House Legislators Reject Massachusetts Casino Proposal In A Close Vote

On March 19th, 2008, after a four hour break with parliamentary debate, a legislative committee has decided to deny the casino proposal of Governor Deval Patrick in a ten to eight vote, with a single abstention. Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and House Representative Daniel Bosley, one of the committee chairman, held a press conference to discuss the decision. Bosley, a staunch gaming critic, did not want to announce the initial vote, but other members of the committee commented that the vote was tied at nine all and a single person abstaining from the vote.

The four hour extension gave Speaker DiMasi, Governor Patrick and the labor organizations to talk with several hesitant individuals. Much of the convincing were centered on Representative Robert Rice, a member of the Democrat party from Gardner who chose to abstain from the first vote, according to Representative Brian Wallace, a member of the Democrat Party from South Boston who has been one of the chief supporters of the casino proposal.

Supporters of the casino proposal also felt that they could convince Representative Thomas Conroy, a Democrat from Wayland, who chose to vote no during the first vote. But Conroy said that he will not change his mind about his decision. Bosley and other opponents of the casino did not expect to encounter opposition from the parliament but the decision was really close.

To complicate things, Bosley made a mistake by giving permission to the committee to attach six other casino related proposals to the proposal of Gov. Patrick. Some committees usually bundled together some bills to send them out but this is an embarrassing mistake. Lawmakers on both sides of the issue commented that there are no hidden agenda behind the issue.