Athol Every day Information – Beacon Hill Attraction: July 19 to July 23, 2021

Beacon Hill Roll Call records the votes of local officials and senators for the week of July 19 through July 23.

Legalize sports betting (H 3977)

The House, 156 to 3, approved and sent a bill to the Senate that would legalize sports betting on professional and college sports for Massachusetts residents over the age of 21. The wagering would be regulated by the Gaming Commission, the same commission that regulates the state's casino gambling. The commission would grant personal licenses in casinos, racetracks and simulcast racing facilities, as well as mobile licenses, to enable businesses to take bets online. The measure includes a 12.5 percent tax on personal betting and a 15 percent tax on mobile betting.

The move includes an amendment sponsored by Rep. Paul McMurtry, D-Dedham, Chairman of the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, that would allow the commission to issue licenses that would allow some veterans organizations to use up to five slot machines to operate.

Proponents said legalization will generate up to $ 60 million in tax revenue annually, as well as up to $ 70 to $ 80 million in initial royalties that must be renewed every five years. They found that the revenue was distributed to cities and towns and used for economic, labor, education and health programs.

"Massachusetts people are passionate about their sport," said Rep. Jerry Parisella, D-Beverly, chairman of the House of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “This bill will allow residents to bet on their favorite teams, but in an orderly manner that encourages responsible gaming while bringing in revenue to the Commonwealth that is currently going to our neighboring states or to illegal online operators and bookmakers. This law was drafted after laws in other states were reviewed and consulted with industry experts, and best practices were incorporated into that legislation. "

"I voted against legalizing sports betting because this bill largely benefits monopolistic companies that operate online gambling platforms like Draft Kings by further increasing their profits," said MEP Erika Uyterhoeven, D-Somerville. “This bill is another example of the state legislature putting the interests of corporate lobbyists before the needs of their voters. With all of the fighting Massachusetts voters are facing 16 months after the pandemic began, it is absurd that this bill was a legislature priority this summer. ”

A "yes" is for legalized sports betting.

Rep Natalie Blais – Yes

Rep Paul Mark – Yes

Rep Susannah Whipps – Yes

Diversity, Justice and Inclusion (H 3977)

The House of Representatives approved a 159-0 point amendment to a section of the Sports Betting Act that provides for a Gambling Commission study on the possibility of allowing retail locations in the state to operate sports betting kiosks. The amendment requires the Commission to include in the study the economic impact of allowing this method of sports betting on businesses owned by black people; Recommendations to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are included in this method of sports betting; and a requirement that the commission consult retailers, convenience stores, restaurants, women and minority businesses and small business owners.

“As we prepare to welcome another multi-billion dollar industry to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I humbly ask my fellow Members… Springfield, in the Chamber during the debate. “Allowing casinos and existing online gaming apps to monopolize yet another multi-billion dollar industry will only help widen the wealth and income gap because I'm sure there are no casinos in Massachusetts Black and Brown owned, and to my knowledge "There aren't any big Black and Brown owned sports apps."

The amendment was voted “yes”.

Rep Natalie Blais – Yes

Rep Paul Mark – Yes

Rep Susannah Whipps – Yes

$ 261.6 million supplementary budget (H 3973)

The Senate approved 40 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved and sent a supplementary budget of $ 261.6 million for fiscal 2021 to Governor Charlie Baker to begin closing the books for the past fiscal year on June 30. A key provision extends the early postal voting practice, introduced during the 2020 elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to December 15.

Other provisions in the bill include $ 12.5 million to cover costs related to the implementation of last year's bill, which made major changes to the state's police force; $ 27.9 million for one-time payments of $ 525 to $ 580 per child to families receiving Transitional Allowance for Families with Dependent Children; $ 13 million for National Guard activations, including activations related to COVID-19; $ 7.8 million to increase the home health insurance rate; $ 5.4 million for the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers' Homes for pandemic-related expenses; and the establishment of a new board of directors for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to replace the current Fiscal Management and Control Board.

“This budget allows us to pay our bills and meet time sensitive needs while addressing the immediate challenges facing our community by investing in our youth, helping vulnerable families, and meeting our funding obligations to ensure timely implementation of the Police Reform Act . Said Senate Chairman Mike Rodrigues, D-Westport.

The measure was approved in Parliament during an informal session during which there can be no name calls, but only one member interrupts the procedure if there is anything they disagree with. Any representative who opposed the postal extension vote or any other part of the bill could have objected to the inclusion of the measure and postponed its review to a formal meeting where a roll-call vote could take place. But nobody did.

Although no legislature in plenary spoke out against the extension or the entire bill, there were critics after the vote in the House of Representatives. The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance said that "key directives that should fundamentally change the way Massachusetts elections should go through the scrutiny of normal legislative process and should not be bundled into an independent bill with little public transparency."

"Even without the pandemic-induced postal voting program, the current law allows any voter who cannot vote in person on election day to request and vote for a postal vote," added the group's spokesman, Paul Craney. “Massachusetts still has several weeks to vote in advance. There is simply no reason to potentially send millions of ballots out in the mail, which increases the margin for error. As the legislature continues to lock down the State House and toy with the process of changing the way elections are conducted, it will further undermine confidence in our electoral system. "

"Instead of getting the Democrats to vote on this legislation, MP (GOP minority leader in the House of Representatives) stood by Brad Jones, as he has done time and again, and done nothing," said the Massachusetts Republican Party leader , Jim Lyon. “The GOP has to stand up and be an effective opposition party. Anyone with even minor concerns about mail-in voting should be outraged by this maneuver. Election integrity is one of the most important issues in America right now, and based on our experience with Boston election officials who massively under-counted votes in 2020, our concerns are 100 percent legitimate. "

"Chairman Lyons appears to have forgotten or diverted the referral of his campaign funding activities to the Attorney General for investigation to acknowledge that the entire Republican caucus of the House of Representatives on Massachusetts 10," replied Rep. Jones. “Introducing such a significant change to our electoral law will have far-reaching implications and deserves energetic debate and scrutiny by the House and Senate. The final wording of the supplementary budget is very narrow and only reflects the concerns of several municipalities about a temporary extension until December 15, so that they have more flexibility in holding local elections this fall on the same basis as the municipalities with elections on December 30th June or earlier. "

A "yes" is for the bill.

Senator Joanne Comerford – Yes

Senator Anne Gobi – Yes

Senator Adam Hinds – Yes

Also Beacon HillTax on home purchases for more than $ 1 million (2895 H)

The Revenue Committee held a virtual hearing on laws that would allow cities and towns to collect a fee of up to 2 percent on homebuyers buying homes for more than $ 1 million. The funds would be "used to create and maintain affordable housing in municipalities for the benefit of low- and middle-income households or to finance community housing".

The tax requires the approval of the city council in the cities and the voters of the town meetings in the cities. The tax would only be levied on the amount over $ 1 million. Municipalities would also have the option to raise the threshold from $ 1 million to a higher amount and / or lower the tax to any percentage.

"Massachusetts is in the midst of a deeply priceless housing crisis where ultra-rich homebuyers are crowding out lifelong residents and there aren't enough units to accommodate working families," said bill sponsor Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth. "This bill gives municipalities the ability to collect a small fee from the ultra-rich who buy luxury homes and real estate to fund affordable housing across the state and create a lasting solution to our housing crisis."

“(This bill is) yet another tax system that would impose an additional 2 percent tax on homes sold for over $ 1 million, a price that would be charged to many properties and home buyers in the high cost of living in the high cost of living state of Bay, simply because of the appreciation in the market State is getting closer, ”said Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “When is enough? I very much doubt it will ever be that long before voters re-elect the same politicians. "

Mandatory changing stations (S 2035)

The state administrative and oversight committee held a virtual hearing on a bill requiring that all new and thoroughly renovated buildings "that are reasonably expected to be open to the public", regardless of gender, have at least one changing table in bathrooms need to have. Examples are grocery stores, movie theaters, restaurants, and retail stores.

"This bill was drafted in collaboration with my constituent Josh Polonsky," said sponsor Senator Brendan Crighton, D-Lynn. “While visiting a family restaurant with his one-year-old daughter, Josh and his wife found that there was no changing table in either bathroom. We hope this bill will help eliminate parents having to go out with their child to worry about finding a safe and clean place to change their child's diaper, and their baby's diaper on their lap, benches, or that to change dirty bathroom floor. "

Special Commission on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (H 2112)

The Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Committee held a virtual hearing on a proposal to set up a 15-person commission to investigate and investigate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including prevention and treatment of the disorder and an assessment of the effects of PTSD Diagnosis and treatment through access to health insurance, retirement benefits and disability benefits. The study would also include an investigation into the subject of PTSD in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The need to consider services, treatments, policies, and programs related to PTSD … is even more urgent as we tentatively prepare for a long recovery from the (COVID-19) pandemic," said sponsor Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian, D-Melrose. “Among those who have suffered the most are our health care heroes, neighbors who have been on the front lines and tirelessly battled the disease day after day. In their professional roles, these individuals have experienced unprecedented suffering and death. Often they were the only people who were with the dying residents in their final hours, as family and friends were not allowed to visit. Many have infected themselves with the deadly virus. Our healthcare providers are now at high risk of PTSD. "

Recall reports to vehicle owners during state controls (S 245)

The Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee held a virtual hearing on a move that requires Massachusetts vehicle inspection facilities to notify vehicle owners of any manufacturer recalls of their vehicle as part of the inspection process. The notice would inform the vehicle owner that the manufacturer will remedy the defect free of charge and, with a few exceptions, the vehicle registration will not be extended by the state as long as the defect has not been remedied.

"It is of the utmost importance to the driver and to our general public safety that vehicles that have been recalled are taken off the road and repaired," said sponsor Sen. John Velis, D-Westfield. "The inspection process is a clear opportunity to alert vehicle owners to possible recalls and defects in their vehicle before traffic accidents occur."

Lottery for low license plates

The Motor Vehicle Register (RMV) is now accepting applications for the Low Number Number Plate Lottery 2021. This year's batch includes 200 low number plates. The lowest plates available are F1, P3, X6, 1H and 1Z. The highest number plate is 9987. In between there are dozen of three- and four-digit number plates.

Applications are available online at The application deadline is August 27th, the virtual drawing will take place on September 8th.

Before the lottery was founded a few years ago, these license plates were given away under the old-school system of giving numbers to "well-connected" drivers.

Protection for victims of human trafficking

Senator Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, tabled the country's first comprehensive anti-trafficking law in 2005. Success came in 2011 when the legislature passed a law and the governor signed a law criminalizing trafficking for the commercial and sexual exploitation of people. including severe sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment. It also provided protection for survivors and created a fund for the benefit of survivors, fed from assets of convicted human traffickers.

Montigny led the Massachusetts effort to stop this horror and had another successful attempt this year. When Governor Charlie Baker raised the state budget for FY2022 to $ 48.1 billion.

"This protection for victims and survivors is long overdue," said Montigny. “We know from conversations with lawyers and community partners that this type of violence flourished during the pandemic, which resulted in severe financial pressure, family illnesses, increased demands in the workplace and increasing isolation. I hope that our actions under this budget will provide improved access to the resources and protection necessary to avoid such abuse, especially at a time when immigrants have been the target of intense scare-mongering and attack in our political discourse . "