Monday, July 26, 2010

Republican Leaders Hit Closed-Door Casino Talks

BOSTON – Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei and House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. today criticized House and Senate leadership for excluding Republican negotiators from a late-afternoon summit on casino gambling.

The State House News Service reports that following today’s leadership meeting with Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are meeting with House and Senate conferees in a “last-ditch effort to salvage” the casino bill before the end of session. However, neither of the two Republicans serving on the conference committee – Senator Richard Ross and Representative Paul Frost – has been asked to participate in the meeting.

“It’s pretty pathetic that it’s come down to this, where decisions on a proposal that will dramatically impact the landscape of the entire state are being made behind closed doors without input from Republican members,” said Senator Tisei. “It’s ironic this is happening under the watch of the same governor who campaigned on a promise of more openness and transparency in state government. This is nothing more than the same old ‘business as usual’ on Beacon Hill.”

“This latest stunt further highlights that the status quo is alive and well on Beacon Hill,” said Representative Jones. “It is this kind of behavior that the people of Massachusetts are fed up with and though I am not surprised by this latest display of arrogance, I am indeed disappointed and frustrated especially since this is an issue where Republicans have been supportive.”

The casino gambling bill has been in conference committee since July 6. Unless the House and Senate agree on a compromise by July 31, the bill will have to be re-filed for the 2011-2012 session.