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THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on the percentage of times local senators voted with their party’s leadership in the 2022 session.
Beacon Hill Roll Call uses 102 votes from the 2022 Senate session as the basis for this report. This includes all roll calls that were not on local issues.
The votes of the 34 Democrats were compared to Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), second-in-command in the Senate. We could not compare the Democrats’ votes to those of Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) because, by tradition, the Senate president rarely votes.
None of the senators voted with Creem 100 percent of the time in 2022. Last year, in 2021, 11 senators voted with Creem 100 percent of the time.
The senator who voted with Creem the least percentage of times is Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) who voted with her only 79 times (77.4 percent). Rounding out the top four who voted with Creem the least percentage of times are Sens. Walter Timilty (D-Milton) who voted with her 80 times (78.4 percent); and Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) and John Velis (D-Westfield) who both voted with her 85 times (83.3 percent). Overall, 29 of the 34 Democrats (82.8 percent) voted with Creem 90 percent or more of the time.
The votes of the two Republican senators were compared with those of GOP Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). None of the two voted with Tarr 100 percent of the time. The Republican senator who voted the lowest percentage of times with Tarr was Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) who voted with Tarr 92 times (92 percent). Sen. Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) voted with Tarr 97 times (95.0 percent).
SENATORS’ SUPPORT OF THEIR PARTY’S LEADERSHIP IN 2022
The percentage next to the senator’s name represents the percentage of times the senator supported his or her party’s leadership in 2022. The number in parentheses represents the number of times the senator opposed his or her party’s leadership.
Some senators voted on all 102 roll call votes. Others missed one or more roll calls. The percentage for each senator is calculated based on the number of roll calls on which he or she voted.
Sen. Jason Lewis99.0 percent (1)
ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL
A CAMPAIGN UNDERWAY TO REPEAL THE NEW LAW ALLOWING DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR UNDOCUMENTED/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (H 4805) – It looks like the new law that would allow, starting July 1, 2023, undocumented/illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts standard driver’s license is going to be on the November ballot for voters to decide whether to repeal it or leave it intact. The law would require an applicant for a driver’s license “without legal presence” in the United States to provide the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) with a foreign passport and at least one of five other documents: a driver’s license from another state, a foreign driver’s license, a birth certificate, a foreign national identification card or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any U.S. state. The bill became law when the House and Senate on June 9 overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the bill.
Leaders of the repeal campaign, dubbed “Fair and Secure Massachusetts,” say they collected and filed more than 100,000 signatures with local city and town clerks by the August 14 deadline. Only 40,120 signatures are needed for the ballot question to appear on the November ballot. The next and final step to appear on the ballot is to file the certified signatures with the secretary of state’s office by September 7.
Maureen Maloney, whose son Matthew Denice was killed by a drunk driver who did not have legal status in the United States, is the chair of the campaign. She that said that Massachusetts roads “will be much more unsafe” if the law takes effect. “Voters lined up to sign our petition, they voiced to us their reasons for opposing the law,” Maloney said
Maloney also noted that she witnessed firsthand harassment by supporters of the law to prevent volunteers from collecting signatures. “They intimidated voters, and often they caused enough of a disruption to prompt police to shut down our signature drives,” Maloney said. “These actions show how desperate Democrats are to keep voters from having their voices heard, and it was only through the dedication and efforts by all our volunteers that we will get this on the ballot in November.”
“The [law] keeps people safer by ensuring that all drivers, regardless of immigration status, know and follow the rules of the road, take the same driver’s test and have insurance when they need it,” said Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) which supports the law. “If this issue makes it to the fall ballot, our united coalition—which includes police chiefs, district attorneys and more—will promote keeping this smart, common sense, humane policy on the books.”
“This repeal is an opportunity for voters to decide if this law is right for Massachusetts,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) who voted against the bill in the Senate. “As one of the ten original signers of this [repeal] petition, I collected several thousand signatures to bring this law before the people so they can consider the ramifications of this license law. It opens the door to non-citizen voting and creates public safety and security issues through the identity verification of foreign documents that are not generally accepted in litigious societies, both reasons enumerated when Gov. Baker vetoed the original law. I believe and trust that the voters will make the correct call in November.”
“Although we are disappointed that this unnecessary and divisive repeal question appears to be moving forward, we are also more determined than ever to defend the expansion of permission to apply for a driver’s licenses to all qualified state residents, regardless of immigration status,” said “Driving Families Forward” leaders Lenita Reason and Roxana Rivera in a joint statement. “The bill’s overwhelming passage proves that Massachusetts has changed and we can all work together. It passed so that all parties in an accident can have insurance, so that police can easily know a driver’s identity [and] so that immigrants can take their children to doctor’s appointments without fear.”
CREATING WOMEN’S RIGHTS HISTORY TRAIL PROGRAM (S 2802) – A law that that would require the state to develop and implement a Women’s Rights History Trail Program took effect last week. The measure includes requiring the state to designate properties and sites that are historically and thematically associated with the struggle for women’s rights and women’s suffrage. Another provision provides that the state promote education and awareness of the struggle for women’s rights in the state. A 13-member Women’s Rights History Trail Task Force would be formed to research, solicit public input and make recommendations for sites, properties and attractions to be included in the trail.
“Deeply honored my bill establishing a Women’s Rights History Trail has been signed into law,” said Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem), the sponsor of the bill. “Our nation and our commonwealth would not be what they are today were it not for the contributions of women. Despite their achievements, they have been lost to the annals of history. With this law, we can finally place them at the forefront.”
GOV. BAKER SET TO FILE BILL PROPOSING INVESTMENTS IN SCHOOL SAFETY – Gov. Baker announced plans to soon file a $40 million package to fund investments in school safety initiatives to support programming, training and resources for schools and districts across the state.
“As children return full-time to the classroom this fall, we want parents and educators to know that our administration is always working to improve and build on all the resources available to districts to make their schools as secure as possible,” said Baker. “Our administration has and will continue to provide critical resources for students, staff, families and first responders while making significant investments in training for first responders and school staff so they can protect Massachusetts schools.”
“Children, teachers and staff deserve to feel safe in the classroom, and our administration’s funding proposal will invest in the resources and programming required to equip school communities and emergency personnel with the tools they need to keep schools safe,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature to provide critical funding for districts across the commonwealth.”
The proposal will include security and communications upgrades in K-12 schools and colleges; an anonymous “tip line” to report potential threats; a statewide “Say Something” public awareness campaign and corresponding training; emergency response training for school officials; and creation of a comprehensive school safety website.
ADOPT A SHELTER DOG MONTH (H 3102) – The House approved and sent the Senate a bill designating the month of October as Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
“Last year alone, over 22,000 pets entered Massachusetts animal shelters in need of a home,” said sponsor Rep. Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy). “This bill will create greater public awareness of the need for pet adoption and encourage people to give these dogs a forever home in a safe and loving environment.”
“This spending plan supports a sector that has shown both incredible resilience and incredible need over the past two years. Through this plan we will see public dollars directed further and more broadly and equitably than ever before at a time when support is vital to the cultural sector’s recovery and growth.”
—Nina Fialkow, Chair of Mass Cultural Council on its $85.1 million budget to invest in the state’s cultural sector through a slate of grant programs and services bolstering cultural organizations, businesses, collaboratives and individual artists.
“Other non-traditional schools—including homeschoolers and even district-based virtual schools—can apply for a waiver and be granted permission to participate. But TEC Connections Academy (TECCA) Virtual School students cannot.”
— Pioneer Legal President Frank Bailey on its suit against the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) for prohibiting students at TECCA, a public virtual school, from playing on high school sports teams in the students’ home district.
“It has been my distinct pleasure to host this annual contest to bring attention to one of the most beautiful and varied crops here in Massachusetts. The quality and variety of the tomatoes on display here today speaks to the skill and ingenuity our hardworking farmers possess in growing these summertime favorites.”
—Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux announcing the winners of the state’s 37th Tomato Contest designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce. This year’s contest drew 95 entries from 18 farms across the state.
“My wife and I actually were sitting around looking at our ballot applications last night and taking a look at our calendars. We haven’t made a decision yet, but as I said before, I support the way we are doing mail-in in Massachusetts, which is the same way we did it during the election in 2020.”
—Gov. Baker on whether he and his wife Lauren will vote via mail, early in person or in person on September 6.
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 August 22-26, the House met for a total of 20 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 40 minutes.
Mon. Aug. 22 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:09 a.m.
Senate 11:03 a.m. to 11:32 a.m.
Tues. Aug. 23 No House session
No Senate session
Wed. Aug. 24 No House session
No Senate session
Thurs. Aug. 25 House 11:02 a.m. to 11:16 a.m.
Senate 11:26 a.m. to 11:37 a.m.
Fri. Aug. 26 No House session
No Senate session
Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org Bob founded Beacon Hill Roll Call in 1975 and was inducted into the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) Hall of Fame in 2019.