Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



_____________________NEWS RELEASE

State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


    HARRISBURG, August 2, 2006 – State Senator Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) sent the following letter today to Sen. Jane Orie (R-Allegheny), with copies to the other 48 members of the Senate.
     The letter corrects several inaccurate and misleading statements that Orie has made recently on matters related to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act.

# # #

(Note: copies of amendment A09120, which is referenced in the letter, are available upon request from Senator Fumo’s office.)


(On Senate Stationary)

August 2, 2006

Via Hand Delivery

The Honorable Jane C. Orie
Senate of Pennsylvania
Room 168 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120

Re: Senate Bill 862 / Gaming Reform Legislation

Dear Senator Orie:

The purpose of my letter is to correct several inaccurate and misleading statements you have recently made about me, Senate Bill 862 and various issues related to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. While I recognize that it is an election year, with both statewide elections and internal Senate Republican caucus contests, this is insufficient justification for your repeated public statements that attempt to slander my personal motivations relative to public policy positions concerning the Gaming Act. Your recent statements are personally offensive and stand in stark contrast to the actions of most every other member of this body.

As someone who routinely reminds any listener of your prior experience as a prosecutor, I would expect that you would be more careful in your remarks. Contrary to your recent statements, Senate Bill 862, and the amendment that I sought to support prior to our recess for the summer, was neither a secret nor did it contain special benefits for the gaming industry. Rather, Amendment No. A09120, (a copy of which is included for your edification) was the product of a bipartisan effort among staff attorneys from each of the four legislative caucuses. Staff meetings took place over several months, and incorporated ideas and revisions suggested by a wide rage of offices – including your own. As I stated on the floor of the Senate, it was important to move Senate Bill 862 prior to our recess for the summer in order to ensure that the reforms were in place, before the Gaming Control Board considered and issued additional slot licenses. It was you who objected to considering Senate Bill 862, and it was you who voted to recess the Senate until September without considering any gaming related reform. While I welcome your recent epiphany, the facts related to Senate Bill 862, and its amendment, are clear and a matter of public record:

FACT – Amendment No. A09120 is a bipartisan product. Not only was the drafting of this amendment a bipartisan effort, but its development was actually led by your own caucus’ staff. (1) In fact, your office staff was aware of these meetings. The inclusion of your suggested Gaming Board employee hiring reforms as they appear on page 5 of the amendment clearly evidences this fact. Had the Senate passed Amendment No. A09120, your language would likely have been enacted into law and been in place by now.

FACT – Amendment No. A09120 contains many provisions advocated by members of your own caucus. Far from being “my amendment” as you have suggested, the amendment included changes supported by Senator Earll (clarifying the local share component of the Act); Senator Browne (changing the distribution method for the local share component in the Lehigh Valley); Senator Piccola (changing the distribution method for the local share in Dauphin and Lebanon Counties, as well as increasing the authority of the Attorney General); Senator Jubelirer (imposing strong conflict-of-interest standards upon members of the Gaming Board); Senator Wenger (mandating legislative authorization for Gaming Board expenditures); and, yourself (imposing new Board hiring standards and clarifying the application of the Sunshine Act, Right-to-Know Act and the Adverse Interest Act). Ironically, Senate Bill 862 has already received the unanimous support of every member of the Senate on November 2, 2005. Amendment A09120 was an attempt to correct several weakening amendments that the House made to the bill and to address new issues raised by members in both Senate caucuses.

FACT – Amendment No. A09120 was shared and available to any legislative office. Contrary to your statements, at no time did I refuse to share the contents of the amendment with any office that sought a copy. In fact, early drafts of the amendment were shared with several members of your own caucus who contacted me. I have always been willing to share any information, including bill drafts or research related to gaming matters with any office – without regard to partisan affiliation. The development of the Gaming Act was a bipartisan endeavor and any successful effort to enact changes to the Act will also require bipartisan support. If you did not receive a copy early enough for your review, than you either did not call my office or your own leadership did not share it with you. In either case, I am not responsible for your lack of knowledge of the provisions of the amendment.

FACT – The only provisions contained in Amendment No. A09120 that presented any concern were related to the City of Philadelphia and the application of local land use regulations. The only excuse that has been offered to date, to explain your unwillingness to consider and support Senate Bill 862, is that the amendment would preempt certain land use and zoning regulations within the City of Philadelphia. Overlooked in your excuse is the fact that the House amendment to Senate Bill 862 imposed a blanket preemption on all City land use rules and regulations. (2) As it was written, such a provision would not likely have passed constitutional review. (3) Accordingly, I attempted to rewrite the provision to provide for the involvement of the City in any site plan approval that would be conducted by the Commonwealth. While I appreciate the interest in the City of Philadelphia by members of the legislature from Allegheny County, it is worth noting that the zoning provision of the amendment was supported by every member of the Philadelphia Senate delegation. (4)

FACT – Amendment No. A09120 was an important reform measure that if not blocked, would have likely been enacted by now. The record is clear that every public safeguard provision contained in the Gaming Act was first advocated by my office – prohibitions on campaign contributions, prohibitions on complementary services and discounts, a dedicated revenue stream for compulsive gambling treatment, the imposition of self-exclusion program, law enforcement grant money, the nation’s highest licensing standards for all slot operators, ATM placement regulation, high licensing fees, imposition of licensing bond requirements, annual license renewals and even a limitation on public official financial interests. Amendment No. A09120 attempted to strengthen these protections and make additional necessary reforms – not weaken them.

To be clear, I agree with your assertion that the Gaming Act could be improved and strong public safeguards should be imposed. This is not a new development, but something I and Senator Tomlinson have been working together on during the two years since the Act’s passage. One idea that you may wish to consider supporting, is legislation that would explicitly prohibit campaign contributions from any gaming company lobbyist. Someone who represents gaming interests should not be able to take advantage of the cash-rich status of his clients while lobbying members of the legislature. The perception of members of the legislature who endorse specific gaming license applications immediately before receiving campaign contributions from gaming company lobbyists should be avoided. I am advised that Senators Logan and Costa have drafted such legislation and I am certain your support would be welcomed.

In conclusion, I wish to restate that contrary to your statements, I have never been corruptly motivated in supporting any policy matter related to gaming.(5) Though I greatly respect those members of the legislature who may oppose the legalization of slots, it is neither appropriate nor acceptable to defame those members who may have an opinion that differs from your own.

Sincerely yours,


State Senator

Attached amendment
cc: All members of the Pennsylvania Senate


1.  It is not necessary for you to take my word for this. The top of the amendment lists the abbreviation for the Legislative Reference Bureau drafting attorney – Robert L. Evangelista, Esquire. Mr. Evangelista is not someone with whom my office has routinely worked. Rather, he worked with your caucus’ staff attorneys.

2. See, Senate Bill 862, pn 1553, at 146; lines 21 - 26.

3. See, Pennsylvanians Against Gambling Expansion Fund, Inc. v. Commonwealth, 583 Pa. 275, 877 A.2d 383 (2005).

4. Ironically, it is noted that your voting record indicates a clear willingness to remove various authorities from the City of Philadelphia when it meets certain partisan objectives. See, e.g, Senate Bill 640 (abrogating Philadelphia School Board powers) Legislative Journal of the Senate of Pennsylvania, at 1010 (October 23, 2001); House Bill 2654 (abrogating Philadelphia Parking Authority powers) Legislative Journal of the Senate of Pennsylvania, at 2031 (July 3, 2004).

5. You have also gone so far as to attempt to attack the character of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chairman Mitchell Rubin. Please know that Chairman Rubin has never been accused of wrongdoing and has an impeccable reputation as a public official. In fact, he has repeatedly received the support from your caucus as Chairman of the Turnpike Commission. He is an investor in a gaming company – I am not. I neither control nor direct Chairman Rubin’s personal investments. I am not aware of anyone who has suggested that he has used his office to gain improper influence. Furthermore, contrary to your statement, Rubin’s wife has not worked in my office in over 2 years.