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Beacon Hill Roll Call recorded local senators’ votes on four roll calls from the week of May 1-5. There were no roll calls in the House last week.

Assault with bodily fluids (S 2514)

Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a bill imposing up to a 10-year additional prison sentence on inmates who commit “assault with bodily fluids” upon a prison worker. Supporters said that creating this new category of crime would deter inmates who participate in this dangerous and outrageous practice that can spread disease and harm workers. They noted that many workers who are victims of this crime either contract a disease or at the least are required to go through a series of tests and treatments to protect themselves and their families. (A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Sen. Robert Antonioni, Yes

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, Yes

Sen. Pamela Resor, Yes

Restore dental, vision and chiropractic benefits (H 4850)

Sen. Robert Antonioni, Yes

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, Yes

Sen. Pamela Resor, Yes

Provide health care for workers or pay $295 per employee (H 4850)

Senate 31-9, overrode Gov. Romney’s veto of a health care bill provision requiring that all businesses that have more than 10 employees and do not provide health insurance to their workers pay $295 per employee into a state fund that would help provide insurance for the uninsured. Supporters of the $295 fee said that it is a key component of the health care bill and would raise some $48 million. They argued that irresponsible businesses that do not cover their employees should not escape the overall health care burden and should be required to pay this modest fee. Opponents of the $295 fee said that it is just another disguised tax on businesses that are already paying the nation’s highest unemployment tax, workers’ compensation rates and utility costs. They argued that this mandate would begin to restore the nickname “Taxachusetts” and would discourage businesses from remaining or relocating here. The House already overrode the veto and the fee is now a state law. (A “Yes” vote is for the $295 fee. A “No” vote is against the $295 fee).

Sen. Robert Antonioni, Yes

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, Yes

Sen. Pamela Resor, Yes

$15,000 minimum pension for retired state workers and teachers (S 2292)

Sen. Robert Antonioni, Yes

Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, Yes

Sen. Pamela Resor, Yes

ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL

Medical test results (H 4827) — The Public Health Committee has approved a bill requiring physicians and hospitals to notify patients of test results within 96 hours if the test is for a life-threatening disease. Supporters point to a case in which a person was not informed that she had cancer until several months after her test results were completed. They note that the lost time resulted in fewer treatment options for her.

Ban gender-based annuities (H 2970) — The Committee on Financial Services has approved a bill prohibiting insurance companies from using gender as a factor in the sale and payout of an annuity policy. Supporters say that it is unfair and discriminatory that men and women purchase annuities at the same price but women receive a lower monthly payout. Opponents say that women generally live longer than men and noted that a woman’s lifetime payout is in most cases equal to or more than the one paid to a man. The House in 2004 defeated a similar proposal on a 62-94 roll call vote.

Medical spas (S 2191) — The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Romney a bill establishing a task force to study medical spas and their procedures including Botox injections, laser hair removal and chemical peels. Supporters say that many of the dangerous procedures in these unregulated spas are performed by non-medical personnel and have led to injury and even death.

Campaign contributions (S 2340) — The Senate approved and sent to the House legislation allowing campaign contributions to be made through the use of a debit card. Supporters say that this is simply a logical extension of a current law that permits these contributions to be made by a credit card.

Primary enforcement of seat belt law (H 229) — The Senate, on a voice vote and without debate, gave initial approval to a bill providing for “primary enforcement” of the state’s seat belt law. The measure has already been approved by the House on a close 76-74 vote. The proposal allows police officers to stop and issue $25 tickets to a driver and passengers solely for not wearing seat belts. Current law permits only secondary enforcement and prohibits the $25 fine from being imposed unless the driver is stopped for another motor vehicle violation or some other offense. The Senate later postponed further action on the proposal until May 11 when extensive debate and a roll call vote on the measure are expected.

HOW LONG WAS THIS WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate are 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 May 1-5, the House met for a total of two hours and 15 minutes while the Senate met for a total of six hours and five minutes.

Monday, May 1:Nashoba Publishing

(H) 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

(S) 11:03 a.m. to 12:38 p.m.

Tuesday, May 2:

NO HOUSE SESSION

NO SENATE SESSION

Wednesday, May 3:

NO HOUSE SESSION

SENATE 11:06 a.m. to 12:11 p.m.

Thursday, May 4:Nashoba Publishing

(H) 1:05 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.

(S) 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m.

Friday, May 5:

NO HOUSE SESSION

NO SENATE SESSION

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com

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