Beacon Hill Roll Call Volume 39- – Report No. 36 September 5, 2014

By Bob Katzen

MEMO TO BHRC SUBSCRIBERS: This week’s report is on the 2014 roll call attendance record of your local representatives through September 5. Some representatives may have poor attendance records for a variety of reasons, including health problems or
military service. We do not ask each representative why he or she missed roll call votes, but it is something you may want to check out with any of your local legislators who have missed roll call votes. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

This week’s report follows:

THE HOUSE AND SENATE. There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports local representatives’ roll call attendance records for the 2014 session through September 5.

The House has held 226 roll call votes. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls on which each representative was present and voting and then calculates that number as a percentage of the total roll call votes held. That percentage is the number referred to as the roll call attendance record.

Only 56 of the House’s 155 members have 100 percent roll call attendance records.

Some representatives may have poor attendance records because of a variety of reasons including health problems or military service. Beacon Hill Roll Call does not ask each individual representative why he or she missed roll call votes.

The representative who missed the most roll calls is Rep. Christine Canavan (D-Brockton), who missed 108 (52.2 percent attendance).

Rounding out the top five worst are Reps. Thomas Conroy (D-Wayland), missed 76 roll calls (66.3 percent attendance); Sean Curran (D-Springfield), missed 66 roll calls (70.7 percent attendance); Kay Khan (D-Newton), missed 41 roll calls (81.8 percent attendance); and Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg), missed 37 roll calls (83.6 percent attendance).

The percentage listed next to the representative’s name is the percentage of roll call votes for which he or she was present and voting. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that the representative missed.

Rep. Denise Provost 99.1 percent (2) Rep. Carl Sciortino has resigned Rep. Timothy Toomey 100 percent (0)


TRANSGENDER PROTECTION (H 3625) – Gender identity is now protected from discrimination in the Boston housing market. The bill was signed into law in May and took effect a couple of weeks ago. Existing law already prohibited discrimination in several areas including race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, handicap, source of income and military status.

TELEVISIONS IN CARS (H 4419) – The House gave initial approval to a bill amending the current law that prohibits television screens or any other equipment that receives a television broadcast in a car from being in the view of the driver while driving. The proposal exempts images that provide the driver with navigation, traffic reports and weather reports. Other exemptions include images used to enhance the driver’s view and permit the driver to monitor vehicle occupants seated in the back seat.

SUICIDE PREVENTION (S 1134) – The Senate approved and sent to the House a measure creating a special commission to study the prevention of suicide among prisoners and correctional officers.

The commission would recommend changes to reduce instances of prisoner and correctional officer suicide; evaluate suicide prevention training for correctional facility staff; improve housing for inmates identified as suicidal; examine ways to reduce corrections officers’ stress, anxiety and depression; and improve observation and treatment plans for inmates identified as suicidal.

LOWER STATE SHARE OF RACING REVENUE (H 4365) – The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Deval Patrick a bill that would reduce the number of live horse racing days that Suffolk Downs in East Boston and Plainridge Racecourse in Plainridge must host in order to be able to accept wagers on out-of-state horse races that are shown live at those tracks.

Both branches agreed to Gov. Patrick’s amendment deleting a provision that would have reduced the state’s piece of the action on out-of-state greyhound races that are shown live at Raynham Park. Patrick said that the bill does not provide any replacement for that lost revenue and “would leave the Racing Division nearly $600,000 short of its operating budget this year, and would create an annually recurring shortfall of approximately the same amount.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES – Gov. Patrick Special Edition

“(They are) deeply flirtatious … I’ve had my backside pinched by any number of them.”

Gov. Patrick on senior citizens he meets on the campaign trail.

“I’m a Leo.”

Patrick recounting what he said in response to a senior citizen who told him on the campaign trail, “Governor, I’m a cougar.” Patrick didn’t know that a cougar means an older woman who wants to have a relationship with a much younger man.

“I tried wicked hard … It’s hard to get the accent right unless you are from here.”

Chicago-born Patrick on his attempt to mimic a Boston accent on a radio show.

“I love this president.”

Patrick when asked about his opinion of President Obama.

“Shrimp and grits.”

Patrick when asked what was served when he had dinner with The Obamas on Martha’s Vineyard.

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 September 1-5, the House met for a total of 39 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 42 minutes.

Mon. September 1 No House session
No Senate session

Tues. September 2 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:19 a.m.
Senate 11:05 a.m. to 11:23 a.m.

Wed. September 3 No House session
No Senate session

Thurs. September 4 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:22 a.m.
Senate 11:00 a.m. to 11:24 a.m.

Fri. September 5 No House session
No Senate session

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at

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