The Associated Press

Mass. Senate Concludes Contentious 2nd Day Of Casino Debate

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved an amendment that would require lawmakers wait one year after leaving office before taking a job with a casino or other gambling establishment.

Leaders had initially indicated the Senate would back a version of the amendment creating a five-year “cooling off period.”

Sen. James Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, said the tougher version was needed to help guard against the perception that lawmakers who vote to approve casinos might turn around and use their political connections to land a casino job.

But critics including Sen. Gale Candaras, a Democrat from Wilbraham, said a five-year “cooling off period” would feed the public’s cynicism of Beacon Hill.

She accused casino opponents of “launching an attack” against their colleagues who support casinos.

The Senate approved the amendment — one of 182 they’re debating — 36-1.

Also Tuesday, the Senate rejected a proposed amendment that would have allowed slot machines at Logan Airport.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Marc Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat, argued the measure would have allowed the state to boost gambling revenues by targeting tourists and other visitors to the state.

But critics said it would dilute the concentration of slot machines at the three casinos and one slots parlor to be created by the bill.

The Senate ended a second day of debate and is expected to take up the legislation against next Tuesday.

The House overwhelmingly approved a casino bill earlier this month.

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