I have thought from the start that one of the toughest challenges facing a Fall River casino would be removing the legal restrictions that specifically prohibit a casino from being built on the site. After all, why would any legislator who is vying for a casino in their district vote to increase the competition they might face?
It turns out that Senator Menard has come up with a clever solution to that particular problem, she has put forth an amendment to the Senate's casino bill to allow a casino to be built on the land originally intended for a BioPark. Menard's maneuver is quite simple, if the casino bill passes the restriction on the Fall River land would be reversed. Joan was obviously counting on more senators voting in favor of a casino than would be worried about the land use provision she amended to the bill.
Of course one colleague who is worried about the amendment is Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford. Mark is opposed to Menard's amendment citing environmental concerns. Menard is quick to point out that New Bedford is also in the running for a casino and believes this is Montigny's true motives.
The result of all of this was another delay on the voting of the senate bill but a decision will have to be made on Thursday, as the Senate President has stated she will not allow for any more delays.
Lefty's View: It's clear that by adding this amendment to the casino bill that Senator Menard is looking for the easy win, rather fitting since it involves gambling. The truth is reversing an earlier decision is worthy of serious discussion and not a free pass. Back in 2002 would Fall River have been allowed to create the BioPark if the 'no casino' clause had not been part of the deal? It's easy to say that the majority is in favor but that is not enough reason to override an earlier decision without revisiting the reasons behind it. Allowing this to be so easily bypassed sets a horrible precedent and makes any safeguards to preserve land for specific uses practically worthless.