Beacon Hill Roll Call, Dec. 18-22

By Bob Katzen

Beacon Hill Roll Call

Published: 12-29-2023 11:36 AM

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on the percentage of times local representatives voted with their party’s leadership in the 2023 session through Dec. 22.

The votes of the 2023 membership of 133 Democrats were compared to House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). The votes of the 2023 membership of 24 Republicans were compared with those of GOP House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).

Beacon Hill Roll Call uses 67 votes from the 2023 House session as the basis for this report. This includes all roll calls that were not quorum calls or votes on local issues.

Rep. Susannah Whipps (U-Athol) is unenrolled and not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic party. We based her voting record on how many times she voted differently than Democratic House Speaker Ron Mariano.

The percentage next to the representatve’s name represents the percentage of times the representative supported his or her party’s leadership so far in 2023 through Dec. 22. The number in parentheses represents the number of times the senator opposed his or her party’s leadership.

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Some representatives voted on all 67 roll call votes. Others missed one or more roll calls. The percentage for each representative is calculated based on the number of roll calls on which he or she voted.

Rep. Natalie Blais, 100 percent (0); Rep. Daniel Carey, 100 percent (0); Rep. Mindy Domb, 100 percent (0); Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, 100 percent (0); Rep. Aaron Saunders 98.5 percent (1); Rep. Susannah Whipps 97.0 percent (2)

ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL

IMPOUND VEHICLE OF DRUNK DRIVERS (H 1583) — The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill that would require that a driver’s car be impounded for not less than 12 hours following their arrest for operating under the influence, regardless of whether the arrestee has consented to a blood alcohol test. It would also require police officers to provide the designated person picking up the arrestee from the police station with a written explanation of the potential criminal and civil penalties they could face if they permit the arrestee to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Drunk driving remains a serious public safety problem in Massachusetts and across the country,” said sponsor House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading). “[The bill] provides additional tools to help law enforcement officials make our streets safer by keeping alcohol-impaired drivers off the road.”

VOLUNTEER BACKGROUND CHECKS (H 1622) — Another bill before the Judiciary Committee would give local law enforcement agencies the authority to obtain criminal offender record information (CORI), including sealed records, for people who volunteer at an organization primarily engaged in providing activities or programs to children 18 years of age or younger.

“Massachusetts General Law requires all organizations serving children under age 18 to obtain criminal offender record information before accepting any person as a volunteer,” said sponsor Rep. David Linsky (D-Natick). “However, many youth athletic leagues operate on limited budgets and struggle to meet the expenses associated with individually CORI checking every prospective volunteer. This legislation would allow local police departments to help ease the financial burden many organizations face when conducting these costly background checks. [This] is a common-sense bill that upholds the public interest of protecting children from dangerous criminals at no additional expense to taxpayers.”

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TOP 10 PERCENT OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE GRADUATES — UMass announced that the top 10 percent of the state’s future community college graduates will receive a minimum of $5,000 per year if they enroll at one of the four college campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell.

“We want to send a clear message that UMass welcomes highly talented community college graduates to continue their pursuit of a college degree on our nationally ranked Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “We believe this initiative will lead to more community college graduates choosing to finish their four-year degree at UMass which will accelerate their upward economic trajectory and strengthen the commonwealth’s workforce.”

JUNK FEES — A public hearing was held on Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s office’s recently proposed regulations cracking down on hidden junk fees. The proposed rules would require upfront total pricing of any items and services, disclosure about the nature and purpose of fees and taxes and make it easier for consumers to cancel trial offers and renewal fees.

“Comparable, complete and timely price information allows consumers to make the right personal choices for their pocketbooks while also leading to a more competitive marketplace,” said MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director, Deirdre Cummings. “For too long, we have watched as businesses have gradually stopped disclosing true prices in a practical or meaningful way. We have all experienced purchasing tickets, services, hotel rooms, subscriptions advertised at one price only to find the actual or final price is significantly more by the time we have to pay. This not only hurts our wallets but also harms businesses that truly are transparent and are disclosing total costs upfront, even though their prices look higher compared to the deceptive incomplete lower prices.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES

“Mass Department of Transportation is excited to be taking this step toward a brighter future for our environment and for ourselves with the installation of a state-wide network of reliable fast-charging stations for electric vehicles. Fast-charging stations at convenient locations along major roads will absolutely lead to reduced air pollution, fewer gas-guzzling cars on our roads, and a willingness by people to make smarter choices which will help combat climate change.”

— Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt reaching out to vendors to establish a network of reliable fast charging stations for electric vehicles on state roadways.

“For years, Google has harmed consumers and app developers alike by restricting consumer’s choices for app stores, downloads and payment methods on Android devices. Our settlement helps impacted consumers and requires Google to reform its anticompetitive business practices. My office will continue to protect consumers and ensure that businesses can fairly compete in the digital economy.”

— Attorney General Andrea Campbell, as part of a group of 52 other attorneys general, announcing a $700 million agreement with Google in their lawsuit over Google’s anticompetitive conduct with the Google Play Store. In addition to restitution to consumers, Massachusetts will receive more than $1.4 million in penalties as part of the settlement agreement.

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com