This Week At The State House

By Sarah Birnbaum

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Oct. 17, 2011

BOSTON — Massachusetts state politics the week of Oct. 17 brings a first look at redistricting, and continued progress on the casino gambling bill.

State lawmakers are waiting with bated breath for the redistricting committee to reveal the first draft of the new electoral map. The co-chairmen of the redistricting committee say they’re only focusing on state House and Senate districts right now. The more contentious issue of how to eliminate one of the state's 10 seats in the U.S. Congress will wait for at least another week. Still, the political careers of numerous state senators and representatives could hang in the balance. One priority of the committee is to create more majority-minority districts in the House, particularly in the city of Lawrence, where the Hispanic population has grown by more than 30% over the past decade. 

The committee’s decision won’t be final. The new map must still go to both the House and Senate for a final vote and be approved by Governor Deval Patrick.

Casino gambling continues its path through the State House. The Speaker of the House and Senate President will likely appoint a six-member conference committee this week, to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Both versions authorize three resort casinos in three different regions of the state and one slot parlor. Sen. Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst, the Senate’s point person on gambling, hopes to have a final bill on the governor’s desk by Thanksgiving.

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