Spilka says she would have voted “yes” if the sports betting bill had gone to appeal


In late April, the Massachusetts Senate passed a sports betting bill by ballot. After Senate Speaker Karen Spilka faced criticism for a lack of transparency around voting, which doesn’t show the public how individual lawmakers would vote, she said Boston Public Radio Friday that she would have voted yes if the vote had been roll-call.

Spilka promised on Friday that the final vote would be by name.

“It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of gambling,” Spilka said, citing her vote against a casino law in 2010. “I would have voted yes to that particular bill [these] very strong consumer protection.”

Spilka pointed to portions of the bill that would require 9% of revenue to go to addiction treatment resources, bans on using credit cards for betting and advertising restrictions as conditions that led to her support.

The House of Representatives also approved a version of the Sports Betting Act in April. Next, the House and Senate will settle any differences before a final vote — differences perhaps most notably involving whether to legalize college sports betting.

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

She hinted that there would be more to protect abortion in the Commonwealth Supreme Court draft decision leaked that would tip over Roe v. calf that was first reported by POLITICO.

“We’re looking at the language, working with reproductive attorneys, working with the attorney general to figure out what else we need to do,” she said. “We are examining other legislative options. Again, this is all very early, but I expect we will do more as well.”

The Senate will begin debate on the budget on May 24th.


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