But on top of that, population shifts within the state will force a redrawing of state Senate and House districts. That hits very close to home; lawmakers are already sweating over what might happen to their own realms.

Then add the frenzy on Beacon Hill if DiMasi's trial goes forward. Then, before you know it, the 2012 campaign cycle will be in full swing, focused largely on Scott Brown's Senate re-election bid.

Most observers conclude that legislating will only get harder over the course of the two-year session — and that gaming will add to the difficulty, until it is finally resolved. Nobody is willing to wager when that may be.

To read the "Talking Politics" blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com.

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