By Bob Katzen

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a remarkable increase in activations and deployments for the National Guard. As a result, the Guard is the busiest it has been since World War II. It is absolutely critical that we—as a Legislature—are doing everything we can to support the Guard as they continue to serve and support us.”

— Sen, John Velis (D-Westfield) who is a major in the US Army Reserve, as he and Rep. Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy) announced the creation of the National Guard Legislative Caucus aimed at advancing the Guard’s legislative priorities and supporting their members.

“We had serious challenges with access to Narcan in our state back in 2014 and 2015. We set up a new Bulk Purchasing Program for Narcan that brought the price down by about two-thirds. We got it into the hands of thousands of school nurses, recovery coaches, first-responders and camp counselors. This was a life-or-death issue and was one of the big reasons why the death rates have gone down for opioids in particular in recent years.”
—Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) in an address to the Massachusetts Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.

“It’s come to the point that this bill is just as beneficial to the law enforcement community as it is to the immigrants that it serves.”
— New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira speaking in support of a bill that would remove immigration status as a barrier for tens of thousands of residents who need to drive to work, to medical appointments and to school.

“Implementing this Body-Worn-Camera pilot program reinforces our commitment to advancing the safety of correctional officers and those entrusted to their care. The program affords us the opportunity to explore how this technology can improve operational efficiency and enhance the value of transparency in our institutions.”
— Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy announcing a pilot program to outfit correctional officers with Body-Worn Cameras.

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 January 24-28, the House met for a total of 11 hours and two minutes and the Senate met for a total of six hours and 12 minutes.

Mon. Jan. 24 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:07 a.m.
Senate 11:28 a.m. to 11:34 a.m.

Tues. Jan. 25 No House session
No Senate session

Wed. Jan. 26 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:52 a.m.
Senate 12:01 p.m. to 5:55 p.m.

Thurs. Jan. 27 House 11:03 a.m. to 9:08 p.m.
Senate 11:16 p.m. to 11:28 a.m.

Fri. Jan. 28 No House session
No Senate session

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