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THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives and senators’ votes on one roll call from the week of Feb. 26 to March 2.

Governor’s reorganization plan (H 2034)

House 144-0, Senate 37-0, approved Gov. Deval Patrick’s entire plan to reorganize the governor’s cabinet and several agencies. The measure creates a new Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development comprised of the current Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Labor; a new Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development made up of the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Department of Telecommunications and Cable and a new Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs that would contain the Division of Energy Resources and the Department of Public Utilities.

Eldridge, Yes; Hargraves, Yes; Antonioni, Yes; Panagiotakos, Yes; Resor, Yes


Patrick proposes $26.7 billion fiscal 2008 state budget — Patrick fired the first shot last week in the long battle over the state budget for fiscal year 2008 that begins on July 1. Patrick proposed a $26.7 billion budget — a 4.2 percent or $1.1 billion increase over last year’s spending package. The House will hold hearings on the governor’s package and draft its own version that will be debated and amended on the House floor. The Senate will follow suit with its own draft, and a House-Senate conference committee will eventually craft a plan that will be presented to the House and Senate for consideration and sent to the governor.

Allow town meetings in june — Rep. Denis Guyer, D-Dalton, filed legislation allowing towns to hold their local elections and town meetings in June. The bill would expand a current law that allows these events to be held only in February, March, April or May.

Adopt an embryo — Rep. Paul Frost, R-Auburn, filed a bill that would allow adults to petition the probate court for the adoption of an embryo. Embryos are often left over from in vitro fertilization attempts to help couples have children. The couples have the option of freezing the embryos and donating them to other couples, giving them to scientists for embryonic stem-cell research or destroying them. Frost says his bill would protect couples who receive the embryos by ensuring that they legally adopt the embryos and cannot be challenged at a later date. Opponents say the bill is unnecessary because nearly all infertility clinics already offer couples the option of donating their leftover embryos to other couples. Some opponents say this “adopt an embryo” term is supported by right-to-life groups to promote the belief that frozen embryos are the equivalent of children.

Golf — Rep. Cleon Turner, D-Dennis, filed two bills dealing with the sport of golf. The first one would allow car owners to pay $30 extra to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for a new special license plate depicting an image relating to the game of golf. The profits would go to the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism which would use the funds to promote golf in Massachusetts. Turner’s second proposal would allow cities and towns’ licensing authorities to license clubs to sell alcoholic beverages from a mobile cart or a stationary site “along the tees, fairways and greens of the golf course.”

Doctors and drug companies — A bill filed by Rep. Steven Walsh, D-Lynn, would require that physicians disclose in writing each gift, benefit or gratuity received from drug companies. Supporters say that they are concerned that these gifts influence physicians’ decisions on which medications to prescribe to patients. They note that drug companies spend some $20 billion annually in marketing and that close to 90 percent of that money is directed to doctors.

Bullet-proof vests — A measure filed by Rep. Timothy Toomey, D-Cambridge, would require stores to keep a written record of the transaction, including the name, address, phone number and date of birth of any customer who purchases bullet-proof vests or other body armor.

State jobs — A proposal by Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, would centralize the posting of all state job openings before they’re filled by requiring that they be available on a single state Web site and in a published state bulletin.

Mandatory seat belts — Rep. Michael Festa, D-Melrose, is sponsoring a “primary enforcement bill” allowing police officers to stop and issue $25 tickets to drivers and passengers solely for not wearing their seat belts. Current law is a “secondary enforcement” that prohibits drivers from being stopped solely for not wearing a seat belt and allows an officer to issue a ticket only if the driver is stopped for another motor-vehicle violation or some other offense. The House last year defeated the measure on a 76-80 roll call vote.

Water at events — Private citizen Maura McCarthy Sardella, of Billerica, filed a measure requiring entertainment venues to sell clean water at a fair price if the venue prohibits outside food and beverages.

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