Addiction warnings approved for slots
Secretary of State William F. Galvin warned senators late last month that a controversial provision in the casino bill restricting which Boston voters get a say on a proposed casino might face court challenges “on equity provisions” and on the principle of “one person, one vote.”
Galvin wrote about his concerns in a Sept. 20 memorandum to state Senator Stephen Brewer, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
The casino bill, which is being debated in the Senate today, requires developers to win approval in a local referendum before building a casino in a city or town. But the bill includes one exception: In cities with at least 125,000 residents, only the neighborhood or ward in which a casino is proposed would get a vote. The provision is most likely to affect Boston, where Suffolk Downs wants to build a casino in East Boston.
Galvin, who oversees state elections, lives in the Boston neighborhood of Brighton. His memo addressed a number of details in the bill that affect elections, including his recommendation to require citywide referenda in all municipalities for casino developers.
“It appears the interest of the entire city could be affected by the establishment of a gaming facility,” Galvin wrote in the memo, which was obtained by the Globe. “Therefore, I would respectfully request that this language be amended to allow the entire municipality to participate in the binding ballot question election.”
Brewer, reached by phone this morning, said he would review the memo before responding to questions from the Globe.
State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat, has filed an amendment that would require developers to win ballot approval from an entire city, regardless of size. It is expected to be taken up either today or Thursday. Many are expecting the Senate to vote on the entire bill sometime Thursday.
The House passed a casino bill last month that requires approval only from a neighborhood or ward in large cities.