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THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ votes on two roll calls and local senators’ votes on one roll call from prior legislative sessions. There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week.

Borrow $3 billion to repair bridges (H 4972)

House 157-0, Senate 37-1, approved and Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a $3 billion package to fix 250 to 300 bridges across the state over eight years. The package would be funded by $1.1 billion in state borrowing against anticipated future federal funding and $1.9 billion in other state borrowing. Supporters said that the package would make bridges safer, create thousands of jobs, save lives and prevent injuries. (A “yes” vote is for the bill).

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

Global warming (H 5035)

The state’s Global Warming Solutions Act took effect a few days ago. A key provision requires the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The House had approved the new law on a 155-0 roll call vote while the Senate passed it on a voice vote without a roll call.

Supporters said that this landmark bill would create jobs and protect the environment for future generations. They noted that it would put Massachusetts in the forefront of the vital effort to stop global warming. Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) says that the new law goes too far and noted that Massachusetts is already a leader in reducing greenhouse gasses. In a press release, the group said that global warming is “a global issue, addressed by national policy and international agreements. Massachusetts cannot and should not bear the economic brunt of reducing greenhouse gasses while other states and nations do nothing.” (A “yes” vote is for the bill).

Rep. Eldridge, Yes; Rep. Hargraves, Yes.

ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL

Patrick signs budget balancing plan (H 5132) — Gov. Patrick signed a bill designed to help close an estimated $1.4 billion gap in the state’s $28.2 billion fiscal 2009 state budget. Provisions include using $200 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund and a savings of $100 million by extending the state’s pension funding schedule two years from 2023 to 2025. The governor vetoed a section that would have reduced funding for the Commonwealth Corps by $2.5 million, from $3 million to $500,000. The Commonwealth Corps is a volunteer program under which members devote at least one year of service to a nonprofit organization, civic initiative or public entity. In his veto message, Patrick said, “At a time of great economic uncertainty and widespread unease, engaging volunteers in direct community service is especially valuable. Should the economy deteriorate further, and our fiscal challenges grow, I am prepared to reduce this program accordingly.”

Move over for emergency vehicles (H 5120) — The House and Senate cannot yet agree on a version of the “Move Over” bill establishing requirements for motorists who are approaching an emergency vehicle. Differences include the House version’s provisions requiring drivers to reduce their speed to a minimum of 25 miles below the posted speed limit when they spot an emergency vehicle flashing its lights on the side of a highway and imposing up to a $100 fine on drivers who do not follow the new law. Neither provision is in the Senate version of the measure. Supporters cited an incident in which a police officer responded to an emergency on the Mass Pike and was seriously injured when he was hit by a car traveling in the breakdown lane. They argued that this proposed legislation would save lives and prevent injuries. Each branch is insisting on its own version but supporters of the basic concept are hopeful that the logjam will be resolved.

Gold Star license plates (S 2352) — The House and Senate approved a bill allowing siblings and grandchildren of veterans who were killed in action to be issued the special “Gold Star Family” license plate for their cars. Current law allows only the parents, children or spouses of these veterans to be issued the special plates. Other provisions would allow a surviving spouse of a veteran to receive a veteran’s license plate even if the veteran’s spouse was not in possession of one at the time of death and require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to implement a plate retention program for veterans deployed on military duty. Supporters said that more family members of veterans killed in action should have the opportunity to honor these heroes by displaying the special plate. Only final approval in each branch is necessary prior to the measure going to Gov. Patrick.

Cape Cod women (S 2884) — The Senate gave initial approval to legislation creating a permanent 13-member commission on the status of women on Cape Cod and the Islands. The commission, modeled after similar ones in Bristol and Berkshire counties, would study matters concerning women on Cape Cod and the Islands and recommend solutions to any problems. Supporters said that the commission would address many specific problems that are unique to women on the Cape and the Islands.

QUOTABLE QUOTES

“I find it completely outrageous, given the circumstances of Jim Marzilli’s pending Senate ethics investigation and criminal trial, that he would use his elected status in this way, and I expect this information to be taken into consideration by the Senate Ethics Committee currently reviewing the question of his conduct.” — Senate President Therese Murray commenting on reports that Sen. Jim Marzilli, D-Arlington, attended an October conference on “Greening the Economy” in Germany. Marzilli, listed on the event’s program as a Massachusetts state senator, is awaiting trial on charges of attempt to commit indecent assault and battery, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex.

“In an e-mail, Pohl said Marzilli, who fashioned during his long House career a reputation as an energy and environmental policy expert, provided important input as a member of the panel.” — From a State House News Service story that included comments from Wolfgang Pohl, one of the organizers of the Germany event.

“I thought he (Marzilli) was under doctor’s care anyway. I didn’t know it was Dr. Demento.” — Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre, commenting to the State House News Service on the Marzilli story. Marzilli checked into McLean Hospital in June following the criminal charges against him. Demento is a radio disc jockey whose name is derived from the word “demented” and is known for his novelty songs and music parodies.

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? During the week of Nov. 10-14, the House met for a total of two hours and 26 minutes while the Senate met for a total of one hour and 46 minutes.

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com.

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