numerous studies that have shown that casino gambling causes great harm to the communities in and around the casinos. Studies have found that a casino can double the number of problem and pathological gamblers within a 50-mile radius of that casino.
Problem gamblers are three to five times more likely to be arrested for criminal activities, and often they have a very negative impact on the local economy. They are three to five times more likely to be arrested, but who cares. We have lots of money to spend on jails and prisons in this state.
So here we are adopting a negative business model; not a positive business model but a negative model in the name of economic development. Unfortunately, this negative business model will cannibalize many communities in the greater west Michigan area, thus the state of Michigan, over the next several years.
Senator Cassis’ statement is as follows:
While consistently opposed to the proliferation of casinos in our state, sadly to say, the federal government has consistently overridden states’ rights on this matter. It is no question that our hands are tied. Let me just say sadly Michigan’s designation as second only to Las Vegas in the number of casinos is not how we want to be recognized or remembered.