Skip to content




THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ and local senators’ votes on three roll calls from prior legislative sessions.

All of the roll calls are on successful moves by Democrats to override some $37 million of Gov. Deval Patrick’s vetoes of items in the $26.8 billion fiscal year 2008 budget signed into law. Only five of the Legislature’s 173 Democrats sided with the Democratic governor on any of the vetoes. The vast majority of Patrick’s support to sustain the vetoes came from the chambers’ 24 Republicans.

$110,000 for agricultural programs (H 4141)

House 144-7, Senate 31-4, overrode Gov. Patrick’s veto of $110,000 in funding for programs in the Department of Agricultural Resources. Specific programs include $50,000 for the central Massachusetts Youth Growing and Raising Organics in Worcester (YouthGROW) program; $10,000 for an animal shelter; and $50,000 for agricultural fair prizes and rehabilitation. Override supporters said that these three items are important and should be funded. They noted that the five-year-old YouthGROW program grows thousands of pounds of food that is annually distributed to food pantries and teaches leadership and community organizing to teenagers. In his veto message, the governor said that he vetoed the $110,000 because it “earmarks funding for programs that are beyond the scope of the agency’s mission.” (A “yes” vote is for the $110,000. A “no” vote is against the $110,000).

Rep. Eldridge, Yes; Rep. Hargraves, Yes; Sen. Antonioni, Yes; Sen. Panagiotakos, Yes; Sen. Resor, Yes.

$300,000 for homeless shelters (H 4141)

House 140-15, Senate 33-2, overrode Gov. Patrick’s veto of $300,000 in funding for emergency assistance family shelters. Specific programs include $100,000 for the St. Francis Samaritan House in Taunton and $200,000 for Our Father’s House in Fitchburg. Override supporters said that this state funding is crucial for these two homeless shelters for men and women. In his veto message, the governor said that he vetoed the $300,000 because it “earmarks funding for programs that are beyond the scope of this item.” (A “yes” vote is for the $300,000. A “no” vote is against the $300,000).

Rep. Eldridge, Yes; Rep. Hargraves, Yes; Sen. Antonioni, Yes; Sen. Panagiotakos, Yes; Sen. Resor, Yes.

$537,500 for local tourist councils (H 4141)

House 146-9, Senate 35-0, overrode Gov. Patrick’s $537,500 veto (from $9 million to $8,462,500) for assistance to local tourist councils. Override supporters said that the funds are used for grants to public and nonprofit agencies that promote or provide services for tourism, convention, travel and recreation. They noted that these funds help increase tourism and generate tax revenue and income for private businesses. In his veto message, the governor said that he vetoed the $537,500 because it “funds program expansion not recommended.” (A “yes” vote is for the $537,500. A “no” vote is against the $537,500).

Rep. Eldridge, Yes; Rep. Hargraves, Yes; Sen. Antonioni, Yes; Sen. Panagiotakos, Yes; Sen. Resor, Yes.


Casino gambling — Gov. Patrick’s proposal to legalize casino gambling in the Bay State was the focus of a revenue hearing by the Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi recently announced that a hearing on the legislation itself won’t begin until next year.

Sweatshops, tropical forests and squash — The State Administration Committee has recommended passage of legislation prohibiting the state or local communities from doing business with vendors unless they fill out a questionnaire disclosing where their products were manufactured (S 2412). Supporters say that the measure is designed to provide information about which companies are using sweatshop labor in foreign countries and to encourage state and local government officials to avoid purchasing goods and services from these companies. The committee also gave thumbs up to a measure prohibiting the state from purchasing wood grown in a tropical forest except when a public necessity exists and no other alternative is available (H 3238). A bill making squash the official state vegetable (H 3175) did not fare as well and was shipped off to a study committee. A study committee usually spells death for a piece of legislation as bills are rarely removed from these committees and sent to the Legislature for action.

Another proposed 2008 ballot questions clear first hurdle — Secretary of State William Galvin’s office announced that supporters of the initiative petition banning greyhound racing have collected the 66,593 required signatures to move to the next step. The proposal now goes to the Legislature, which has until May to act on it. If the measure is not approved by the Legislature, sponsors would need another 11,099 signatures by June 18 in order to put the question on the 2008 ballot. Meanwhile, Galvin’s office also announced that the initiative promoting repeal of the state’s Chapter 40B housing law did not gather sufficient signatures and is now dead. The failed effort was aimed at repealing the current law that essentially exempts developers from local zoning bylaws in communities in which less than 10 percent of the housing is deemed affordable by the state if the developers agree to make at least 25 percent of the new units affordable.

State closer to naming next education commissioner — Lowell School Superintendent Karla Brooks Baehr, Ohio Senior Associate State Superintendent Mitchell Dan Chester and Wallace Foundation Education Director Richard Laine are the three finalists for the position of commissioner of education. The education board is expected to make its choice at its Jan. 22 meeting.

Environmental justice (S 2184) — The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture held a hearing on a bill requiring the state’s Office of Environmental Affairs to develop statewide policies to promote “environmental justice.” The term is defined in the measure as equal protection from environmental pollution for all people by the uniform, statewide enforcement of environmental laws and the equitable distribution of environmental benefits regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender or handicap. The proposal requires the state to designate environmentally dangerous areas of the state as areas of “critical concern” and develop ways to protect them from environmental hazards while promoting the cleanup of the areas’ hazardous sites. Supporters said that low-income, minority communities house the vast majority of the state’s hazardous waste sites and argued it is unfair that the poorer a person is, the more likely he is to have toxic chemicals and waste in his neighborhood. They argued these toxins cause illnesses, including asthma in children.


“Why are we welcoming an industry that requires addiction counselors?” — Sen. Susan Tucker (D-Andover), testifying against Gov. Patrick’s proposal to build gambling casinos in Massachusetts.

“Alluding to Romney’s Mormonism, Carney said he was unsure what tenets belonged to that religion, but knew some of the pastimes it forbade were among his favorite.” — From a State House News Service story on Raynham Park racetrack owner Thomas Carney’s references to former governor Mitt Romney during Carney’s testimony in favor of building gambling casinos.

“To see more of you.” — Gov. Patrick’s response to a reporter’s question asking the governor whether he had any New Year’s resolutions.

“I pulled my helmet down, put my bike in the truck and said ‘this is not working.'” — Gov. Patrick, talking to reporters about the day he took a Sunday bicycle ride in the Berkshires, trailed by his state troopers in a truck. He thought that the ride was going well until he and the troopers pulled over to the side of the road and noticed dozens of cars passing by and staring. For security reasons, cars had not been allowed to pass the governor and were stuck behind him traveling at a very slow speed.

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at

Copyright © 2007 Beacon Hill Roll Call. All rights reserved.