Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Massachusetts Governor Asks Legislators To Return And Approve Gambling Bill

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This installment of the Tribes In The Media is a Boston Herald Article from today on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick urging state legislators to go into a special session and approve a gambling bill.

Gov. Deval Patrick prods lawmakers to rethink casino stance
By Richard Weir
The Boston Herald
September 7, 2010

Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday urged state lawmakers to return to session and resuscitate a near dead-and-buried casino bill in an effort to spur job creation.

“We’ve been there for the people who want and need the jobs that can come from resort casinos. The Legislature should come back and finish this right now and let’s get it done,” Patrick told several hundred state political and union leaders gathered at the Park Plaza for the Greater Boston Labor Council’s annual Labor Day breakfast.

But the odds that state pols will return to Beacon Hill to end the stalemate that killed the bill are slim at best. In July, they approved three resort casinos and slots at two racetracks. Patrick stripped the so-called racinos from the measure and tossed it back to the Legislature, whose members packed their bags before resolving whether to override or approve the governor’s changes to the bill.

Senate President Therese Murray has said that two-thirds of the Senate will not support coming in to take up Patrick’s nixing of slot machines at racetracks.

“Nothing’s changed,” said Murray spokesman Dave Falcone. “We don’t have the votes to come back into session.”

Seth Gitell, spokesman for House Speaker Robert DeLeo, said that while the “speaker has not taken it off the table,” the issue remains moot.

“It requires two-thirds of both chambers to come back into session. The speaker has indicated that the Senate is not coming back,” he said.

By revising the Legislature’s casino bill instead of approving it, Patrick risked alienating organized labor groups who counted on the gambling bill to put its members back to work.

Patrick yesterday tried to rebuild ties to the labor groups, saying, “I have been there for you,” but he had a caveat: “I know we don’t agree on everything. And some of you are so mad about these disagreements that you will support someone else or sit the race out. But we have shown you that I do not, and will not, take you for granted. And I think you had better be careful not to take me for granted either.”