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House overrides Patrick’s veto on background checks

The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to override Governor Deval Patrick’s veto of a measure that would require extensive background checks for all potential hires of the state Gaming Commission.

The tally was 150 to 0 and came three weeks after Carl ­Stanley McGee, a Patrick administration official, abruptly resigned as interim executive director of the commission following a public outcry over his hiring.

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McGee was arrested in Florida in 2007 for an alleged sexual assault of a boy, then 15, in a hotel steam room. Prosecutors declined to press charges, but McGee later settled a civil lawsuit with the youth’s family.

The background check measure, which was filed as part of a $72 million midyear spending bill, would require criminal history checks, urine screenings, and State Police-approved fingerprints and photographs as a prerequisite for employment to the commission, the State House News Service reported.

In a letter that Patrick sent to lawmakers on May 11, he wrote that thorough background checks are important but are “already provided for by the recently enacted legislation establishing” the commission.

Patrick also wrote that “the highest levels of background checks and screening may be neither necessary nor appropriate for every employee.”

A spokesman for Patrick ­declined to comment beyond the letter on Wednesday.

The state Senate must also vote to override the veto by a two-thirds majority for the measure to become law. David Falcone, a spokesman for Senate President Therese Murray, said he did not know if the upper chamber will vote on a possible override.

Noah Bierman of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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