THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.
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SENATORS’ VOTES WITH THEIR PARTY LEADERSHIP – This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports the percentage of times local senators voted with their party’s leadership in 2017 through Sept. 1.
The votes of the 2017 membership of 5 Republicans were compared with those of GOP Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).
The votes of the 2017 membership of 32 Democrats were compared to House Majority Leader Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), second in command in the Senate. We could not compare the Democrats’ votes to those of Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) because by tradition, the Senate president rarely vote.
Beacon Hill Roll Call uses 73 votes from the 2017 Senate session as the basis for this report. This includes all roll calls that were not on local issues.
None of the 32 Democratic senators voted with Chandler 100 percent of the time.
Twelve came very close and voted with Chandler all but one time.
The Democratic senator who voted the lowest percentage of times with Chandler was Sen. Walter Timilty (D-Milton) who voted with Chandler only 90.4 percent of the time.
None of the five GOP senators voted with Tarr 100 percent of the time.
The Republican senator who voted the lowest percentage of times with Tarr was Sen. Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) who voted with Tarr only 94.5 percent of the time.
SENATORS’ PERCENTAGE OF VOTES SUPPORTING THEIR PARTY’S LEADER IN 2017
The percentage next to the senator’s name represents the percentage of times the senator supported his or her party’s leader.
The number in parentheses represents the number of times the senator opposed his or her party’s leader.
Some senators voted on all 73 roll call votes. Others missed one or more of the 73 votes. The percentage for each senator 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.
Sen. Patricia Jehlen 95.9 percent (3)
ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL
HEARING ON HEALTH LEGISLATION – The Public Health Committee will hold a hearing on Sept. 12th at 1 p.m. in Room A-2 at the Statehouse on several bills including:
MANDATORY DENTAL EXAMS (H 4256) – Requires every child in Massachusetts to have a dental exam sometime in the twelve months prior to entering kindergarten.
“Dental disease is the most common, chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma,” said the bill’s sponsor Sean Garballey (D-Arlington). “In the United States, it is estimated that 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related causes. Students have physical exams and the required vaccinations, as well as having their vision and hearing tested. We owe it to our children to ensure that they have their teeth and gums checked as well.”
ALLOW DENTAL HYGIENISTS TO ADMINISTER “LAUGHING GAS” (S 1238) – Allows dental hygienists who have obtained a special permit and training to administer nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, to patients while under the direct supervision of a dentist. Nitrous oxide is used to reduce a patient’s fear or anxiety before and during dental procedures.
“Through this bill, patients will be granted greater access to a proven and useful method for reducing the fear and anxiety often associated with dental procedures,” said bill sponsor Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “Allowing hygienists to administer nitrous oxide would improve efficiency and care in dental offices, permitting busy dentists to delegate this task and devote more attention to patients without being interrupted to administer nitrous. Twenty-seven other states have already taken action to approve this measure and it’s high time Massachusetts follows in their footsteps.”
NO LATEX (H 1221) – Prohibits any employee who handles food from using latex gloves and imposes up to a $500 fine on violators.
“Recent data indicates that the prevalence of latex allergy is approximately 4 percent of the population worldwide and about 9 percent among healthcare workers,” said bill sponsor Rep. John Scibak (D-Hadley). “Exposure can result in symptoms ranging from itching, runny nose to asthma-like symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing, with the most severe allergy resulting in persons going into anaphylactic shock or even death.”
MUST LABEL FISH (H 1227) – Requires the state to establish a food labeling program for commercially sold saltwater fish including tuna, mackerel, swordfish, grouper, striped bass and bluefish. The label would provide consumers with information about the risk factors and toxin levels of eating these with a focus on the health of young children, women of child-bearing age and pregnant women.
“The bill protects young children and pregnant women from unknowingly being exposed to neurologically damaging poisons found in many of the foods we all eat,” said Rep. Tom Stanley (D-Waltham), the bill’s sponsor. “The label will provide consumers with information regarding the safety and risk factors of consumption of the fish based on toxin levels in the fish and their hazards to human health.”
RESTAURANTS MUST LIST ALLERGENS (H 1157) – Requires restaurants to identify any ingredients that contain protein derived from milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soybeans. The list would be included on the menu, on a separate list or posted in a space readily available to customers and employees.
“The bill was filed from my own experience when one of my daughters at a young age developed an egg allergy,” said sponsor Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn). “We found it frustrating some food establishments (big and small) didn’t know if their food dishes had egg in it or not. We got answers like, ‘Sorry, but we threw out the box that listed all the ingredients. Perhaps she shouldn’t order it.’ I found it unacceptable that a dining establishment didn’t have access to information of what is or isn’t in their food they serve.”
QUOTABLE QUOTES – Special Facebook Edition
Here are the state’s six constitutional officers and the number of followers each one has on Facebook as of noon on September 1, 2017.
Gov. Charlie Baker
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito
Attorney General Maura Healey
Treasurer Deb Goldberg
Sec. of State Bill Galvin
Auditor Suzanne Bump
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 August 28-September 1, the House met for a total of 53 minutes while the Senate met for a total of one hour and 13 minutes.
Mon. Aug. 28 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:43 a.m.
Senate 11:03 a.m. to 11:48 a.m.
Tues. Aug. 29 No House session
No Senate session
Wed. Aug. 30 No House session
No Senate session
Thurs. Aug. 31 House 11:02 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.
Senate 11:03 a.m. to 11:31 a.m.
Fri. Sept. 1 No House session
No Senate session
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