THIS WEEK IN THE MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE AND SENATE

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By Bob Katzen

There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.

Once again, the main focus on Beacon Hill last week was the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a handful of legislators and staff along with the House and Senate Clerks and some of their staff were at the House and Senate sessions. Most legislators and staff are staying away from Beacon Hill and many are working from home to comply with social distancing guidelines. Both branches met in only informal sessions at which there can be no roll calls and it only takes one member to stop the proceedings if he or she disagrees with anything. The Democrats and Republicans worked together to craft bills relating to COVID-19.

This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on several pieces of legislation relating to the COVID-19 The report also includes the percentage of times local senators voted with their party’s leadership in 2020 through April 3. Beacon Hill Roll Call uses 31 votes from the 2020 Senate session as the basis for this report. This includes all roll calls that were not on local issues.

The votes of the 2020 membership of 32 Democrats were compared to Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), second-in-command in the Senate. We could not compare the Democrats’ votes to those of Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) because by tradition, the Senate president rarely votes.

Seventeen (or 53.1 percent) of the 32 Democratic senators voted with Creem 100 percent of the time. Another ten senators voted with Creem all but one time (96.7 percent.) The Democratic senators who voted the lowest percentage of times with Creem were Sens. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) and Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) who both voted with Creem only 83.8 percent of the time; and Michael Moore (D-Millbury) who voted with Creem only 87 percent of the time.

The votes of the 2020 membership of the three Republicans were compared with those of GOP Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

Only Sen. Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) voted with Tarr 100 percent of the time. The Republican senators who voted the lowest percentage of times with Tarr were Sens. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) and Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg) who both voted with Tarr 87 percent of the time.

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