Beacon Hill Roll Call, Sept. 18-22

Published: 10/1/2023 7:35:02 PM
Modified: 10/1/2023 7:34:05 PM

THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week.

This week’s report is on the latest fundraising and expenditure numbers for the state’s 40 senators’ campaign committees from the latest filing period of Aug. 1-31. It also includes how much money each senator has on hand as of Aug. 31. The numbers are from the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

To get more information and details on any senator’s fundraising and expenditures, go to Click on “Filer listing” under “Browse candidates” and then type the name of your senator in the box that says “Filter by name” in the upper left-hand corner of the page.

The senator with the most cash on hand is Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) who currently has $787,702.35 in his campaign account.

Rounding out the top 10 senators with the most cash on hand are Sens. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) $754,817.96; Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) $459,883.21; Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) $347,117.88; Julian Cyr (D-Truro) $231,304.78; James Eldridge (D-Marlborough) $210,334.29; William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) $205,110.65; Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) $202,580.87; Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) $145,572.56; and Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) $144,815.87.

The senator with the least cash on hand is former Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) whose campaign account currently has a balance of $0.

Rounding out the bottom ten senators with the least cash on hand are Sens. Pavel Payano (D-Lawrence) $41.15; Liz Miranda (D-Boston) $1,152.83; John Cronin (D-Lunenburg) $2,530.57; Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough) $15,236.10; Robyn Kennedy (D-Worcester) $15,693.29; Jacob Oliveira (D-Ludlow) $16,580.45; Michael Brady (D-Brockton) $26,532.35; John Keenan (D-Quincy) $31,315.43; and Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury) $34,449.93.

The senator who raised the most money is Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) who raised $51,632.99.

Rounding out the top 10 senators who raised the most money are Sens. Julian Cyr (D-Truro) $51,117.81; Susan Moran (D-Falmouth) $14,610.96; Nick Collins (D-Boston) $8,236.70; John Velis (D-Westfield) $4,450.00; Paul Mark (D-Becket) $2,894.71; Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough) $2,874.01; Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) $2,467.75; Rebecca Rausch (D-Needham) $2,176.32 and Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) $1,391.08.

There are seven senators who raised $0 each: Cynthia Creem (D-Newton); Anne Gobi (D-Spencer); Adam Gomez (D-Springfield); Edward Kennedy (D-Lowell); Jacob Oliveira (D-Ludlow); Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and Pavel Payano (D-Lawrence).

The senator who spent the most money is Sen. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) who spent $28,449.94.

Rounding out the top 10 senators who spent the most money are Sens. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) $22,144.30; Nick Collins (D-Boston) $11,140.85; Julian Cyr (D-Truro) $7,965.65; Paul Mark (D-Becket) $6,211.24; Lydia Edwards (D-Boston) $5,038.83; Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) $3,850.20; Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) $3,468.58; James Eldridge (D-Marlborough) $2,811.80; and Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) $2,769.22.

The senator who spent the least amount of money is Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Lowell) who spent $0.

Rounding out the top 10 senators who spent the least money are Sens. Michael Brady (D-Brockton) $60.00; Pavel Payano (D-Lawrence) $97.74; Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) $130.94; Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) $135.08; Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) $228.72; Adam Gomez (D-Springfield) $376.30; Jacob Oliveira (D-Ludlow) $442.44; John Keenan (D-Quincy) $457.00; and Robyn Kennedy (D-Worcester) $633.12.

Local senators: Here is the total amount of cash your local senators have on hand as of Aug. 31.

Sen. Joanne Comerford $58,012.19; Sen. Paul Mark $39,067.23; Sen. Jacob Oliveira $16,580.45; Sen. John Velis $52,203.88

Here is the total amount of money your local senators raised in August.

Sen. Joanne Comerford $980.46; Sen. Paul Mark $2,894.71; Sen. Jacob Oliveira $0; Sen. John Velis $4,450.00

Here is the total amount of money your local senators spent in August.

Sen. Joanne Comerford $763.18; Sen. Paul Mark; $6,211.24; Sen. Jacob Oliveira $442.44; Sen. John Velis $2,662,52


HOUSE AND SENATE AGREE ON TAX RELIEF PACKAGE — House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) announced in a press release that the House and Senate conference committee has finalized a compromise version of a tax relief package. The House and Senate months ago approved different tax relief packages. The Senate’s package would cost the state about $590 million annually, while the House’s would cost close to $1.1 billion. No details were released about the new package.

“In an effort to provide meaningful financial relief to the commonwealth’s residents and businesses, we are thrilled to announce that an agreement has been reached in principle that reconciles the differences between the House and Senate tax relief packages,” said the statement. “We look forward to filing and taking up the conference report next week, which responsibly implements our shared goal of making Massachusetts more affordable, equitable, and competitive.”

“As I’ve said from day one, tax relief is essential for making Massachusetts more affordable, competitive and equitable,” responded Gov. Maura Healey. “I’m pleased that the Legislature has taken this step and look forward to delivering urgently needed tax relief to Massachusetts residents and businesses.”

The lack of details thus far has led to some criticism.

“The public is told that they’ve come to agreed terms, but they haven’t released any details and plan to vote on it next week,” said Paul Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “This process should be occurring out in the open, not behind closed doors like it has for the majority of the last two years. Unfortunately, the basic tenets of openness, transparency and good government are anathema to Beacon Hill leaders.”

HEALEY BANS STATE AGENCIES FROM BUYING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BOTTLES — Gov. Healey announced an executive order that, effective immediately, will prohibit state agencies from buying single-use plastic bottles. Healey noted that this historic move will make the Bay State the first state in the nation to implement this type of ban.

“We know that plastic waste and plastic production are among the leading threats to our oceans, our climate and environmental justice,” said Healey. “In government, we have an obligation — we also have an opportunity — to not only stop contributing to this damage, but to chart a better path forward. In our coastal state, we know climate change is our biggest threat. We also believe that taking action is our greatest opportunity, an opportunity to secure a safe, prosperous and sustainable future.”

“We applaud Gov. Healey’s announcement, which shifts our state’s focus on plastics from recycling waste to reducing waste,” said MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz. “While recycling is better than just throwing things out, after several decades it’s clear that we cannot recycle our way out of the mess we are in. Recent studies and reports show that it is next to impossible to recycle plastic.”

She continued, “Massachusetts sends to landfills or incinerates almost six million tons of waste each year. Reducing single-use plastics would reduce that waste and the commonwealth’s new commitment to use fewer water bottles is an important step towards zero waste in Massachusetts.”

HUNGER ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES (S 835) — The Higher Education Committee held a hearing on legislation that would create the Hunger-free Campus Grant Program to provide funding to address food insecurity among college students at the state’s public universities.

“Thirty-seven percent of public college students are food insecure, with a disproportionate impact on Black, Latin, LGBTQ students and student parents,” said sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “However, only 20 percent are enrolled in SNAP. The Hunger-Free Campus legislation creates a grant program to support college campuses in taking steps toward ending food insecurity. Initiatives funded through the grant program can include notifying students about eligibility for federal food assistance like SNAP or WIC and establishing on-campus EBT/SNAP vendors or meal-sharing programs. No one should have to choose between furthering their education and being able to feed themselves or their families. By fighting hunger insecurity on our public college campuses we can remove barriers to graduation for low-income students and help them secure a brighter future.”

FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION (H 1265, S 823) — Another bill heard by the Higher Education Committee would make it the policy of the state to guarantee free public higher education as a right for all residents, including undocumented ones. The measure would create a grant program to pay the equivalent of tuition and mandatory fees to an eligible student at any Massachusetts public college or university, or certificate, vocational or training program at a public institution.

“I want to emphasize that making college free is critical to strengthening our democracy, at a time when threats nationwide to our democracy are at a peak,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Marlborough). “Giving young people the opportunity to build upon their roots and experiences in the community they grew up, by going to college without financial insecurities, plays a critical role in the development of young people as they become active citizens and contribute to the world in a way that makes the fabric of Massachusetts society stronger.”

“As a proud first-generation college student (I graduated from Umass Amherst in 2009), I want to ensure all Massachusetts residents have access to public higher education,” said House sponsor Rep. Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster). “In Massachusetts, you’re more likely to take on student debt, and in higher amounts, if you attend a public college/university rather than a private college/university. Massachusetts cannot afford to wait to address the affordability challenges of public higher education, and this legislation will help to address many of the workforce challenges we’re facing, across education, healthcare and human services.”

NONOPIOD PAIN RELIEF (H 1962) — The Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Committee held a hearing on legislation that would require the Department of Public Health to develop and publish on its website an educational pamphlet regarding the use of nonopioid alternatives for the treatment of pain.

Provisions include requiring the pamphlet to include information on available nonopioid alternatives; the advantages and disadvantages of nonopioid alternatives; requiring health care practitioners to inform patients in hospitals, emergency care departments and hospice care for whom they intend to administer anesthesia involving the use of an opioid drug, to inform the patient and/or their representative, of nonopioid alternatives and their advantages and disadvantages.

“Over the last two decades the use of opioids as a pain medicine has resulted in unprecedented cases of addiction and overdose,” said sponsor Rep. Jim Arciero (D-Westford). “In order to give an alternative to their direct use, this legislation will offer information to patients about potential non-opioid treatments for pain control. I believe this legislation will provide individuals with greater choices in making their personal medical decisions which can impact their own future, their families and society.”

REQUIRE WARNING LABEL (H 1968) — Another measure before the Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Committee would require pharmacists filling a written, electronic or oral prescription for an opiate to affix to the container a label with a clear, concise warning that the opiates dispensed can cause dependence, addiction and overdose.

“Nearly 50 percent of opioid dependence originates with prescribed opioid painkillers,” said sponsor Rep. Peter Capano (D-Lynn). “While the state hasn’t released final numbers for overdose deaths in 2022, some of Massachusetts’ biggest cities say they’ve seen an uptick in fatal overdoses. Warning labels won’t solve the opioid addiction crisis but it is one tool mixed with other strategies that would help combat this epidemic.”

MARIJUANA AND FIRST RESPONDERS (S 48) — The Cannabis Policy Committee held a hearing on a proposal that would require the Cannabis Control Commission and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to study and report to the Legislature on the barriers that first responders face about their legal right to use cannabis.

“As we move away from cannabis prohibition, we should ensure we do not hold on to pre-existing, bias-driven bans,” said sponsor Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “I filed … [the measure] to investigate the existing barriers to first responders’ legal right to use cannabis a first responders are asked to perform difficult jobs. The bill would also explore the effectiveness of cannabis in treating anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD and other traumas.”


“We respectfully urge the United States Congress to act expeditiously to enact legislation relative to comprehensive immigration reform and, in doing so, help resolve the dual crises of a dysfunctional immigration system and a rapidly devolving domestic workforce shortage.”
   — From a letter from 65 state legislators to President Joe Biden and members of Congress.

“The commonwealth is committed to supporting health care providers who deliver health care services that meet the needs of high-risk communities and populations where they are. Not only do these community health centers provide critical care to families and individuals that would otherwise have limited access to services, but these climate resilience projects also reflect the community health canters’ commitment to healthy communities.”

— Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh announcing $20 million in grants awarded to community health centers to support capital projects that address the intersection between climate change and a person’s health.

“We are in the middle of a crisis in both health disparities and health care workforce retention. We can’t effectively address either of these crises without specific, current data to inform actionable policy decisions.”

— Dr. Ellana Stinson, New England Medical Association President testifying in support of legislation to address physician diversity and health disparities by mandating that licensed healthcare facilities collect and submit demographic data on physicians and physicians-in-training to the state.

“The funding provided through the Urban and Community Forestry program is critical for these cities and towns to address some of their most pressing needs around public health, workforce development and climate resiliency through increasing access to green space. The commonwealth looks forward to continuing our aggressive pursuit of federal funding opportunities that will deliver for communities all across Massachusetts.”

— Director of Federal Funds and Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey announcing that several Bay State communities will receive more than $22 million in funding from the USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat and climate change and improve access to nature in communities across the country.

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