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- Friday, March 17, 2017
were no roll calls in the House or Sen-
ate last week. The debate over immi-
gration continues to dominate the
news following President Trump’s
new version of an executive order
restricting travel to the U.S. from six
countries with links to terrorism.
Where do local state representa-
tives stand on the immigration issue?
This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call re-
searched local representative’s votes
on several roll calls on the immigra-
tion issue from 2013 through 2016.
Here are the results.
The first three House roll call votes
involve successful attempts by Speak-
er Robert DeLeo and his Democrat-
ic leadership team to prevent Dem-
ocratic members from having to
vote directly against several Repub-
lican proposals to restrict access to
state funding by illegal immigrants.
The Democrats, with a current 125
to 35 membership advantage, con-
trol the House.
Here’s an example of how it works:
The Republicans offer aproposal ban-
ning illegal immigrant students from
paying the preferred, lower in-state
tuition rates and fees at Massachu-
setts state universities. If the Demo-
cratic leadership does nothing, there
would be a roll call vote on the lower
in-state tuition rates. Most Democrats
would vote against it and thenwould
have cast a direct vote on a very con-
troversial issue.
To avoid that situation, a Demo-
cratic member offers a «delaying»
amendment that would prohibit the
ban from taking effect until the Bak-
er administration studies the impact
of such a ban.
Under House rules, the amend-
ment to study and delay the ban is
voted upon first. If it passes, which it
always does, no other amendments
can be introduced and the original
proposal that would simply prohibit
the lower tuition rate is deadwithout
ever having a direct vote on it. Repub-
licans say that the studies are a sham
because they are never done.
This is all pre-planned by the Dem-
ocratic leadership. The presiding offi-
cer at the podium calls upon a repre-
sentativewho is loyal to himand that
member proposes the study. Even if
a Republican member is waving his
or her hands and shouting to be rec-
ognized, he or she will not be called
upon because it is assumed he or she
would not propose the study.
GOP members have always been
wary of this ploy and have spoken
out strongly against it. They urged
the Democratic leadership to stop
purposely trying to confuse the vot-
ers and instead allow a vote direct-
ly on the issue itself, not a study of it.
The Democrats fall into four cat-
egories. Some Democrats favor the
ban and vote with the Republicans
against the study. Others say they are
truly open to the ban but vote for the
study because they want to find out
the cost first. A third group opposes
the ban but also opposes the study
because they feel there should be
a direct vote on the proposal. Most
Democrats who vote for the study
acknowledge that it is designed to
protect them by preventing them
from being required to vote direct-
ly on the ban.
Beacon Hill Roll Call urges you to
read the roll calls carefully and be
aware that on the first three roll calls,
a «Yes» vote is for the study andessen-
tially is against the restriction or ban.
Conversely, a «No» vote is against the
study andgenerally favors the restric-
tion or ban.
GRANTS (H 4000)
House 103-46, approved a Demo-
cratic leadership-sponsored amend-
ment prohibiting a proposal barring
illegal immigrant students from pay-
ing the preferred, lower in-state tu-
ition rates and fees at Massachu-
setts state universities from taking
effect until the Department of High-
er Education studies the impact of
the barring.
Supporters of the study saidmany
of these students were babies when
they were brought here by their par-
ents and had no choice about enter-
ing the country illegally. They noted
some hardworking students are cur-
rently required to pay out-of-state
tuition rates that are up to five times
higher than the in-state rate.
Opponents of the study said send-
ing the bill to a study committee es-
sentially kills it and argued the state
should not offer financial rewards to
anyone who has broken the law and
is in this country illegally. They said it
is outrageous tooffer lowtuition rates
to these students while legal citizens
from outside Massachusetts, includ-
ing war veterans, are required to pay
higher rates if they attend a Massa-
chusetts state university.
The roll call vote is on the amend-
ment to study, rather than vote di-
rectly on the banning of lower tuition
rates for illegal immigrants. (A «Yes»
vote is for the study. A «No» vote is
against the study.)
Rep. Joseph McGonagle
Was not yet elected
House 107-42, approved a Demo-
cratic leadership-sponsored amend-
ment prohibiting a proposal that
would allow honorably discharged
veterans to pay the preferred, lower
in-state tuition rates and fees at Mas-
sachusetts state universities fromtak-
ing effect until the Department of
Higher Education studies the impact
of the lower rates for veterans. The
proposal would offer the discount to
all in-state veterans and to any veter-
an from across the nation who des-
ignates Massachusetts as his/her in-
tended home and moves to Massa-
chusetts within one year of attend-
ing a state university.
Supporters of the study said there
is no estimate on howmuch it would
cost the state to offer this discount to
all these veterans.
Opponents of the study said it is
outrageous that the state provides
the lower tuition rate for some illegal
immigrants but not to veterans. They
noted that sending the bill to a study
committee is the same as killing it.
The roll call vote is on the amend-
ment to study, rather thanvotedirect-
ly on the lower tuition rates for veter-
ans. (A «Yes» vote is for the study. A
«No» vote is against it.)
Rep. Joseph McGonagle
Was not yet elected
House 128-29, approved a Demo-
cratic leadership-sponsored amend-
ment prohibiting a proposal requir-
ing sponsors of immigrantswhohave
green cards (lawful permanent resi-
dents) to reimburse the state for any
means-tested state assistance the im-
migrant receives from taking effect,
until after the state conducts a study
of the current system and receives
any federal waivers necessary.
Some supporters of the study said
the House should get more informa-
tion prior to voting on this. Others
said they simply oppose the mean-
spirited measure meant to hurt le-
gal residents who through no fault of
their ownneed some assistance. They
noted that the state shouldn’t bepun-
ishing eligible individuals who have
become estranged or disconnected
from their sponsor.
Opponents of the delay ques-
tioned why the state is providing
these benefits when each green card
holder is required by law to have a
sponsor who has promised to be fi-
nancially responsible for that person.
The roll call vote is on the amend-
ment to study, rather thanvotedirect-
ly on requiring sponsors to reimburse
the state. (A «Yes» vote is for the study.
A «No» vote is against the study.)
Rep. Joseph McGonagle
Was not yet elected
ING (H 3400)
TheHouse consideredaGOP-spon-
sored proposal to require applicants
and household members over the
age of 18 to provide a social securi-
ty number upon application for pub-
lic housing and prohibit anyone who
does not supply the number frombe-
ing eligible for housing.
House 115-44, then approved a
Democratic leadership-sponsored
amendment replacing the Republi-
can proposal with a new one requir-
ing the state to establish rules and
regulations regarding the disclo-
sure and verification of social secu-
rity numbers for applicants of public
or subsidized housing.
The newproposal also requires the
Department of Housing andCommu-
nity Development to study and sub-
mit a report on the matter of pub-
lic housing eligibility by July 1, 2016.
The reportwould include thenumber
of applicants and household mem-
bers for state-assisted public hous-
ing who would be unable to access it
if required to submit a social security
number on their application.
Supporters of the new proposal
said the earlier one goes too far and
will not solve any problems. They ar-
gued the new proposal is a thought-
ful and fair approach to this problem.
Opponents of the new proposal
said the earlier proposal is simple and
effective: if you don’t provide a social
security number, you are not eligible
for public housing. They argued it is
unfair to provide housing to illegal
The roll call vote is on the amend-
ment to study, rather thanvotedirect-
ly on requiring a social security num-
ber. (A «Yes» vote is for the study. A
«No» vote is against the study.)
Rep. Joseph McGonagle
House 34-124, rejected a Repub-
lican-sponsored amendment that
wouldwithhold local aid fromany cit-
ies or towns that do not enforce fed-
eral immigration laws. The withhold-
ingwould also apply to communities
that have established themselves as
«sanctuary» cities or towns that offer
protection in a variety of ways to ille-
gal immigrants.
Amendment supporters said cities
and towns that encourage law-break-
ing are hurting this nation. They ar-
gued the state should do everything
it can to dissuade those who seek to
come here illegally.
Some opponents said the amend-
ment is a mean-spirited political
stunt and questioned why support-
ers would want to punish students
by taking away local aid from their
schools. Others said the amendment
is unenforceable, just like amunicipal-
ity declaring itself a sanctuary city is
nothing but symbolism.
(A «Yes» vote is for cutting off lo-
cal aid to sanctuary cities and towns.
A «No» vote is against cutting it off.)
Rep. Joseph McGonagle
Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks
the lengthof time that theHouse and
Senate were in session each week.
Many legislators say that legislative
sessions are only one aspect of the
Legislature’s job and that a lot of im-
portant work is done outside of the
House and Senate chambers. They
note that their jobs also involve com-
mittee work, research, constituent
work and other matters that are im-
portant to their districts. Critics say
that the Legislature does not meet
regularly or long enough to debate
and vote in public view on the thou-
sands of pieces of legislation that
have been filed. They note that the
infrequency and brief length of ses-
sions are misguided and lead to irre-
sponsible late night sessions and a
mad rush to act on dozens of bills in
the days immediately preceding the
end of an annual session.
During the week of March 6-10,
the House met for a total of 22 min-
utes and the Senate met for a total of
six minutes.
Mon. March 6 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.
Senate 11:05 a.m. to 11:08 a.m.
Tues. March 7 No House session
No Senate session
Wed. March 8 No House session
No Senate session
Thurs. March 9 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Senate 11:08 a.m. to 11:11 a.m.
Fri. March 10 No House session
No Senate session
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