Beacon Hill Roll Call Volume 41 – Report No. 46 November 14-18, 2016

By Bob Katzen 

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.
   The controversial subject of sanctuary cities is back in the news following the election of Donald Trump. “We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths,” Trump said in an August speech on immigration. “Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars, and we will work with Congress to pass legislation to protect those jurisdictions that do assist federal authorities.”
   Last week the Democratic mayors of several cities including New York, Chicago, Seattle, Newark, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Denver, Providence and Washington, D.C. vowed that they will not cooperate with the Trump administration’s policy on deportation of illegal immigrants. 
   “To all those who are, after Tuesday’s election, very nervous and filled with anxiety … you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a news conference. He noted that Chicago has been and will always be a sanctuary city.
   According to Aspen Law Offices, a New York City-based law firm that specializes in immigration issues, “Sanctuary city is a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelter illegal immigrants. The term most commonly is used for cities that do not permit municipal funds or resources to be applied in furtherance of enforcement of federal immigration laws. These cities normally do not permit police or municipal employees to inquire about one’s immigration status.” 
   Massachusetts currently has five sanctuary cities: Cambridge, Chelsea, Northampton, Somerville and Springfield. 
   Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino told Beacon Hill Roll Call, “I’m happy that the Massachusetts House rejected an effort to penalize municipalities that seek to provide safety and dignity to immigrants, regardless of their documentation status.”  
   None of the four mayors of the other sanctuary cities responded to a request for a comment from Beacon Hill Roll Call.
   In April 2016, the Massachusetts House 34-124, voted against an amendment that would withhold local aid from any cities or towns that do not enforce federal immigration laws. The vote was strictly along party lines with all Republicans voting in favor of the amendment and all Democrats opposing it.
   At that time, amendment supporters said cities and towns that encourage law-breaking are hurting this nation. They pointed to the murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, allegedly killed by illegal immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, while walking on the street with her father in San Francisco, a sanctuary city. Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican national, had been deported five times for multiple felonies.
  Some amendment opponents said they support sanctuary cities and noted that some individuals are here because of political asylum. Others said they oppose sanctuary cities but do not support cutting off local aid as punishment.
   Last week, Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman), the sponsor of the amendment told Beacon Hill Roll Call, “Whether federal or state money, our tax dollars should not be going to communities that are not abiding by our laws. Taxpayers should not fund cities that protect illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. Not only do they put their own residents at risk, but also they jeopardize the safety of citizens in surrounding towns.”
  Fellow Republican Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) has filed similar legislation that would withhold all state aid except education funds. “Estimates show nearly $2 billion annually is spent in Massachusetts on benefits for those who don’t qualify,” said Lombardo. “It’s time to stop this funding and stop Massachusetts from being a magnet to illegal immigrants.”

   Rep. Christine Barber (D-Somerville) opposed the amendment. “[Somerville] is safer and more welcoming because we do not single out immigrants based solely on their documentation status,” she said. “Somerville will not turn its back on protections for immigrants, despite the election of Donald Trump.”
   Gov. Charlie Baker opposes cutting off funds. “I think decisions about how communities want to manage their public safety issues and their community issues belong to them and they should make whatever decisions they make,” Baker said. “Then it’s incumbent on our administration and on our congressional delegation to work hard to make sure that our state continues to receive the federal support that we’ve previously been able to secure.”

   Here is the House 34-124, vote that rejected the amendment to withhold local aid from any cities or towns that do not enforce federal immigration laws.
   (A “Yes” vote is for cutting off funds. A “No” vote is against cutting off funds.)

 Rep. Christine Barber No Rep. Denise Provost No Rep. Timothy Toomey No                                      

   MEDICAL ASSISTANTS CAN NOW GIVE FLU SHOTS – A new law that allows certified medical assistants who work in a doctor’s office to give flu and other immunization shots to patients took effect on November 8. A certified medical technician is an individual who is a graduate of a post-secondary medical assisting education and performs basic administrative, clerical and clinical duties under the direct supervision of a doctor.
  Supporters say this will free up the time of doctors and nurses so they can work on more urgent medical issues.
   PREVENT ANIMAL SUFFERING AND DEATH – A new law that prohibits persons from leaving their pet in a car when high or low temperatures could endanger the animal’s health and safety went into effect on November 17. Violators will be hit with up to a $150 fine for a first offense, $300 for a second offense and $500 for any subsequent offense. The law also leaves open the possibility of criminal animal cruelty charges being brought against the offender in the most egregious cases. 
  It also allows law enforcement officers, after making reasonable efforts to locate the motor vehicle’s owner, to enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means to protect the health and safety of an animal. It extends a similar right to ordinary citizens and makes them immune from criminal or civil liability that might result from the removal.
  Other provisions prohibit leaving a dog outdoors during harsh weather conditions and prohibit a dog from being chained or tethered outside for more than five hours per day or between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for more than 15 minutes. Violations under the tethering law include penalties of up to $500 or relinquishment of ownership of the dog.
   The bill’s chief sponsor Sen. Marc Montigny (D-New Bedford) said, “[This] comes just in time to protect our beloved pets from harsh winter conditions. If you see an animal in distress, call 911 and break the window. We cannot afford to simply stand by while an innocent animal suffers. I hope this announcement will remind the public and pet owners of our obligation to protect vulnerable animals.”
   ADULT MALNUTRITION COMMISSION: The House approved a Senate-approved proposal establishing a 15-member commission on malnutrition prevention among older adults. The commission would investigate and study the effects of malnutrition on older adults and the most effective strategies for reducing it. The commission would report to the Legislature by December 31 with the most effective strategies for reducing malnutrition. The measure needs final approval in each branch prior to it going to Gov. Charlie Baker for his signature.
   ASSIST FAMILY CAREGIVERS (H 3911) – The Senate approved a House-approved measure that would require hospitals to allow patients to designate a caregiver who would be given all the patient’s health information and a copy of the patient’s discharge plan. 
   Hospital staff would be required to discuss with the patient and caregiver the after-care assistance needs of the patient including medication management, injections and wound care; information about available community resources and long-term care support services near the patient’s residence that may be used to support the discharge plan; and the hospital contact information to address follow-up questions about after-care tasks following the patient’s discharge.
   Supporters said more than 800,000 people in Massachusetts, mostly unpaid family caregivers, are helping an aging parent or other loved one to live independently in their own homes. They argued that many of these caregivers have a regular full or part-time job and are overwhelmed by their caregiver duties. They said the bill would make life a little easier for these caregivers and provide better services for the patient.
   The measure needs final approval in each branch prior to it going to Gov. Baker for his signature.
   ETHICS TASK FORCE (H 4627) – The House and Senate approved and sent to the governor a bill that would create a 13-member Task Force on Integrity in State and Local Government including the attorney general, the chief legal counsels to the governor, House and Senate, each branch’s chair of the Committee on Ethics and the Committees on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight and three other people with expertise on issues relating to ethics, public integrity or campaign finance. 
  The task force would study existing laws and regulations that govern the conduct of state, county and municipal elected officials and appointed public employees. It would also review the Conflict of Interest Law, the Financial Disclosure Law and the State Ethics Commission. The task force would issue its findings and any recommendations to the governor and the Legislature by March 15, 2017.
   Supporters said the Legislature recently had several incidents in which ethics have been called into question. They argued it is time to review and perhaps make necessary changes to these laws and regulations.
   QUOTABLE QUOTES – Special Post-Election Edition on the number of Bay State women elected to state and federal offices.
   The number of women elected to the 200-member Massachusetts Legislature.

   The number of women who lost their bid to replace men in the Legislature.


   The number of times a woman needs to be asked before deciding to run for public office according to Sarah McCarthy Welsh, executive director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, as told to the State House News Service.

   The year Massachusetts elected its first woman state representative.


   The year Massachusetts elected its first woman state senator.


   The number of the six statewide constitutional offices that are held by women. (Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey and Auditor Suzanne Bump).


   The number of the nine Massachusetts congressional seats held by women. (U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Niki Tsongas)


   The number of the two U.S. Senate seats in Massachusetts held by women. (U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren)
   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 14-18, the House met for a total of 37 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 28 minutes.


Mon. November 14 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.

                      Senate 11:09 a.m. to 11:16 a.m.

Tues. November 15 No House session

                      No Senate session
Wed. November 16 No House session

                      No Senate session
Thurs. November 17 House 11:04 a.m. to 11:28 a.m.

                      Senate 11:11 a.m. to 1l:32 a.m.
Fri. November 18 No House session

                      No Senate session
Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at

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