State Capitol Briefs – Monday, Jan. 27, 2014


Foxwoods Resort and Casino will enter the hunt for a casino license in southeastern Massachusetts, as executives from the Connecticut casino plan to hold a press conference with Fall River Mayor William Flanagan on Tuesday. Foxwoods and Crossroads Massachusetts secured a host community agreement in Milford, but voters rejected the proposal. The southeastern region is on a slightly different track than the east and west regions, as the Mashpee Wampanoag are waiting for federal approval to move forward with their application for a casino in Taunton. KG Urban Enterprises wants to build a casino at an old waterfront power plant in New Bedford, and The Claremont Companies has announced hopes to develop a Bridgewater site, though the construction company has not filed an application on its own. Flanagan’s office said the 10 a.m. press conference in Fall River’s Government Center Tuesday will be to announce the city as the site of a $750 million resort casino. The mayor’s office said no further information would be available before the press conference. The Herald News reported a site in the city has not yet been selected. – A. Metzger/SHNS

He hasn’t drawn a Republican or a primary challenge so far, but new poll results suggest that U.S. Sen. Edward Markey has failed to gain the type of popularity that could insulate an incumbent seeking re-election. The MassINC Polling group survey found 43 percent think it’s time to give a new person a chance, while 30 percent said Markey deserves re-election. Twenty-seven percent did not offer an opinion. “Massachusetts voters haven’t developed a strong attachment to Senator Markey,” said Steve Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group. “His initial election was in a low wattage affair with historically low turnout, and many voters apparently haven’t connected with him since.” Markey was elected last June to the Senate after serving nearly 37 years in the U.S. House. Chosen to replace John Kerry, who resigned from the Senate to become secretary of state, Markey faces re-election this November for a full six-year term. The MassINC quarterly survey polled 502 residents, including 431 registered Massachusetts voters, from Jan. 22 through Jan. 25 and had a margin of error of 4.4 percent. Of those registered voters surveyed, 34 percent had a favorable view of Markey and 24 percent viewed him unfavorably. Twenty-seven percent knew of Markey but had no opinion, while 14 percent said they did not know the Malden Democrat. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren registered a 53-29 favorable/unfavorable split. Only 6 percent did not know Warren, and 13 percent had no opinion. More results from the quarterly poll will be released this week. – M. Murphy/SHNS

The owner of a senior citizen apartment community in Fall River has agreed to extend its Section 8 contract for 20 years in March, preserving the affordability of 125 apartments, including 114 one-bedroom units. MassHousing on Monday announced the deal as part of a $7.1 million loan closing at Tecumseh Mill on Hartwell Street in Fall River. The former steam-powered cotton mill was built in 1866 and converted in 1984 into an affordable housing community under the federal Housing and Urban Development Department’s Section 8 program. -M. Norton/SHNS

A land-based wind energy siting reform bill faltered within one vote of Gov. Deval Patrick’s desk in 2010, but the issue remains on the Patrick administration’s radar. The state Department of Public Utilities is holding public hearings in connection with its own investigation into best practices for land-based wind siting, with the goal of developing siting guidance for municipalities considering wind projects. In addition to a hearing Monday at 5 p.m. at the Koussevitzsky Arts Center in Pittsfield, hearings are planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Gloucester High School and Thursday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. at the Tilden Arts Center, 2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable. – M. Norton/SHNS

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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