UPDATE June 2014:
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday, June 24 to allow the state casino law to appear in the November ballot. This came just days after more than 26,000 additional petition signatures from across the Commonwealth were submitted to the Secretary of State’s office.
“We conclude that the Attorney General erred in declining to certify, and grant the requested relief so that the initiative may be decided by the voters at the November election,” SJC Justice Ralph Gants wrote in a ruling issued.
The signatures received were more than double the necessary 11,485 signatures for the second round! This round features all new signers, adding to the 90,000 signatures previously collected and filed last fall.
Thanks to all those who faithfully fought for family values and joined the efforts of MFI in this battle to stop predatory gambling. Voters will now have the opportunity to repeal the 2011 law legalizing casinos, giving the people of Massachusetts the right to make their voices heard on gambling in our state.
UPDATE May 2014:
MFI is working diligently with “Repeal the Casino Deal” to repeal the law which will allow our state government to partner with powerful gambling interests and promote casino gambling to our fellow citizens. Repeal the Casino Deal absolutely needs your help — this is the ONLY chance to stop predatory gambling in Massachusetts. We must collect 11,500 more certified signatures by mid-June in order to be on the ballot in November.
We ask you to share the following information with anyone you know who is passionate about keeping casinos out of Massachusetts. Here are some ways people can participate:
You can make your own copies if they are the same look, size and paper weight as the original petition (Staples, white, 28 lb. works well). You can download a PDF version HERE. Print double-sided front-to-back (make sure back side is not upside-down). If they are different, then the signatures collected on them will not be valid.
Clear, simple instructions on how the petitions must be signed are available here.
2. Collect signatures at your congregation.
Video instructions for collecting after a service:
Collecting signatures in churches for a non-partisan ballot initiative is absolutely approved by the IRS. It is no different than voter registration. CLICK HERE for more details on a church signature drive.
3. Collect signatures in front of the local post office or supermarket.
More detailed instructions
4. Request a “friends and family packet” from email@example.com to collect signatures among family
members, coworkers or neighbors.
5. Learn about the issue at www.repealthecasinodeal.org.
Please pray for the success of the signature drive and contact the statewide campaign manager Darek Barcikowski if you are able to assist with this effort at 617-869-0601 / firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE May 2014:
We have one final hurdle to get the gambling question on this November’s ballot: we need to collect 11,485 certified signatures of Massachusetts registered voters starting on May 9th through June 18th when all petition papers must be turned into city & town clerks to be certified. Voter signatures who already signed last fall DO NOT COUNT so we need 11,485 new voters. That gives us 39 days to collect 19,142 raw signatures which, at a conservative certification rate of 60%, would allow us to meet the goal of 11,485.
Conservatively, a volunteer can collect 25 signatures per hour using two clipboards (with a RTCD sticker on the back) at a location with good foot traffic. The benefit of using at least two clipboards is while one voter is signing the petition you can be asking another voter passing by to sign on the second clipboard. Three clipboards are even more effective- you’ll collect at a far greater clip.
Set a goal for yourself. Many citizens statewide have committed themselves to collect at least 500 signatures…that’s only 100 per week. At a conservative pace of 25 signatures per hour using two clipboards at once, it’s only four hours per week for five weeks. This strategy does not include the additional signatures you will easily collect within the daily routine of your life such as your social network, work colleagues, family, neighbors, church members, PTO meetings, etc.
We have the power to bring change to the direction of our state. This signature drive gives us the opportunity to exercise that power. Click HERE for instructions on how to collect this final round of signatures. Also, click HERE for special instructions on holding a signature drive in your church.
For a copy of the petition, CLICK HERE.
UPDATE Dec 2013:
We have met the first milestone! We have been formally notified by the Secretary of State that of the 76,192 signatures that were submitted on December 4th, 72,901 were certified which more than met the constitutional requirement of 68,911 certified signatures. Needless to say, this is a major accomplishment and to every individual, and especially the over 100 churches that participated in the signature drive, a hearty WELL DONE!
But two more hurdles remain before we can be on the November 2014 ballot to give the citizens of Massachusetts the opportunity to vote on casinos and slot parlors.
1. The first week of January the petition for a law to ban casinos and slot parlors will be submitted to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. By the MA Constitution, if the Legislature does not pass such a law by May 6 (and it is highly unlikely that they will), we will have to collect another 11,485 certified signatures by June 18th to be on the November ballot.
2. The Attorney General did not approve our petition claiming that the license applications by casino operators are “property” and the MA Constitution says that an initiative petition cannot take away property. Repeal the Casino Deal is appealing the AG’s decision to the State Supreme Judicial Court and the decision will be made before the May 6 legislative deadline. We are confident that we will win because the SJC has previously ruled licenses for dog track racing are not “property.”
Again thanks to all who helped to make this first major victory possible. Let us all enjoy a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and be energized for the two remaining hurdles in 2014 to be on the November ballot.
MFI has consistently worked to prevent the expansion of predatory gambling in Massachusetts. That is why MFI President Kris Mineau added his name as one of the first ten signatories of the Initiative Petition that was filed with the Attorney General on August 7 to repeal the 2011 Casino law. In doing so, we are joining forces with “Repeal the Casino Deal” (www.repealthecasinodeal.org) which is a diverse coalition of public health, municipal, family and religious leaders, along with concerned citizens from all walks of life who believe that predatory gambling destroys families, communities and cultures. Throughout the next 15 months, we will be working to repeal the law which has allowed state government to partner with powerful gambling interests to promote casino gambling to our fellow citizens.
MFI believes our local government should not be promoting expanded gambling any more than they should be promoting alcohol, tobacco or recreational drugs. Expanded gambling is also not the answer to our state’s financial problems –the costs to our families, communities and culture posed by local casinos are too great! You can learn more about the problems caused by casinos here.
As yet, no casinos are in operation because the bidding and licensing processes are still underway. But for the first time since the casino law was passed, we have the opportunity to “Repeal the Casino Deal” through a citizen initiative petition that was filed with the Attorney General to place the repeal of the 2011 Casino Law on the November 2014 ballot. You can review the petition at www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2013-petitions/13-09.pdf .
For more information, contact Brian Ashmankas below:
Repeal the Casino Deal
P.O. Box 520162
Winthrop, MA 02152
Why Casinos Matter: Thirty-One Evidence-Based Propositions from the Health and Social Sciences – CLICK HERE
Facts on Casinos and Slots http://stoppredatorygambling.org/facts-research/spg-research-center/
Are Casinos Like Cocaine to the Brian? http://www.centerforpublicconversation.org/events/v/casinos-20120426.php
Slots in Massachusetts