THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records the votes of local senators and representatives from the week of July 22-26.
$43.1 BILLION FISCAL YEAR 2020 STATE BUDGET(H 4000)
House 159-0, Senate 39-1, approved and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker the conference committee compromise version of a $43.1 billion fiscal 2020 state budget. Baker has 10 days to sign the budget and to veto sections of it. It would take a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override vetoes. The conference committee version was hammered out after the House and Senate each approved different budgets. The package raises spending by $1.6 billion, or 4 percent over fiscal 2019.
“The strategic investments that are made in this budget reflect the shared priorities of the Legislature,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston). “By incorporating the input from our colleagues, this document has been made stronger. I am proud that key services in the areas of education, housing, homelessness and the environment will see significant funding increases in this budget.”
“This consensus fiscal year 2020 budget strikes a balance between maintaining fiscal responsibility and making targeted investments that benefit our commonwealth’s economic well-being,” said Senate Ways and Means Chair Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport).
“I was the sole vote against the acceptance of the conference committee report because I was concerned the report’s language on offshore wind procurement left key terms undefined,” said Sen. Mark Pacheco (D-Taunton). “I brought my concerns to the Senate floor and I hope the administration was listening. The conference committee report also did not contain language for the reauthorization of simulcasting, which will end at the close of business on July 31st. Despite my concerns about the conference committee report, however, I was proud to vote along with my colleagues unanimously in favor of enacting the budget because the citizens of Massachusetts depend on the resources it provides for public education, local aid, and countless other vital functions and services.”
Beacon Hill Roll Call notes that there actually was not a roll call that was unanimous on the enactment (final approval) of the budget. Enactment was approved by a voice vote.
(A “Yes” vote is for the budget. A “No” vote is against it.)
Rep. Jennifer Benson, Yes; Rep. Sheila Harrington, Yes; Sen. James Eldridge, Yes; Sen. Edward Kennedy, Yes; Sen. Dean Tran, Yes
AMENDMENT TO ALLOWING UNIONS TO CHARGE NON-UNION MEMBERS FOR SOME COSTS (S 2273)
House 29-128, Senate 5-34, rejected Gov. Charlie Baker’s amendments to a House and Senate-passed bill that would allow public sector unions to charge non-members for the cost of some services and representation. The bill was filed as a response to the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public employees cannot be forced to pay fees or dues to a union to which he or she does not belong. Freedom of speech advocates hailed the decision while labor advocates said it was an unjust attack on unions.
In his message to the Legislature, Baker said his amendments would protect the privacy rights of public employees and correct statutory inconsistencies.
“Although a portion of this bill addresses issues raised in the Janus decision … other provisions in the bill go beyond what the Janus decision required,” said Baker in a message to the Legislature. “These provisions would jeopardize the privacy rights of public employees and prevent the commonwealth and public sector unions from negotiating certain terms and conditions of employment.”
“The House and Senate engaged in a serious debate regarding the substance of the governor’s amendments, and ultimately decided on a bipartisan basis to overwhelmingly support language which did not include them,” said Rep. Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose). “Ensuring that we do everything we can in Massachusetts to protect workers’ rights continues to be a top priority. I’m eager to have these worker protections become law.”
“The governor tried to strike a balance,” said Paul Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which was in favor. “House and Senate leaders unfortunately didn’t want to cooperate with those who raised serious privacy concerns. We are hopeful the governor will veto the legislation, it’s the only appropriate response at this point.”
(A “Yes” vote is for Baker’s amendments. A “No” vote is against them.)
Rep. Jennifer Benson, No; Rep. Sheila Harrington, Yes; Sen. James Eldridge, No; Sen. Edward Kennedy, No; Sen. Dean Tran, Yes
$1.3 BILLION FOR GREENWORKS (H 3987)
House 158-0, approved and sent to the Senate the GreenWorks Bill which invests $1.3 billion in resiliency, clean energy and energy efficiency to shrink the state’s carbon footprint. The proposal establishes a $1 billion grant program for cities and towns to fund clean energy, energy efficiency and climate change measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions, fortify infrastructure and reduce municipal costs.
“The GreenWorks program is going to support economic development opportunities throughout Massachusetts by helping our cities and towns adopt Massachusetts-made clean energy technology and provide jobs through green infrastructure projects,” said Rep. Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House chair of the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture. “[The bill] will help the Berkshires and our entire commonwealth save money and leave more resources for other priorities such as schools, first responders, roads and bridges.”
“GreenWorks was meant to be, and is, broad and very flexible,” said Rep. Tom Golden (D-Lowell), chairman of the Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy and the bill’s chief sponsor “It is to allow each community to identify their problems and use GreenWorks dollars to solve their issues and their problems.”
“They care about their taxes, they care about their roads, they care about many things,” said Rep. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers) during the debate. “But when you ask them or when I’m asked in my district or here what are people talking about, they’re talking about the changes in our climate and the effects — and all in the negative, In the last month we have been barraged to a point like never in our lifetime — people fearful of going to the beaches, people fearful of their summer homes, they’re fearful of their own property — and each and every year we spend more time recouping from the damages.