Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Senate voted 20-15 late last night to reject a joint order that would have required lawmakers to write a bill to allow the Passamaquoddy Tribe to add up to 100 slot machines to their Beano facility in Calais.
The order passed the House earlier in the day after a moving speech by Passamaquoddy Rep. Madonna Soctomah. She said while the tribes have been repeatedly rejected by voters, out of state companies and others have been allowed to open gambling facilities in Bangor and Oxford County.
"But the membership of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, a people who predate European settlement in Maine, are told no," she said.
Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, speaking on the floor of the Senate, raised similar themes in his attempt to sway enough support for the order.
"I would ask the Legislature to think for a moment how your constituents would feel, how the Passamaquoddy feel, how the tribal leaders here in the chamber feel, at the prospect of being told again, in year 20, that there's a reason this isn't the right time," he said.
Yet Assistant Senate Majority Leader Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, said the joint order, which laid out in detail what would the tribe could do, didn't leave time for a public hearing or a public vote. She called it "an abuse of the process."
Shortly after 11 p.m., the Senate voted to reject the order.
Soctomah brought the order forward following votes on two other gambling bills this week -- one that puts the brakes on new casinos and racinos and one that allows veterans groups to have slots at their meeting halls.
Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.
Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @stevemistler
Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell
Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH
Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
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On Twitter: @randybillings
Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc
Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME