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By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE. There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week. Beacon Hill Roll Call reports local representatives’ final roll call attendance records for the 2011 session.

The House held 181 roll call votes in 2011. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls on which each senator was present and voting and then calculates that number as a percentage of the total roll call votes held. That percentage is the number referred to as the roll call attendance record.

Only 52 of the House’s 160 members have 100 percent roll call attendance records. The worst roll call attendance record belongs to Rep. Jerald Parisella (D-Beverly), who missed 163 roll calls (9.9 percent roll call attendance record). Parisella missed the roll calls while on active duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq.

Parisella is followed by Reps. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera (D-Springfield), who missed 83 roll calls (54.1 percent attendance); Joyce Spiliotis (D-Peabody), who missed 80 roll calls (55.8 percent attendance); Harold Naughton (D-Clinton), who missed 79 roll calls (56.3 percent attendance); and James Vallee (D-Franklin), who missed 55 roll calls (69.6 percent attendance). Coakley-Rivera and Spiliotis both had medical issues that led to their absences while Naughton and Vallee’s absences were a result of being on active duty in the U.S. military.

LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES’ FINAL 2011 ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS

Here is the percentage of roll call votes for which the representative was present and voting. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that the representative missed: Rep. Jennifer Benson, 100 percent (0); Rep. Sheila Harrington, 99.4 percent (1).

ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL

EFFORT TO REPEAL CASINO LAW HITS ROADBLOCK — Attorney General Martha Coakley ruled that a referendum to repeal the new state law that allows three casinos and one slot parlor in the Bay State is not eligible to appear on the 2012 ballot. Coakley noted the new law includes monetary appropriations that under the state constitution are exempt from referendums to repeal the law.Casino opponents are mulling over whether to appeal the decision to the Supreme Judicial Court. If an appeal is successful, they would have to gather 34,456 additional signatures before Feb. 20, 2012 in order to have the repeal question appear on the 2012 ballot.

ALLOW LIQUOR SALES ON “CHRISTMAS MONDAY” (H 1009) — The House gave initial approval to legislation that would allow package stores, grocery stores and convenience stores to sell liquor on the Monday after any Christmas that falls on a Sunday. Under current law, all these stores would be forced to close and lose income on that Monday. Christmas falls on a Sunday this year so the Legislature has only a couple of weeks to approve the bill and get it to the governor.

FOUR BALLOT QUESTIONS — It appears four groups promoting 2012 ballot questions have submitted the necessary 68,911 signatures each to bring the proposal before the Legislature. The four questions include allowing medical use of marijuana; allowing terminally ill patients with fewer than six months to live to obtain medication they can self-administer to commit suicide; requiring auto manufacturers to sell to non-dealer repair shops the complete repair information and diagnostic tools; requiring that the effectiveness of teachers, rather than their seniority, be the prime consideration in the hiring and firing process. If the Legislature does not approve a proposal by May 2012, proponents must gather another 11,485 signatures by July 2012 in order for the question to appear on the November 2012 ballot.

REBATES FOR CONSUMERS WHO LOSE POWER (H 3829) — The Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee held a hearing on a bill that would require electric utilities, after the first eight hours of a power outage, to rebate customers the amount equal to two days of their average prior month’s electric bill for each day they are without power. The bill has received more attention since the unusual October storm that left many residents without power for days.

The storm caused more than 500,000 power outages and some 200,000 customers were still in the dark four days after the record-setting nor’easter. Authorities attribute some deaths to the power outage. Many businesses were forced to close without power and suffered not only a loss of revenue but countless dollars when spoiled food had to be thrown out.Rep. Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk), the bill’s sponsor, said, “The Power Outage Rebate Proposal will create significant market incentives for utility executives to invest sufficient resources to prevent extended power outages–such as tree maintenance and infrastructure–rather than playing Russian Roulette with the weather. If enacted, my hope is we’ll never see the need for widespread rebates. This bill, together with my proposed line-line-line model bylaw for cities and towns to require tree maintenance, will help prevent future extended loss of power.”

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION?

During the week of Dec. 5-9, the House met for a total of two hours and 46 minutes while the Senate met for a total of two hours and 55 minutes.

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