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House Speaker proposes referendum on casinos

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May 21, 2008

BOSTON - House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi proposed to reopen the casino issue today by placing a nonbinding referendum on the November ballot.

In a statement released from his office, DiMasi said "I remain opposed to casino gambling. Rather than have our budget negotiations stall over a potential casino impasse, I suggest we put this before the voters in a nonbinding referendum question and reconsider it next year."
A nonbinding referendum requires approval of the House, Senate, and the governor and provides an official measurement of voter sentiment that lawmakers can use as a guide for action or ignore with inaction.

"Poll after poll has shown solid support for the governor's resort casino proposal," said Daniel O'Connell, Patrick's economic development secretary and chief adviser on gambling issues. "With all due respect to the speaker, we feel that a nonbinding referendum may not be the best course of action at this time."

Senate President Therese Murray said she was open to DiMasi's idea for a referendum.

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