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.