The 2017 Legislative Session of the Connecticut General Assembly begins on January 4. With only one month to go, The Connecticut Conference's Legislative Advocate, Michele Mudrick, has been working hard to organize the opposition to an issue that has been raised regularly in recent years: a new casino in the state.
"We already have two of the largest casinos in the world in Connecticut," says Mudrick. "We do not need another built on the backs of low wage earners, minorities, and the elderly."
The Conference Annual Meeting has approved several resolutions against expanded gambling, dating from 1974 through 1995. In 1994, delegates voted in favor of a resolution that urges "local congregations to marshal all other relevant resources to express opposition to and influence legislation against casino gambling."
In 2015, the General Assembly passed a Special Act [SA 15-7
] that established a process for municipalities to consider off-reservation partnerships with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe or the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut. Though the act opened the door for a possible new casino, the process states that the General Assembly would have to pass a law recognizing any partnership and then another law specifically legalizing off-reservation gambling in the state. Because the act passed with only a narrow margin in the Senate (20 for; 16 against), Mudrick says any further efforts to expand casino gambling can be defeated.
"This is a winnable issue," said Mudrick. "We have been lobbying to educate Legislators on this issue so they vote against another casino."
Leading the efforts to oppose further casinos in the state, Mudrick has spent the past seven months organizing and building the Coalition against Casino Expansion in CT. To date, nine organizations have joined the Coalition. Several others are still in discernment about joining the effort.
Mudrick has outlined several actions that people can take to oppose the further development of casinos in Connecticut:
- Read information on the newly developed Coalition website NoMoreCasinosInCT.org.
- "Like" the Coalition's new Facebook page, which will post regular updates as newly proposed bills are raised.
- Sign up to be part of the CTUCC Advocate Corps - a group of volunteers who agree to respond to Mudrick's call to write, email, or call state legislators regarding specific issues that concern the Conference.
- Attend the Coalition's informational meeting for Tuesday, December 20 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Connecticut Conference Office in Hartford. Interested parties are asked to contact Mudrick at email@example.com to join this meeting.