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Malden – January 21, 2022

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By Bob Katzen

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  THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ votes on roll calls from the week of January 10-14. There were no roll calls in the House last week.

MAKE ADOPTION BY FAMILY MEMBERS EASIER (S 2616)

  Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a bill that would repeal a current law which prohibits adoption of children by family members including older siblings, aunts and uncles. The proposal would allow these family members, with the permission of the county probate courts, to legally adopt their family members. Current law only allows these family members to apply to become a guardian. Sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem) said that this archaic law was put in place at the beginning of the last century to prevent the potential for inheritance abuse, but the commonwealth has since adopted legal protections, such as conservatorships, to prevent this from occurring. “Our families are often our largest sources of support and what a family looks like can mean different things to different people,” said Lovely. “I filed [the bill] to better reflect the realities of the lives of Massachusetts residents who love and care for one another … our most vulnerable youth deserve to be cared for by the people who know and love them, and who can best assess their needs.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Sen. Jason Lewis Yes

 

MAKE OBTAINING ID CARDS EASIER FOR HOMELESS PERSONS (S 2612)

  Senate 39-0 approved and sent to the House legislation that would make it easier for homeless youth and adults to secure free state ID cards. The measure would allow homeless service providers or other state agencies to provide the individual with documentation to prove residency. Supporters said that currently, a person experiencing homelessness faces prohibitive fees and documentation requirements when trying to obtain an ID card. They noted that ID cards are necessary for applying for jobs, enrolling in school, interacting with law enforcement, accessing government buildings, opening financial accounts and many other basic services that many take for granted. “As the state begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, the Legislature must ensure that individuals experiencing homelessness have the same fundamental opportunities to live happily,” said the measure’s sponsor Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “One fundamental key to accessing basic services are state-issued IDs. Currently, people experiencing homelessness face significant financial and bureaucratic barriers when they attempt to obtain an ID. Now is the time to break down bureaucratic barriers that fuel the cycle of poverty and to ensure equality for all the commonwealth’s residents as we look towards a post-pandemic world.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

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 January 10-14, the House met for a total of 39 minutes and the Senate met for a total of three hours and nine minutes.

Mon. Jan. 10 House 11:02 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.

                       Senate 11:16 a.m. to 11:26 a.m.

 

Tues. Jan. 11 No House session

                        No Senate session

 

Wed. Jan. 12 No House session

                       No Senate session

 

Thurs. Jan. 13 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:28 a.m.

                         Senate 11:21 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

 

Fri. Jan. 14 No House session

                    No Senate session

 

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com

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