Massachusetts: Senate set to resume debate on casino bill

The Massachusetts Senate is set to resume debate on a bill that would license three resort-style casinos and a slots parlor in the state.

Debate was abruptly cut off on Tuesday after Sen. Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, used a parliamentary maneuver to delay a vote.

Spilka said more time was needed to review dozens of pending amendments.

Under Senate rules, a bill can be tabled up to three times without a vote. Senate President Therese Murray’s office say opponents have now used all three of those opportunities.

There’s at least one more maneuver that opponents could use to again postpone a vote.

The Senate approved several amendments during two days of debate last week, including a one-year ban on lawmakers working in the gambling industry after leaving office.

Murray told WATD-FM last Thursday, the debate last week was “passionate,” not “contentious” as had been reported by several media outlets.

Click here to listen to the complete interview Steven Dodrill did
with Senate President Therese Murray on Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Last Thursday, Murray said the Senate has a long way to go before a vote could be cast, and said she would not count on finishing debate by this week, and said more than 80 amendments still had to be debated.

Murray says after a senate vote that could come sometime within the next two weeks, the bill goes to the conference committees, to iron out differences, and then back to the house and senate for a vote. The final step would be to send the bill to the governor for a signature.

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