Slot machine dilemma stalls other issues

The slot machine controversy seems to have caused a figurative fender bender as other key pieces of legislation are also being delayed. With four days left in the legislative session, the great casino debate still hasn’t been resolved. In the process, advocates for different bills are left biting their nails as they watch the session wind down.

The Boston Globe reported today that supporters of Stop Handgun Violence are worried that their efforts might end up in vain. The group, founded by John Rosenthal, supports a bill that could tighten handgun purchases. That piece of legislation is now in jeopardy as well because the House and the Senate are so embroiled over slot machines.

Other bills that could be jeopardized include the proposed tax holiday. Though it is possible that the measure might not be passed because of budget concerns, it seems more likely that the slot machine debacle could be to blame. The President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Jon Hurst attests to the trouble the gambling legislation is causing. Hurst stated that advocates are closely watching the casino bill because it’s, “’…having an impact on a whole lot of other activity.’”

In light of virtually endless contention, it could be argued that the controversy is proof that the gambling bill might not be as effective as described. If the bill can actually bolster the economy, then why hasn’t it passed? After all, union giant Teamsters 25 organized a major demonstration on Beacon Hill in favor of casinos. Plus, both versions of the bill received popular support in both the Senate and the House.


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