Sunday, September 25

Spilka says she ‘would have voted yes’ had sports betting bill gone to roll call


At the end of April, the Massachusetts Senate passed a sports betting bill via a voice vote. Having faced criticism around the lack of transparency in voice votes, which don’t show the public how individual lawmakers would vote, Senate President Karen Spilka told Boston Public Radio Friday that she would have voted yes had the vote been a roll call.

Spilka committed Friday that the final vote will be a roll call.

“It’s no secret, I am not a fan of gambling,” Spilka said, referencing her vote against a casino law in 2010. “I would have voted yes on this particular bill based on [these] very strong pieces of consumer protection.”

Spilka pointed to parts of the bill that would require 9% of revenue going to addiction treatment resources, prohibitions on credit card use for betting and limits on advertising as conditions that led to her support.

The House also approved a version of the sports betting bill in April. Next, the House and Senate will reconcile any differences before a final vote — differences that perhaps most notably include whether college sports betting will be legalized.

The Senate President also discussed the Senate’s $50 million budget plan released Tuesday, which includes funding for early education, childcare, opioid addiction treatment, mental health care, higher education scholarships and more. The budget also allocates $2 million towards reproductive health care and rights.

She hinted that there is more to come on protecting abortions in the commonwealth, following the leaked Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade that was first reported by POLITICO.

“We are looking at language, working with reproduction advocates, working with the attorney general as to what more we need to do,” she said. “We’re looking at other legislative options. Again, this is all very early, but I anticipate that we will do more as well.”

The Senate will start debating the budget on May 24.





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