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Beacon Hill Roll Call

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on roll calls from late May sessions. There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.

$100,000 FOR STUDYING EARLY EDUCATION AND CARE WORKFORCE (S 3)

Senate 38-0, approved an amendment providing $100,000 for a study by UMass Boston of the early education and care workforce.

Amendment supporters said this will help develop a plan to attract new and retain existing early education and care workers who are underpaid but are crucial to our children’s education.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes

 

EPINEPHRINE BULK PURCHASE PROGRAM (S 3)

Senate 38-0, approved an amendment creating a Municipal Epinephrine Bulk Purchase Program that will allow cities and towns to save money on their purchase of epinephrine for municipal first responders agencies and schools. Epinephrine is a drug that treats life-threatening allergic reactions caused by a variety of things including an insect bite or sting, food, medication and latex.

Amendment supporters said the cost of a pair of life-saving EpiPens has skyrocketed from $100 in 2006 to $608 in 2017. They noted that this price gouging by the maker Mylan has made the EpiPen unaffordable to many people who need them and has sadly resulted in deaths. They argued that banding together and bulk-purchasing allows the government to negotiate with the manufacturer to get the lowest price.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes

 

$1 MILLION FOR EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE (S 3)

Senate 37-0, approved an amendment increasing funding for the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP) by $1 million (from $16.5 million to $17.5 million). MEFAP provides quality and healthy foods and locally grown fresh produce to a statewide network of over 800 emergency food providers who distribute the food to low-income families.

Amendment supporters said this program, established in 1995, has fed hundreds of thousands of people. They said that projected federal government rollback of protections for the state’s neediest requires the state to step up and make up the shortfall.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes

 

$2 MILLION FOR LEGAL SERVICES FOR INDIGENT (S 3)

Senate 38-0, approved an increase of $2 million (from $18 million to $20 million) in funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC).

The MLAC provides legal representation for indigent and disadvantaged residents.

Amendment supporters said these services ensure equal access to the justice system for thousands of below-poverty level Massachusetts residents including accused criminals, the poor, seniors, battered women, tenants and Medicaid recipients.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.)

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes

 

$500,000 FOR LGBTQ YOUTH (S 3)

Senate 38-0, approved an amendment earmarking $500,000 of existing funding for youth at-risk programs utilizing an evidence-based positive youth development model, including programs that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.

Amendment supporters said this funding will help improve the lives of many youths who still face discrimination, violence and bullying. They noted these teens have a high suicide rate.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment).

Sen. Jason Lewis              Yes

 

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House 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 important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible 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 May 29-June 2, the House met for a total of two hours and 42 minutes and the Senate met for a total of two hours and 28 minutes.

Mon. May 29 No House session

No Senate session

Tues. May 30 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:16 a.m.

Senate 11:06 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

Wed. May 31 No House session

No Senate session

Thurs. June 1 House 11:00 a.m. to 1:29 p.m.

Senate 11:08 a.m. to 1:32 p.m.

Fri. June 2 No House session

No Senate session

 

Bob Katzen welcomes
feedback at
bob@beaconhillrollcall.com

 

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