Beacon Hill Roll Call

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Volume 38 -Report No. 47 November 29, 2013 Copyright
© 2013 Beacon Hill Roll Call. All Rights Reserved. By Bob Katzen
THE HOUSE AND SENATE. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call records
local senators’ votes on three roll calls from prior legislative
sessions. There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last
week. RAISE MINIMUM WAGE TO $9 (S 1925) Senate 6-32, rejected an
amendment that would raise the minimum wage from $8 to $9 over one
year instead of from $8 to $11 over three years. The

amendment would also strike a provision that ties future
hikes in the minimum wage to increases in the Consumer Price Index.
Amendment supporters said the hike to $9 is a more reasonable one.
They argued the Legislature should have more input on the wage as
time goes on instead of having its hands tied and future hikes
predetermined. Amendment opponents said the amendment essentially
kills the bill that is designed to pay a reasonable wage to help
thousands of hardworking people support their families. (A “Yes”
vote is for the amendment hiking the wage to $9. A “No” vote is
against the amendment and favors the hike to $11.) Sen. Patricia
Jehlen No HIKE CURRENT $2.63 PER HOUR MINIMUM WAGE FOR TIPPED
WORKERS (S 1925) Senate 5-33, rejected an amendment that would
raise the hourly minimum wage for all tipped employees from the
current $2.63 per hour to an amount equal to 35 percent of the
regular minimum wage. The amendment would replace a more expensive
provision that raises the $2.63 to 50 percent of the minimum wage.
When the minimum wage jumps to $11 per hour, the $2.63 would jump
to $3.85 under the 35 percent amendment as opposed to $5.50 under
the 50 percent provision. Supporters of the 35 percent and
supporters of the 50 percent agreed that $2.63 is too low and has
not been changed since 1999. Supporters of the lower 35 percent
said it was a more reasonable hike that would make these workers
less dependent on tips while still protecting employers from a
drastic hike of 50 percent. Opponents of the 35 percent said that
50 percent is fairer to workers and is still reasonable for
business owners. (A “Yes” vote is for the hike to 35 percent. A
“No” vote is against the 35 percent hike and favors the higher hike
to 50 percent.) Sen. Patricia Jehlen No COACHES MUST LEARN CPR (S
1918) Senate 35-0, approved and sent to the House a bill that would
require all school coaches to complete a course in cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) from the American Heart Association, American
Red Cross or other state-approved agency by August 2014.The measure
also prohibits local cities and towns from being responsible for
the costs. Supporters said this invaluable training costs about $50
per person and will save many lives. They noted there are creative
ways to pay for the training or to get the fee waived. (A “Yes”
vote is for the bill.) Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes ALSO UP ON BEACON
HILL LOWER TUITION FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (H 1078) The Higher
Education Committee will hold a hearing on December 11 at 1 p.m. in
Room A2 on a bill allowing some illegal immigrant students to pay
the in-state tuition rates and fees at Massachusetts colleges and
universities. To qualify, the student must have attended a high
school in Massachusetts for at least three years and have graduated
or received the equivalent of a diploma. The measure also requires
these students to provide the college with an affidavit stating
that he or she has filed or will in the future file an application
to become a citizen or permanent resident. Supporters say that many
of these students were babies when they were brought here by their
parents and had no choice about entering the country illegally.
They note that these hardworking students are currently required to
pay out-of-state tuition rates that are up to five times higher
than the in-state rate. Some argue that many are unable to afford
the higher tuition and end up skipping college and working in
low-pay, low-skilled jobs rather than contributing to the economy
in a more meaningful fashion. Opponents say the state should not
offer financial rewards to anyone who has broken the law and is in
this country illegally. They note it is also important to point out
that these students would not even be able to legally obtain a job
in Massachusetts following their graduation from college. Some
argue that it is outrageous to offer low tuition rates to these
students while legal citizens from outside Massachusetts, including
war veterans, are required to pay higher rates if they attend a
Massachusetts state school. CAP SALARY OF NONPROFIT CEOS (H 1714) –
The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development is considering a
bill that would cap the salaries of CEOs and other executives at
nonprofit social service agencies which receive at least 30 percent
of their annual budget from state funding. The measure would cap
the salaries of CEOs on a sliding scale ranging from a limit of
$49,719, for any agency with a budget less than $250,000 to
$213,165 for one with a budget exceeding $25 million. A hearing on
the measure is scheduled for December 18 at 12:30 p.m. in room A-1
at the Statehouse. DRIVER’S LICENSE RENEWAL – The Registry of Motor
Vehicles announced it will reinstate its policy of notifying
drivers when their driver’s license is about to expire. This
license reminder ended five years ago when the registry made budget
cuts during a fiscal crunch. Under the reinstated system, the
driver will receive a postcard informing him or her if he or she is
eligible to renew online at MassRMV.com or if it can only be done
with a visit to a branch office. Registrar Rachel Kaprielian noted
that private advertising will help fund the service. REDUCE FEE FOR
“THE RIDE” – On December 11, the MBTA Board of Directors will vote
on whether to reduce from $4 to $3 the fare for The RIDE, the
popular service that provides door-to-door transportation to
eligible persons with a physical, cognitive or mental disability.
In 2012, the board raised the fare from $2 to the current $4.
Activists have been lobbying for months to get the fare reduced.
ALCOHOL IN NURSING HOMES (H 3779) – The House gave initial approval
to a bill allowing cities and towns to opt to permit the sale of
alcohol at nursing homes, retirement communities and assisted or
independent living facilities. QUOTABLE QUOTES “It’s garnering much
interest shall we say, and I expect it’s going to be a hot and
heavy month.” House Speaker Robert DeLeo on expected debate in
January on the bill raising the state’s current hourly minimum wage
from $8 to $11 by 2016. “If we can get around it, we won’t.” Boston
Mayor-elect Marty Walsh when asked if he will enforce the Secure
Communities Act which checks the fingerprints of all individuals in
jail with FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
databases for the criminal’s immigration status and prior criminal
record. “The Registry ended the license reminder service five years
ago in a fiscal crunch. Over time we have had to get creative and
more cost- effective in all aspects of our business. Supported by
advertising dollars, we are proud to once again offer this service
to our customers.” Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian on
the registry reinstating its policy of notifying drivers by mail
when their driver’s license is about to expire “The buffer zone
does not restrict anyone from expressing their views. It ensures
safe passage to a clinic for patients and employees, protecting
their constitutional right of access free from intimidation.” Anne
Borg, Massachusetts League of Women Voters co-president, urging the
U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Massachusetts law establishing a
buffer zone around abortion clinics. “Our leaders and consumer
watchdogs need to do more to protect America’s kids from the
hazards of unsafe toys. No child should ever be injured, get sick,
or die from playing with a dangerous toy.” Andrew Fish, Program
Associate with MASSPIRG, on the group’s report “Trouble in
Toyland.” 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 November 25-29. The House met for a
total of 34 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 38 minutes.
Mon. November 25 House 11:05 a.m. to 11:22 a.m. Senate 11:03 a.m.
to 11:26 a.m. Tues. November 26 No House session No Senate session
. Wed. November 27 House 11:04 a.m. to 11:21 a.m. Senate 11:05 a.m.
to 11:20 a.m.. Thurs. November 28 No House session No Senate
session Fri. November 29 No House session No Senate session Bob
Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com

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