By Bob Katzen

The House 155-0, approved and sent to the Senate a $5 billion bill that borrows money for hundreds of projects—the majority involving maintenance and modernization projects of buildings—many of which are decades old. The House added $125 million during consideration of the package. A key provision imposes a five-year moratorium on any prison or jail construction in Massachusetts.

There was no debate on the House floor during consideration of the package. There were 256 amendments filed by members, many of which were filed by legislators for projects in their own district. Members pitched their amendments behind closed doors. In the end, there was no debate or vote on individual amendments but rather approval of a single mega-consolidated which included some, but not all, of the 256 amendments.

“I’m pleased that the House of Representatives advanced this critical legislation to ensure funding for several governmental facility projects,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “The House bill also includes a moratorium on the construction of all new prisons in the commonwealth. This moratorium is consistent with the goals of the Legislature’s 2018 criminal justice reform legislation, which looked to reduce our prison population, limit solitary confinement and increase access mental health support.”

Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), the House chair of the Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, did not respond to repeated
requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on passage of the bill. Her committee held a hearing on the original version of the measure sponsored by Gov. Charlie Baker back in January.
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes

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