This Past Week On Beacon Hill

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports local senators’ roll call attendance records for the 2022 session through June 3.

The Senate has held 69 roll calls so far in the 2022 session. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls on which each senator voted and then calculates that number as a percentage of the total roll call votes held. That percentage is the number referred to as the roll call attendance record.

Thirty-six of the 40 senators did not miss any roll calls and have 100 percent roll call attendance records. This high level of participation can likely be attributed to the fact that under emergency rules adopted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of the 40 senators are not in the Senate chamber during a session. Most are watching and listening to the session from their home, business or Senate office and casting their votes remotely.

Senators’ remote votes are communicated to Senate officials during the session or prior to the session if senators are informed in advance that there will be a roll call vote. If a member wants to speak on an issue under consideration, they do so on a separate “debate phone line” and their voice is then heard in the Senate chamber and by anyone watching the broadcast online.

The number of senators who had 100 percent roll call attendance records in the four years prior to the pandemic was lower than 2022 as follows: 28 in 2019; 20 in 2018; 24 in 2017; and 17 in 2016.

It’s a Senate tradition that the Senate president only votes occasionally. Current Senate President Karen Spilka follows that tradition and only voted on 21 (30.4 percent) of the 69 roll calls while not voting on 48 (69.6 percent) of them.

Only four senators, other than Spilka, missed any roll calls. Sens. Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Sen.Joan Lovely (D-Salem) each missed three roll calls for a roll call attendance record of 95.6 percent. Sens. Sonia Chang Diaz (D-Boston) and Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) each missed only one roll and scored a roll call attendance record of 98.5 percent. Beacon Hill Roll Call contacted the four senators asking why they missed some roll calls.

Sen. Lovely responded, “I was prevented from engaging in three roll call votes while working remotely because my Internet connection was interrupted. I have participated in every other roll call vote this session and submitted a letter on how I would have voted to the Senate clerk.”

“The senator had some significant food allergies and suffered an allergic reaction to lunch that day,” said DiZoglio aide Tom Arsenault. “However, she was grateful to have been able to get on the record with the clerk’s office regarding her position on that particular amendment and recover in time to vote in favor of the bill.”

Friedman and Chang-Diaz did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking them for a statement.

SENATORS’ 2022 ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS THROUGH JUNE 3, 2022
The percentage listed next to the senator’s name is the percentage of roll call votes on which the senator voted. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that he or she missed.

Sen. Patricia Jehlen !00 percent (0)

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