Beacon Hill Roll Call Volume 39 – Report No. 46 November 14, 2014

By Bob Katzen

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

Beacon Hill Roll Call this week examines the voting records of local representatives on Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick’s 87 vetoes during the 2013-2014 session.

A two-thirds vote is required to override a gubernatorial veto. The number of legislators in the House during 2013-2014 fluctuated based on a number of resignations and special elections. In a full 160-member House, there were 131 Democrats and only 29 Republicans. The governor needed the support of 54 representatives to sustain a veto when all 160 representatives voted — and fewer votes if some members were absent or a seat was vacant.

The House overrode all 87 vetoes including 46 that were overridden on unanimous votes. The most support Patrick received on any veto was 35 votes.

Ironically, it was mostly GOP members who voted with the Democratic governor to sustain the vetoes. The number of times each GOP member supported Patrick ranged from a low of 10 to a high of 35 by GOP Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading).

The vetoes had little support among Patrick’s fellow Democrats. Only nine of the chamber’s Democrats voted with Patrick to sustain any vetoes including Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), the Democrat who gave him the most support, siding with him six times.

Here is how local representatives fared in their support of Gov. Patrick on the 87 vetoes.

The percentage next to the representative’s name represents the percentage of times he or she supported Patrick’s vetoes.

The number in parentheses represents the number of times he or she supported Patrick’s vetoes.

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


DISABLED RETIREES CAN MAKE MORE OUTSIDE MONEY (S 2343) – The House approved a Senate-approved measure increasing from $5,000 to $15,000 the maximum a disabled state employee can earn outside of his or her disability benefit.

Supporters said the cap has not been raised since 1982. They argued the $5,000 figure is no longer reasonable and must be changed.

The bill still needs additional approval by both branches before it goes to the governor’s desk.

DAVID F. MARCELLI LAW (H 4378) – A law that prohibits any body part or organ from being retained following an autopsy without consent from the deceased’s next of kin took effect on November 6. The law does allow retention of the organ if it is being kept for the purpose of determining the cause of death.

The measure was filed on behalf of Cathie and Donald Marcelli, whose 18-month-old son David died suddenly in 1996. David’s organs were retained without his parents’ knowledge or permission following a hospital autopsy.

Supporters say the family suffered untold anguish when they had to bury the body parts four months after David’s death.

CHILDREN OF POLICE AND FIREFIGHTERS (H 2222) – November 6 is the day that a new law went into effect allowing a child of a corrections officer killed or permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty to receive preference in his or her placement on all entry-level police officer, firefighter and corrections officer eligible lists. Current law gives this preference only to police officers and firefighters. The applicant must also pass the required written, medical and physical examinations.

TAX AMNESTY RAISES $39 MILLION PLUS – The Department of Revenue (DOR) announced that during the two-month tax amnesty program from September 1 to October 31, the state collected just over $39 million from 49,000 taxpayers. The tax amnesty program, approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Patrick several months ago, waived the penalty for unpaid taxes if you received a “Tax Amnesty Notice” from DOR and paid the full amount of tax and interest due by October 31, 2014.

MAKE IT EASIER FOR CITIES AND TOWNS TO FUND COLLECTION PROCESS FOR TAX TITLE FORECLOSURES (S 2298) – The House approved a bill that would allow Massachusetts cities and towns to establish a revolving fund into which legal and administrative fees and charges recovered during legal proceedings for tax title foreclosures would be deposited. The municipality could then use the money directly to pay for the necessary expenses the community incurs during the collection process. Current law places the funds into the community’s General Fund. The fund could be created only in cities and towns that receive local approval to do so through passage of a by-law or by a vote of the town meeting or city council.

Supporters said this new fund would make collections easier by providing a dedicated source of funding without the problems and delays that come with having to get the money from the General Fund.

WEBSITE FOR GOVERNOR-ELECT BAKER’S TRANSITION – Governor-Elect Charlie Baker announced the creation of a website for his transition to the governor’s office. The site includes a resume upload tool for citizens who want to apply for a job with the new administration. Communications Director Tim Buckley said, “Building a strong, experienced, and bipartisan team is the top priority … our goal is to cast a wide net for qualified applicants. We encourage anyone interested in joining the Baker/Polito Administration to use this online resource to contact us.” The website is

QUOTABLE QUOTES – Special “Gov. Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center Edition.”

Gov. Patrick last week rededicated South Station as the “Governor Michael S. Dukakis South Station Transportation Center” in recognition of the former governor’s devotion to public transportation and advocacy. The Legislature approved the renaming in April as part of an estimated $12.7 billion transportation borrowing bill.

“I am honored to rename South Station … to celebrate his lasting work to improve public transportation and through it the economy and quality of life in the Commonwealth.”

Gov. Patrick.

“Public transportation is designed to be efficient, dependable, and professional — just as Michael Dukakis was throughout his career.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Keating.

“Gov. Dukakis is not just a proponent of public transportation, he is one of the MBTA’s best customers.”

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

“Gov. Dukakis was a visionary who blazed a trail for future transportation infrastructure and needs.”

Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy.

“No one has done more to promote rail transportation across the United States than former Gov. Michael Dukakis.”

Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton).

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 10-14. The House met for a total of 22 minutes while the Senate met for a total of one hour and 17 minutes.

Mon. November 10 House 11:04 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Senate 11:04 a.m. to 11:12 a.m.

Tues. November 11 No House session
No Senate session

Wed. November 12 No House session
No Senate session

Thurs. November 13 House 11:02 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.
Senate 11:06 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Fri. November 14 No House session
No Senate session

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at

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