- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Senate reconvened Monday in an unusual - and brief - post-recess session to pass legislation it had already approved, after questions were raised about the original vote margin.

During a nine-minute session, senators again passed a bill that included the financial terms of expanded gambling at Newport Grand, if voters approve it in a November referendum.

The bill passed 32-2, with no discussion. Nothing changed in the legislation from the first time it was voted on.

The measure was originally approved 24-2, with 12 not voting, around 3:30 a.m. on June 21, just before the Senate recessed for the year. Some senators had apparently gone home or were away from the chamber when the vote was held.

Appropriations measures need a two-thirds majority, or 26 votes.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed said Monday she learned of the potential problem from the governor’s office. She decided to hold a re-vote just in case, even though Senate legal advisers didn’t think the supermajority was needed in this case.

“This is strictly done out of an abundance of caution,” she told reporters after the legislative session.

The House passed it with a two-thirds majority.

The measure calls for putting on the ballot a referendum on adding table games to Newport Grand. The addition of table games was previously approved statewide, but Newport voters rejected it.

The bill also sets out the terms of a revenue-sharing agreement under which the city of Newport would get $1.5 million from the state’s share from video slots, guaranteed, for each of the first six years. After that, it would get at least $1 million a year.

A group of investors including former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino have agreed to shell out $40 million to overhaul the struggling facility first.

Paiva Weed presided from the Senate rostrum Monday with her knee in a bandage after hobbling in on crutches. She recently sprained it while walking on the reopened Cliff Walk in her hometown of Newport.

But she said her colleagues had returned, after a little over a week away from the Statehouse, looking “fresh, suntanned and happy to see each other.”

The Senate recessed again for the year at 4:23 p.m.

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