It's been two weeks since members of a House/Senate conference committee first sat down to create a compromise bill that would expand gambling in Massachusetts, but -- with just 10 days remaining in the legislative session -- there is no indication that the two sides have been able to reach a consensus. As I understand it, failure to get a bill approved by both bodies on the governor's desk by July 31 means that the process would have to start from scratch when the legislature convenes again in the fall.
To give the process a bump forward, a dozen small-city mayors backed House Speaker Bob DeLeo's plan for for slots at tracks in a letter yesterday. Their motivation is some quick cash to close municipal budget shortfalls. However, mayors of the state's larger cities, including Boston's Tom Menino, are not on board with the request. The Globe story says that one sticking point for Menino is that he wants Boston cops in charge of law enforcement at any casino within city limits, while DeLeo's bill calls for the state police to have jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that New Jersey's governor is proposing that a state authority "take over the troubled gambling district." Yeah, that sounds like something we want to invite into our own backyard.
Image from Internet blog