Saturday, March 8, 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.
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John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
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Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
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Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
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Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
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