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Miami-Dade commissioner proposes gambling straw poll, but idea is tabled for now

Joe Martinez, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, asked his colleagues on Wednesday to support putting a non-binding gambling referendum on the January primary ballot.

But his idea did not get a vote, after Commissioner Barbara Jordan invoked a rule that allows commissioners to table certain agenda items that they have had little time to review.

Martinez wanted to ask Miami-Dade voters, "Do you support the presence of destination resort casinos in Miami-Dade County?" The issue matters because the state Legislature is gearing up to discuss bills that would allow three mega-casino sites in Miami-Dade and Broward. The issue exploded after Malaysian giant Genting bought The Miami Herald's downtown building and surrounding properties.

Jordan told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 that she is against putting the question on the January ballot because it is not a general election and will likely draw more Republicans to vote, since there is no contested Democratic presidential primary.

In a news release, Martinez issued this statement:

"Our legislature has introduced a bill that would allow destination resort casinos in our community. We have all heard from those interested in opening a casino but as an elected representative of this community, I want to hear from our constituents. For that reason, I proposed this non-binding question to go forward in the January election along with the Home Rule Charter questions so that the voters can tell us if they want Miami to become a resort casino destination."

Watch video of the meeting here.

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