That's no surprise. I've typed my fingers raw on this issue, and so will hold back on the substance until the bill is available for review. What's got me revved up this morning is the teeny tiny little wink of a eeenie weenie little "reform" that is hidden in the State House News's blurb announcing DeLeo's planned press conference. See if you catch it:
DeLEO TO DETAIL GAMBLING BILL THURSDAY: House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Thursday morning will outline long-awaited details of his legislation to authorize casinos and racetrack slots machines in Massachusetts. The Winthrop Democrat will discuss his bill at 10 a.m. Thursday at the foot of the State House's Grand Staircase. He will be joined by Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill), co-chairman of the Legislature's Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee. That committee is technically charged with reviewing and voting on expanded gambling bills. An aide to DeLeo said Tuesday that the committee will not vote on DeLeo's bill prior to the press conference.See it? Here's a hint: it's in the very last line. "An aide to DeLeo said Tuesday that the committee (that'd be the committee that "is technically charged with reviewing and voting on expanding gambling bills") will not vote on DeLeo's bill prior to the press conference".
So the committee that is "technically" (interesting word) responsible for review of gaming legislation will hold off on voting on DeLeo's bill until AFTER the bill is released to the public!
See?? REFORM! And as we all know, it's tough to put the genie back in the bottle. Before you know it, we could be seeing all sorts of wacky "democracy" breaking out on Beacon Hill. Committee meetings open to the press, recorded votes on controversial issues... maybe even the occasional debate on the House floor, complete with opposing points of view freely expressed and legislators allowed to vote as they wish without fear of petty retribution from leadership!
Ah, but I'm getting way ahead of myself. All of that will probably have to wait at least until after November second. For now, it's just nice to of the Speaker and his people to allow the public a quick glance at the casino bill before the railroading begins.
UPDATE: Seems I really was getting way ahead of myself. The railroad has well and truly begun. This just out from the State House News:
Poised to detail legislation Thursday morning sanctioning two resort casinos and slot machines for the state’s four racetracks, Speaker Robert DeLeo met privately with House leaders Wednesday and told them he wanted two-thirds majority in favor of the bill, inoculating it from a potential gubernatorial veto.So Speaker DeLeo wants "a two-thirds majority" in favor of legislation that for all intents and purposes will be substantively indistinguishable to the bill that was defeated overwhelmingly a couple of years back, when DeLeo's (now indicted) predecessor expressed a very different - though no less emphatic - "want" to his members. It will be fun to listen to the many, many strained justifications for all of the votes that flip this time around.
In any event, my illusions are shattered. My brief moment of Hope for Change is over. I'm back to being my usual, cynical self.