Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has signed a $36.5 billion dollar budget for 2015.
Patrick signed the spending plan into law at the statehouse Friday morning. Lawmakers sent him the budget for review June 30th, marking the end of the fiscal year. A bill was passed to fund state government during the gap period. The Democrat had ten days to look it over and spoke with WAMC News on July 7th.
The panel overseeing the state's casino law is exploring the potential impacts should Internet gambling come to Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission held a daylong forum Tuesday on Internet gambling, which is currently legal in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby suggested that the Legislature not make any decisions on the legalization of online gambling until the panel completes the process of awarding casino licenses in Massachusetts.
As Massachusetts moves closer to issuing the state’s first casino licenses a potential referendum battle is looming.
Anti-casino leaders are busy developing a campaign strategy to persuade Massachusetts voters to repeal the state’s 2011 gaming law that authorized casino gambling. Steve Abdow, a member of the leadership team of the Repeal the Casino Deal ballot initiative said the message will be pretty straightforward.
" It's really a matter of education. If people understand the negative impact and that the casinos won't deliver what is promised."
A key deadline is approaching for supporters of proposed questions for the 2014 Massachusetts state ballot.
Backers are working to collect at least 68,911 signatures around Massachusetts to allow the initiative petitions to remain alive. Those signatures must be presented to city and town clerks by Wednesday so they can be certified in time to be submitted to the secretary of state's office by a Dec. 4 deadline.
Among the proposed ballot questions is an expansion of the state's beverage deposit law to include bottled water and other non-carbonated drinks.