This Week’s QUOTABLE QUOTES on Beacon Hill

By Bob Katzen

“One of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use, not only among low-income individuals but also for youth, is to significantly increase the tax on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Multiple studies have shown that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4 percent among adults and about 7 percent among youth.”
—The American Lung Association recommending that Massachusetts lawmakers increase the state’s current $3.51 per pack tax on cigarettes by at least $1.

“We need tax reform. We need tax relief. Making Massachusetts more competitive and attractive means doing just that. I know how important this is to the business community.”
—Gov. Maura Healey in a speech to the business group Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

“The dedicated men and women who keep our communities safe too often hide the significant stress and trauma they incur from the job. Every officer in the commonwealth must have access to quality mental health services and peer support to combat this stigma.”
—Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) on distribution of money for a statewide grant program, which he created via legislation in 2018, providing police officers across Massachusetts with access to mental health services and peer support.

“We know that when kids are hungry at school they cannot learn. We know that hungry kids have problems concentrating, have lower academic achievement, suffer cognitive development impairments and exhibit more behavioral problems in their food secure peers.”
—Rep. Andres Vargas (D- Haverhill) on his bill that would allow every Massachusetts student to receive free breakfast or lunch in school without providing income or other eligibility information.

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 23-17, the House met for a total of 12 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 23 minutes.

Mon. Jan. 23 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.
Senate 12:03 p.m. to 12:05 p.m.

Tues. Jan. 24 No House session
No Senate session

Wed. Jan. 25 No House session
No Senate session

Thurs. Jan. 26 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:13 a.m.
Senate 11:14 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.

Fri. Jan. 27 No House session
No Senate session

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.