Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MA Casinos: WARNING - do not read this with a mouthful of coffee

Best & Brightest
Remember a few weeks ago when the Massachusetts State Senate painted itself in glory by loudly shouting down a proposed five year ban on legislators accepting jobs in the soon-to-be-born Massachusetts casino industry?  After one esteemed Senator indignantly proclaimed that such a ban would create "a presumption that the people in this body cannot operate with integrity," the Democratic caucus recessed behind closed doors and trimmed the five year ban to a more palatable single year.  All in favor?  The ayes have it.

Well it seems House Democrats don't much like being shown up in the self-parody department.  Are you drinking coffee?  Swallow.  Put down the cup.  Seriously - coffee stains most anything, and it burns when spurting out of the nose.

Ready?  Here's the State House News this afternoon, reporting on the first non-meeting of the casino conference committee (the joint House-Senate committee charged with trading horses in secret to produce a bill that the Governor has already secretly agreed to sign.  Or something.):
The House member leading negotiations on expanded gambling legislation indicated Tuesday that he's inclined to oppose an attempt by senators to block lawmakers from working in the casino industry for a year after they leave office.

"It's my sense that this matter is so important that we should not preclude the best and the brightest from being eligible even if those people would be in government presently," said Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) told reporters at the State House.
Of course!  If the casino industry is to have any chance of flourishing here in the Commonwealth, surely we cannot deny it access to the brain trust that is the Great and General Court.  Glad I warned you about the coffee?

Not that there aren't plenty of perfectly intelligent and able individuals roaming those halls.  There are.  (Stop it.  Seriously - there are.  I've met them.)   But, I don't know, don't we think the multi-billion dollar gaming machine could manage to muddle through for a mere twelve months without access to that particular segment of the workforce?

Rep. Wagner wasn't done (put down the cup!):

"I don't think we should say we want to bring an industry online that doesn't exist, make it the best it can be - particularly compared with other states who are doing the same thing - and then tie one or both hands behind our backs by limiting ourselves. That's my personal view going in. How it plays out remains to be seen."
Actually, in point of ironic fact how it plays out remains most definitely not "to be seen," thanks to Rep. Wagner's colleagues on the conference committee.  More SHNS:
Wagner's comments came minutes after six conference committee members negotiating a consensus gambling bill voted unanimously to close their meetings to the public, in keeping with the Legislature's recent tradition to hold private discussions on the final contours of major legislation. Members of conference committees often settle some of the most contentious public policy issues facing the state.

The motion to close the meeting was made by House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) and seconded by Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster). The committee, which met 40 minutes late because its co-chair, Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst), was debating a redistricting bill, recessed immediately to return to House and Senate sessions. They plan to resume talks after the sessions.
Wagner's comments evidence either a stunning lack of political awareness - or his certain knowledge that some number of his colleagues are eying a casino-related pay hike, and in short order.  I suppose which it is "remains to be seen"...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the coffee warning. You should have also warned us to get some kleenex b/c the crookedness of this process and the lack of press coverage makes me want to cry.


No spamming, flaming, cursing, or other such nonsense tolerated. Thanks for engaging on those terms - Greg