Sen. Somers, Sen. Formica Testify Against Bill that Would Revoke East Windsor Casino License for Tribes

March 15, 2018

Somers 2018-03-15 Public Safety Casino

HARTFORD – Today, State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) and State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton), joined with a group of bipartisan lawmakers from southeast Connecticut to testify against a bill that would remove the authority granted last year to the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots to build an East Windsor casino.

House Bill 5305 An Act Concerning A Request For Proposals To Qualify An Entity To Develop a Casino Gaming Facility In The State, would revoke the license for the East Windsor casino. Last year the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 957 to allow both the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots to work together to open a new off-reservation casino in East Windsor to compete with a new MGM casino in Springfield and protect Connecticut jobs. The bill proposed this year would undo the legislation passed last year.

“Today I offered both written and verbal testimony in opposition of House Bill 5305, as it directly repeals bipartisan legislation that was passed just last year, legislation that will help increase tourism, protect jobs for hard-working families and aid in the economic revitalization of Connecticut,” said Sen. Somers. “I find it appalling that when the ink is barely dry on this important bill, that some would try to undo the hard-work that was done on both sides of the aisle. This is a bad precedent to set, as it creates so much uncertainty for many families throughout southeastern Connecticut. I urged the Public Safety Committee to reject the legislation that was before them – the only reason to have this bill is to allow another company to open a casino, violating a 25 year relationship that has been built on mutual trust and respect. The proposed legislation will damage our long-term goals to bring Connecticut back from its fiscal crisis and our aim to give Connecticut families the stability they need and deserve. I believe the legislature spoke last session, we stood up and told Connecticut families that we would put them first and protect their livelihood, and I will continue to do so despite efforts to derail this project.”

“Today I offer my testimony in opposition to House Bill 5305 because it directly conflicts with legislation passed last year by the legislature and our commitment to protect jobs, tourism and economic development in southeastern Connecticut and beyond,” said Sen. Formica. “Last year, in approving the East Windsor casino, lawmakers voted to pass an economic stimulus bill and a jobs bill. Other options were weighed and considered, but in the end the General Assembly and the governor agreed to move forward with a plan that is now underway that protects the progress, the jobs, and the economic development the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots have brought to our state. To try to crush this venture now, after our state has already committed to the tribes, committed to the community and committed to protect these jobs, is a disturbing proposal that creates uncertainty for thousands of people in southeastern Connecticut.”