By Bob Katzen
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THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.
This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on the number of times in the 2021 session each senator sided with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and voted to sustain the governor’s 25 vetoes of items, mostly in the fiscal 2022 state budget. A vote to sustain means the senator supports Baker’s veto. A vote to override means the senator voted to fund the item despite the governor’s veto.
The current makeup of the Senate is 36 Democrats, three Republicans and one vacant seat. A two-thirds vote is required to override a gubernatorial veto in a full 40-member Senate when there are no vacancies. The governor needs the support of 14 senators to sustain a veto if all 40 senators voted—and fewer votes if some members are absent or there are vacancies.
Baker fell far short of that goal as six votes was the most support he received on any veto. The Senate easily overrode all 25 vetoes, including five that were overridden unanimously.
The vetoes had no support from 30 of the 36 Democrats who never once voted to sustain Baker’s veto. Only six Democratic senators voted to sustain any of the governor’s vetoes. The Democrat who voted the most times with Baker to sustain his veto is Sen. Walter Timilty (D-Milton) who voted with Baker four times. Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) voted with Baker twice. Sens. Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston), Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) each voted with Baker once.
None of the three Republicans voted with Baker 100 percent of the time. The Republican senator who voted the greatest number of times with Baker was Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) who voted with Baker 17 times (68.0 percent of the time). Sen. Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) voted with Baker only five times (20.0 percent), the least number of times among Republicans. Even Republican Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) only supported Baker 14 times (56.0 percent).
NUMBER OF TIMES SENATORS SUPPORTED GOV. BAKER’S VETOES IN 2021
Here is how your senator fared in his or her support of Baker on the vetoes.
The percentage next to the senator’s name represents the percentage of times the senator supported Baker. The number in parentheses represents the actual number of times the senator supported Baker.
Sen. Jason Lewis 4.0 percent (1)
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 December 20-24, the House met for a total of one hour and 10 minutes and the Senate each met for a total of one hour and one minute. 24 minutes.
Mon. Dec. 20 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:56 a.m.
Senate 11:10 a.m. to 12:02 p.m.
Tues. Dec. 21 No House session
No Senate session
Wed. Dec. 22 No House session
No Senate session
Thurs. Dec. 23 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:14 a.m.
Senate 11:15 a.m. to 11:24 a.m.
Fri. Dec. 24 No House session
No Senate session
Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org