Reporter's Notebook: City Council gains sign-off power on casino referendum

As the City Council quietly juggled a hot potato tossed by a former colleague, lawmakers on Beacon Hill threw another overheated spud its way.

The sudden resignation of Dorchester City Councillor Maureen Feeney set in motion widespread speculation that she is headed for the higher-paying job of city clerk. The council has the power to vote her into the cushy gig and could do so before the end of the year— if they choose to dislodge the current clerk, Rosaria Salerno.

Last week, State House lawmakers handed the city councillors another power, which may cause even more heartburn for the 13-member body. Tucked into the final version of the casino bill lawmakers sent to Gov. Deval Patrick last week was a provision giving the City Council the authority to set up a city-wide referendum on a gaming facility.  Read more

Patrick closes door on single racino, plans to return gambling bill today

By Kyle Cheney and Michael Norton, State House News Service
Aug. 2, 2010

BOSTON, AUG. 2, 2010……As expanded gambling legislation formally arrived on his desk Monday, Gov. Deval Patrick reversed course on his approval of a single racetrack slot facility and said he would immediately return the bill with an amendment to approve gambling at resort casinos but not stand-alone slots facilities.

"I am done with that," Patrick said during a campaign-related press conference in Boston, referring to racetrack slots, his proclamation further rattling the political discord over the legislation that became increasingly apparent in the past five days. Referring to casinos, Patrick said, "Let's enact what we agree on."  Read more

AG eyes tighter laws before casino fight

Anticipating at least a debate around expanded gambling this fall, and perhaps operational casino or slot machine venues as early as next year, Attorney General Martha Coakley is pushing for expanded wiretapping authority and a new definition of money-laundering aimed at curbing sophisticated economic crimes.

The proposal Coakley filed Monday would update money laundering and wiretapping statutes, both of which are likely to pop up as policymakers advocating casinos or slot machines are hoping to tamp down the accompanying concerns about corruption.  Read more

Walsh, Wallace lead renewed charge for casinos

The resignation of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, an avowed opponent of casino gambling, was barely official last week before eyes on Beacon Hill turned to the renewed potential of bringing three casinos to the Bay State.

DiMasi's successor, Rep. Robert DeLeo, is a supporter of slots at the state's racetracks and is open to discussing casinos. Last year, under DiMasi's watch and direction, House lawmakers overwhelmingly defeated Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to expand gambling.  Read more