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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beacon Hill earthquake

Is it a mere coincidence that the earth moved after Deval Patrick and legislative leaders announced a long-delayed compromise on casino gambling?

For all the apocalyptic talks on both sides of the issue about the good and evil of three casinos and a slots parlor -- and for all the hand-wringing over how this bill was crafted -- it seems like a nice Hollywood touch to add the wrath of nature to the debate.

But the reality is the measure unveiled yesterday by Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray is pretty anti-climatic.

While I have not read every clause, comma and citation and don't know if some goodies hide there, it appears the bill represents the last, best offer of the Patrick administration from the summer of 2010. That's when DeLeo went all in for the moribund tracks in his district and rolled snake eyes.

Critics are concerned over the fact the measure was crafted out of public view, but I can't recall a time covering Beacon Hill when I sat in the room when the lawyers cited chapter and verse and laid out the words on a typewriter.

Legislation is drafted in closed offices for public discussion -- and heaven knows this bill will have plenty of that -- in hearings and then again on the floor of the House and Senate.

That will be the time for opponents to raise the quite legitimate arguments about whether casino gambling is really the financial panacea supporters claim it to be and whether lawmakers are prepared to deal with the real problems of false economic hopes in a down economy.

But it's hard to ignore the ground shaking at this announcement. I'm sure casino supporters would have much preferred a rainbow leading to the Golden Dome.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So just remember in 4-5 years when GA meetings are chock full and casinos are looking for handouts so they won't go bankrupt and the state lottery needs to begin selling tickets in schools to survive, the Democratic party had total control of the state and allowed this evil (according to Progressives) in our door. If they really cared about peoples' well being would they let them in?

August 24, 2011 9:05 AM  

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