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Casino Fails to Get Support in Massachusetts' Senate

On November 16th, 2007, the voters in the state of Massachusetts will not get their chance to air their opinion regarding Gov. Deval Patrick's casino plan after legislative officials refused to permit a non-binding question on the presidential primary ballot.

Senator Michael W. Morrissey, a Democrat from Quincy, proposed the casino referendum as a modification to a bill that would change the state's presidential primary from March 4th, 2008 to February 5th, 2008. His amendment to the bill would have asked the voters whether they are in favor of the governor's casino plan. But Senator Susan Tucker, a Democrat from Andover and an online gambling critic, objected.

Senate President Therese Murray said that Morrissey's amendment is not related to the presidential primary ballot. The Speaker of the House Salvatore F. DiMasi commented that he will probably decide that the amendment is also out of order if it is pushed by Representative Brian P. Wallace, a Democrat from South Boston, when the presidential primary bill is reviewed in the House.

Morrissey commented that Murray promised to give permission to a debate on the referendum but changed her decision after the senators pushed controversial amendment that include allowing slot machines at the state's racing tracks and allowing the privatization of the lottery.

If the casinos were reviewed, the supporters of the other measures would expect equal treatment. He said that it would be easier for legislators to decide next year on the governor's casino plan if they knew the desires of their constituents regarding the casino plan.

The Senate approved the change in the presidential primary, despite the objections of some senators who said that it would affect the city and the clerks who previously planned the election. Senator Richard Moore, a Democrat from Uxbridge said that they should be prepared to hear criticism regarding the decision.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin, who proposed changing the presidential primary date to give more chance to Massachusetts voters to air their side, commented that he was happy about the development in the Senate.

Galvin added that the overwhelming decision by the Senate to place consideration to the voters instead of party loyalty shows great courage and consistency on the part of the Senate. If the House follows the decision of the Senate and the bill is approved by Gov. Deval Patrick, the state of Massachusetts will be the 23rd state to schedule their presidential primary on February 25th, 2008.


02 December 2007
News Submitted by:
Jack Silverman

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