Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Speaker and the Senate in a Game of Suffolk Downs Hold'em?

I'm not really sure what's going on in the Speaker's head -- a check, a fold, a bluff, anyone's guess. Quotes below from today's O'Sullivan SHNS column, which unfortunately can't be linked, leave a very clouded answer.

On the one hand.....
Speaker Robert DeLeo left the door ajar Tuesday to ceding ground on a key provision of the House’s expanded gambling package, telling reporters he was willing to entertain compromises on a guarantee of up to 750 slot machines at the state’s four racetracks, an assurance the Senate and Gov. Deval Patrick oppose.
On the other...
“I’ve learned very well, you never can bet on anything in this place, in terms of what will be in, what won’t be in or whatever,” DeLeo said. “But I will tell you that in terms of myself – not only myself, but the members of the House who overwhelmingly supported it – that’ll be of major importance to us, keeping it.”
Emphasis mine. The Speaker, in that last quote, is talking about slots at the race track. Of course, I don't really buy that the racinos are "of major importance" to anyone who's not in a track district or near one -- but unfortunately that includes the all important Speaker, hence the "us." My point in bringing up that distinction is solely out of bitterness (so much for half the progressive caucus holding to their principals).

That said, we have a Senate Chamber that voted down the racino amendment in their bill, with 5 voting for it and 20 voting against it. The House, of course, passed DeLeo's racino-and-then-some bill by a 120-37 vote. Those are some pretty tall mountains to be scaled to get to any "compromise."

Is the Speaker really willing to listen about a comprise if it doesn't include slots at the race tracks? That's the big question. The smaller question is if the Senate is willing to see this die if he isn't. Perhaps, another question to ask is if the Governor would really stick to his long-ago-made promise to veto racinos, or his tough talk about slots at the race tracks from a few months back, as that decision could be huge in determining just how earnest the Speaker is about his real openness to comprise that veer far off from the House bill.

The Governor's reluctance to come out and say he'd veto racinos, at present, makes me very pessimistic that he'd still veto a bill that has them, but maybe he'll realize racinos would be particularly toxic in the Democratic base this coming election. He does want to win, right? His decision here will definitely impact how hard I'm willing to fight for him this fall.

There will be no answers on this blog today, though, on any of those questions. All I ask is that people who oppose slots or racinos call their state legislator, either for the first time or again. You can find a link to sort your legislators by town on the right.


Middleboro Remembers said...

Sorry, Ryan!

This was the Governor's opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in the Commonwealth and he blew it when he introduced slots.

No "Progressive" candidate supports what slot parlors bring to the table and to our communities.

Senator Tucker got it right when she spoke about this legislation only being good for this legislature. It will change next year and slots will continue to expand endlessly as they have elsewhere.

That so many so willingly followed the Holy Grail of Casino Gambling without any critical thought defines how poorly we elect our leaders.

Pity for what could have been!

Mark Belanger said...

My guess is that the compromise will be slots at Suffix Downs right away with an inside track to one of the resort licenses.

Maybe some sort of preference for the other racetracks that are able to compete for the remaining 2 resort licenses.

Ryan said...

I don't know, Mark. Does the Senate President really have a horse in this race? Or the Governor? Would it hurt either of them politically if Beacon Hill was essentially shut down because of this? Such a move could backfire on DeLeo.

About Ryan's Take