Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adding Transparency to the Expanded Gaming Debate

With Beacon Hill leaders working to come to an agreement on an expanded gaming bill for release in the fall, the Massachusetts Senate Republican Caucus and I are trying to ensure that the process will include ample time for legislators and the public to consider the content of any bill that becomes the subject of debate.

The order – which is scheduled to be taken up by the Senate at today’s formal session – stipulates that the Senate cannot “consider or act upon any bill authorizing any form of gaming not currently permitted in the Commonwealth,” including casinos or slot machines, until 10 calendar days after the filing of the report of said bill by the Senate Ways and Means Committee with the Senate Clerk.

Expanded gaming is one of the most complicated and sensitive issues facing our state government, and one in which even minor variations can have major consequences politically and practically. Given these facts, the legislative process to consider any gaming issues demands that people have time to review any bill to be taken seriously in order to make the informed decisions the subject deserves.