Beacon Hill Roll Call Volume 39 – Report No. 45 November 7, 2014

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Copyright © 2014 Beacon Hill Roll Call. All Rights Reserved.
By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week.

This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports the percentage of times local representatives voted with their party’s
leadership in 2013 and 2014. The votes of the chamber’s 29 Republicans were compared with those of GOP House Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading). The votes of the chamber’s 123 Democrats were compared to House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop). Beacon Hill Roll Call uses 429 votes from the 2013-2014 House session as the basis for this report. This includes all roll calls that were not quorum calls or on local issues.

There are 27 Democratic representatives who voted with DeLeo 100 percent of the time.

The Democratic representatives who voted the lowest percentage of times with the DeLeo are Reps. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), 71.0 percent; James Miceli (D-Wilmington), 78.5 percent; James Dwyer (D-Woburn), 83.9 percent; Stephen DiNatale (D-Fitchburg), 87.5 percent; Jonathan Zlotnik (D-Gardner), 88.5 percent; John Velis (D-Westfield), 89.3 percent; and Thomas Calter (D-Kingston), 89.5 percent. The other 116 Democrats all voted with DeLeo more than 90 percent of the time.

None of the 29 GOP members voted with Jones 100 percent of the time.

The GOP representatives who voted with Jones the lowest percentage of times are Reps. James Lyons (R-Andover), 87.4 percent and Marc Lombard (R-Billerica) 89.7 percent. The other 26 Republicans voted with Jones more than 90 percent of the time.

LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES’ PERCENTAGE OF VOTES SUPPORTING THEIR PARTY’S LEADERSHIP
Here is how local representatives fared in their support of the leadership of their party on 429 roll calls.

The percentage next to the representative’s name represents the percentage of times the representative supported his or her party’s leadership.

The number in parentheses represents the number of times the representative opposed his or her party’s leadership.

Some representatives voted on all 429 roll call votes. Others missed one or more of the 429 votes. The percentage for each representative is calculated based on the number of roll calls on which he or she voted and does not count the roll calls for which he or she was absent.

Rep. Denise Provost 96.9 percent (16) Rep. Carl Sciortino has resigned Rep. Timothy Toomey 99.5 percent (2)

ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL

GOP GAINS SEATS IN HOUSE AND SENATE – When the dust settled on Election Day, the Republicans had gained two seats in the Massachusetts Senate and four seats in the House. The wins bring the number of GOP members in the House from 29 to 34 but the Democrats still have an overwhelming 126 seats. The GOP’s Senate membership rose from four to six but the Democrats still have a huge advantage with 34 seats in the upper chamber.

Only three incumbent legislators lost their races: challenger David DeCoste (R-Norwell) beat incumbent Rep. Rhonda Nyman (D-Hanover); Susannah Whipps Lee (R-Athol) defeated Rep. Denise Andrews (D-Orange); and Rep. Ryan Fattman (R-Webster) toppled Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge).

CITIES AND TOWNS FAVOR LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA – Voters in 56 Massachusetts cities and towns approved local non-binding ballot questions asking if they favor making recreational marijuana legal. Public policy questions like this can be put on the ballot in all the cities and towns in a state senate district by collecting 1,200 signatures of registered voters and in a state representative district by collecting 200 signatures. For more information on the procedure, go to http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2014-Public-Policy-Question-Petitions-brochure.pdf

REPORT DRIVERS WITH SUSPENDED LICENSES (H 4521) – The House gave initial approval to a bill requiring the Registry of Motor Vehicles to notify the local police department when the driver’s license of a local resident is suspended or revoked. The notification is only required when the offense is a specific crime committed by the offender including vehicular homicide and drunken driving, and if the person is a habitual traffic offender or poses an immediate threat to public safety. Included in the notification would be the offender’s name, address, license plate number, type of car and driving record.

Supporters said this would enable local police to spot and track drivers who are driving without a license. They noted this could prevent injuries and even save lives.

ACCOSTING AND ANNOYING (S 2362) – The House gave initial approval to a Senate-approved bill that would change a current law that makes it illegal to annoy or accost people of the opposite sex with behavior that is deemed offensive and/or disorderly. The bill would allow the charges to be brought even if the victim was a person of the same sex.

Supporters, noting this is an antiquated law, said the bill is aimed at sex offenders who target children regardless of gender. They cited an incident in Bellingham in which a male offender accosted young boys but the charges were dismissed because under current law, it is only a crime when it is against the opposite sex.

GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS (S 2248) – The House gave initial approval to a Senate-approved measure creating a Commission on Geography Education to assess the status of geography education in all the Bay State’s public schools. The commission would be charged with making recommendations to improve geography education and filing them with the Legislature by December 31, 2015.

HOMELESS YOUTH UNDER AGE 24 (H 4517) – The House gave initial approval to a bill creating a commission to study and make recommendations to provide adequate resources for unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 24. The state would then enter into contracts with organizations and agencies to provide housing and support services to address the unique needs of this population.

Supporters said there are thousands of youths who are living on their own without adequate food and shelter. They argued there is desperate need for increased housing and shelter options and noted homelessness often leads to poor health, exposure to violence, susceptibility to exploitation, high-risk behaviors and a dependence on public systems and benefits.

LOCAL HOUSING AUTHORITIES (H 4374) – A law effective November 3 makes changes in the regulation of local housing authorities. Provisions include establishing performance benchmarks, requiring training for board members and executive directors, requiring an annual report from each authority, mandating annual audits by independent auditors and allowing a tenant a seat on all local boards.

Supporters say the new law will increase transparency, accountability and efficiency and establish new roles for tenants in the governing of their local housing authorities.

QUOTABLE QUOTES – Special “By the Numbers” Election 2014 edition.

“$16.9 million.”

The amount of money spent by Super PACS and other outside groups on the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial finalists, Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker.

“40.”

The number of paid sick hours per year employers with 11 or more employees must allow their employees to earn as a result of passage of Question 4 on the ballot.

“40,361 and 106,641.”

The number of votes by which Baker beat Coakley and the total number of votes received by the three independent candidates for governor.

“4.”

The number of Republican governors elected in Massachusetts since 1974 (Bill Weld, Paul Cellucci, Mitt Romney and Charlie Baker). The Democrats have had three governors elected in the same time period (Mike Dukakis, Ed King and Deval Patrick).

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 3-7. The House met for a total of 48 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 20 minutes.

Mon. November 3 House 11:05 a.m. to 11:47 a.m.
Senate 10:59 a.m. to 11:14 a.m.

Tues. November 4 No House session
No Senate session

Wed. November 5 No House session
No Senate session

Thurs. November 6 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:07 a.m.
Senate 11:10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Fri. November 7 No House session
No Senate session

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com

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