SHNS Campaign Notebook — Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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State House News Service — CITING BANKRUPTCY LAW BACKGROUND, WARREN OPPOSES CASINO LAW — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Monday she didn’t support the expanded gambling law when state lawmakers passed it in 2011 and she doesn’t expect to support keeping it under a ballot question in November. Question 3 would repeal the 2011 law that allows for up to three resort-style casinos. “I’m not sure how it’s going to come out,” Warren told reporters after speaking to labor leaders and activists inside the Park Plaza Hotel, when asked about the ballot question. The posters and banners that hung inside the hotel for the Greater Boston Labor Council’s Labor Day breakfast directed union members and their supporters to vote against Question 3. Pressed on how she plans to vote on the question, Warren, an expert in bankruptcy law who taught at Harvard Law School before winning the 2012 U.S. Senate race, said, “You have to remember, I come to the question of gambling from a background in bankruptcy and what happens economically to families. It’s a tough call to make.” Warren added, “People need jobs, but gambling can also be a real problem, economically, for a lot of people. I didn’t support gambling the first time around and I don’t expect to support it.” Warren, a Cambridge Democrat, declined to wade into the Democratic primaries for governor and attorney general set for Sept. 9. “It’s a Democratic primary and we are blessed to have three incredibly strong candidates,” she said of the three-way race between Attorney General Martha Coakley, Treasurer Steve Grossman and pediatrician Don Berwick. Asked about the closely contested race for attorney general between former prosecutor Maura Healey and former lawmaker Warren Tolman, Warren said, “It’s also a Democratic primary and we are blessed to have two superb candidates.” – G. Dumcius/SHNS

The banner hanging over the head table at the Greater Boston Labor Council’s annual breakfast laid it out. “The AFL-CIO Says… No On Question 1: It’s a Reckless Idea…No On Question 3: It’s About Jobs…Yes On Question 4: Earned Sick Time Now.” Question 1 would repeal indexing gas tax increases to inflation, Question 3 would repeal the 2011 casino law that was championed by unions, and Question 4 would mandate earned sick time for employees. But one November ballot question was missing from the banner: Question 2, which would expand the bottle deposit law to cover water bottles and sports drinks. Environmental groups are backing the question, while opponents, which include business groups and supermarkets, say retailers and consumers would be negatively affected and are pushing an alternative of expanding curbside recycling programs. Rich Rogers, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council, said his group hasn’t taken a position. “We never brought it up,” he said, adding that the AFL-CIO, headed by Steven Tolman, is the group that often makes the endorsements. “It was tabled or whatever. They just never took a policy position… There wasn’t interest on either side, I guess.” Tolman said most of his union’s members are “ambivalent” on the question. The union will be focusing on the ballot questions it does support, he added. How to vote on Question 2 will be “up to our members,” he said. – G. Dumcius/SHNS

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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