House Bill 4272 reported out of committee as ‘favorable’ after area residents offer testimony at State House hearing

From left, Great Barrington residents, Janel Munoa and Selectboard member Leigh Davis, sat beside state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, at a State House hearing in Boston this past month. (Photo contributed)

GREAT BARRINGTON — After testifying in Boston at the Statehouse last month, Leigh Davis has been checking the website for the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts daily. And this past week, the Great Barrington Selectboard member said she learned of some “good news.”
Davis attended the Monday, Jan. 27 hearing led by Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure on House Bill 4272: “An Act Concerning Horse Racing Within the Town of Great Barrington.” While there, she and other area residents like Sharon Gregory of Great Barrington and Ellie Smith of Sheffield testified in support of the legislation.
The bill is now pending in the House Clerk’s Office and has been recorded as “favorable”, said Davis.
“This is great news,” said Davis. “We sent a strong signal to legislators the Great Barrington residents want to have a say in decisions that will impact our town for generations to come. I’m hopeful that the legislature will enact our home rule bill.”
Davis first brought the matter of horse racing potentially returning to town back in July when she opened a dialogue regarding the bill, “An Act relative to regulating horse racing and wagering,” which was filed by state Sen. Joseph Boncore, D-Winthrop.
Sterling Suffolk Racecourse had previously announced plans to open a commercial horse racing track at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds, but to even get a horse in that race, Sterling Suffolk would first need the state Legislature to approve that bill, according to previous reports.
At the time, the bill had just been referred to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure following a public hearing that was held on July 1, 2019.

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