Beacon Hill Attraction

THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records the votes of local MPs and Senators for the week of July 19-23.


House 156-3 approved and sent a bill in 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 House of Representatives Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, that would allow the Commission to issue licenses that would allow some veterans organizations to operate up to five slot machines.

Proponents said legalization will generate up to an estimated $ 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 the legalization of sports betting because this bill largely benefits monopolistic companies that operate online gambling platforms such as 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. ”

"Massachusetts has the ability to create employment opportunities and generate millions of tax dollars annually by legalizing an industry that already exists but on the black market and in other states," said House spokesman Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). "The House of Representatives passed laws that would make our state competitive in this industry where dozens of states already have a head start."

“I see the value in putting sports betting out of the shadows, but one of the goals of this bill is to get customers into casinos like the one next door in Everett – and the Somerville and Cambridge counties I represent have voted against casinos . "- so I think more needs to be done to address this impact," said MP Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge), who voted against the law. "Also, this bill will generate billions in corporate revenue from college-sport gambling – and this needs further investigation given the ongoing exploitation of college athletes. Legalized sports betting is likely inevitable in Massachusetts, but with this bill getting into the Senate, I hope more will be done to address these and other concerns. "

Rep. Dan Cahill (D-Lynn) gave a simple reason why he supports the law. "The most important thing is that it's just fun," said Cahill. "People can have fun and sports betting is fun."

(A “yes” vote is for legalized sports betting. A “no” vote is against.)

Rep. Donald Berthiaume Yes Rep. Natalie Blais Yes Rep. Daniel Carey Yes Rep. Mindy Domb Yes Rep. Jacob Oliveira Yes Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa Yes Rep. Todd Smola Yes Rep. Susannah Whipps Yes


House 159-0 approved an 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 owned businesses and small business owners.

"As we prepare to welcome another multi-billion dollar industry to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I humbly ask my colleagues … to join me in supporting and prioritizing diversity, justice and inclusion," said Rep. Orlando Ramos (D-Springfield.). ) in plenary during the debate. “Allowing casinos and existing online gambling 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 owned in Massachusetts from Black and Brown, and to me knowing that there are no big sports apps owned by Black and Brown. "

"You may also be wondering what a newbie from Springfield knows about sports betting?" Ramos continued. “And I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an expert on sports betting, but what I know and am very familiar with is what it's like to be a person of color. And I know what it's like to be left out of an opportunity. I learned early on that there are certain places where I am welcome and other places where I am not welcome. I humbly ask you to join me and make sure that we tell every Black and Brown business owner … and entrepreneur everywhere that they are welcome in this new industry and that we will not exclude them from this opportunity. This change does just that and is a step in the right direction to create new opportunities for colored businesses and open the door for them to thrive in this new space. "

(The amendment was voted "yes".)

Rep. Donald Berthiaume Yes Rep. Natalie Blais Yes Rep. Daniel Carey Yes Rep. Mindy Domb Yes Rep. Jacob Oliveira Yes Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa Yes Rep. Todd Smola Yes Rep. Susannah Whipps Yes


Senate 40-0, approved, and the House of Representatives approved and, after a no-call vote, sent a supplementary budget of $ 261.6 million for fiscal year 2021 to Governor Charlie Baker to help close the books for the June 30th Fiscal year to begin. 2021. An important provision extends through December 15, 2021, the practice of early voting by letter, which was introduced during the 2020 elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other provisions in the bill include $ 12.5 million to cover costs related to the implementation of last year's bill, which made significant 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 MBTA Board of Directors to replace the current steering and oversight body.

“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 for Ways and Means Senator Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport).

"The supplementary budget voting rules will allow cities and towns to offer safe and accessible choices this fall as we continue to work on their durability," said Rep. Dan Ryan, chairman of the Electoral Law Committee (D-Charlesstadt).

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 voting program by mail, 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 the statehouse and play with the process of changing the way elections are conducted, it will further undermine trust in our electoral system. "

"Instead of getting the Democrats to vote on this bill, MP (GOP minority leader in the House of Representatives) stood by Brad Jones, as he has always done, 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 postal 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 are massively counting 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 was on May 10, Massachusetts," 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 corresponds to the concerns of several municipalities to provide for a temporary extension until December 15th so that they can hold local elections this autumn on the same basis as municipalities with more flexibility elections on June 30th or earlier."

(A "yes" vote is in favor of the bill.)

Senator Joanne Comerford Yes Senator Adam Hinds Yes Senator Eric Lesser Yes

Also up on Beacon Hill

LOCAL OPTION OF 2 PERCENT TAX ON THE PURCHASE OF APARTMENTS FOR MORE THAN 1 MILLION. USD (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 must be approved by the city council in the cities and by the municipal assembly 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 with ultra-rich homebuyers crowding out lifelong residents and insufficient 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) another tax system that would impose an additional 2 percent tax on homes sold for over $ 1 million, a price that many properties and home buyers in the bay are paying just for appreciation State is closer to high cost of living, ”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 DIAPER CHANGE 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 Must have bathrooms. Proponents said examples include 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.). “When Josh and his wife were visiting a family restaurant with their one-year-old daughter, they discovered that the establishment had no changing table in both toilets. 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 FOR POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERS (H 2112) – The Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery Committee held a virtual hearing on a proposal to establish a 15-person special commission to investigate and investigate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including prevention and treatment of the disorder and an assessment of the effects of a PTSD diagnosis and treatment for access to health insurance, retirement benefits and disability benefits. The study would also include an investigation into 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 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 caught the deadly virus themselves. Our healthcare providers are now at high risk of PTSD. "

SPECIFY VEHICLE OWNERS DURING STATE INSPECTION RECALL MESSAGES (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.

"Ensuring that recalled vehicles are taken off the road and repaired is of the utmost importance to the driver and to our general public safety," 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. This legislation will ensure that vehicle owners receive this critical information in a timely manner and that recalled vehicles no longer operate in our community. "

LOTTERY FOR LOW MARKINGS – The Motor Vehicle Register (RMV) announced that it is now accepting applications for the lottery series for low number plates in 2021. This year's batch includes 200 low number plates. The lowest plates available are F1, P3, X6, 1H and 1Z. The highest license plate is 9987. In between there are dozen of 3-digit and 4-digit license plates.

Applications are only available online at The application deadline is August 27, 2021, the virtual drawing will take place on September 8, 2021.

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 human trafficking for the purpose of commercial and sexual exploitation of people. , including severe sentences ranging from 5 years to life imprisonment. It also provided protection for survivors and created a fund to benefit survivors, fed from assets of convicted human traffickers.

Montigny led the Bay State's efforts to stop this horror and had another huge hit this year. When Governor Charlie Baker signed the US $ 48.1 billion state budget in 2022, it contained Montigny's new law of 2021 that provides improved protection for victims of violent crime and human trafficking.

"Human trafficking remains an insidious problem across the Commonwealth and in the United States," said Montigny. “No community is immune from this criminal activity, and many victims are vulnerable women or children in our own neighborhoods with very little financial resources who have been lured into human trafficking with false promises of economic opportunity and prosperity. Victims and survivors, who also happen to be immigrants, face a double threat of abuse and deportation in retaliation from their trafficker if they try to report the crime to law enforcement agencies. "

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

Quotable quotes

“I remember what was going on on the streets in Massachusetts when we had happy hours, and there were some horrible, horrible, and horrific experiences that went along with happy hours on a regular basis. I know that will probably get me stuck in the mud to say something like that, but as a skeptic I would begin to go back to the way we did happy hours. "

Governor Baker on his opposition to laws reviving happy hour specials that cut the cost of alcoholic beverages in restaurants and bars at certain times. Bay State became the first state to ban happy hours in 1984 after several fatal alcoholic accidents were attributed to people overwhelmed during happy hours.

"There has to be a balance between the help you give to bars and restaurants and public safety, which is a real concern for a lot of people, but it's worth thinking about."

House spokesman Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) said he was open to discussion of lifting the 1984 Happy Hours ban, but he did not support or oppose the idea yet.

“We're losing money to every other state that sells these forms of fireworks, especially New Hampshire, where thousands of people buy their wares. With some oversight from the state through the passage of this law, we could educate people about the safety of using sparklers, thus reducing the injuries caused by the illegal use that is happening now.

Rep. Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) on his legislation that list of novel sparklers, including snakes, sparklers, fountains, cylindrical or conical fountains, that give off effects up to a height of no more than twelve feet from the ground Removing fireworks is currently banned in Massachusetts.

“As fire chiefs, we see the consequences and injuries associated with fireworks accidents. In 2019, sparklers were the number one cause of fireworks injuries in children under the age of five, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Do we have to say more? "

Michael Winn, President of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts, on his opposition to the removal of sparklers from the ban.

“I made a promise to the people of Massachusetts that the opioid crisis would be our top priority, that we would hold the bad actors accountable, and that the billion dollar corporations made rich from the suffering in our communities would pay. Today's announcement is another step forward in this work. This money will benefit every city and community in every part of our state … We will continue to pursue justice for the people who have been injured and secure resources for prevention, treatment and recovery. "

Attorney General Maura Healey on her successful $ 26 billion lawsuit, expected to go to Massachusetts $ 500 million, filed with other attorneys general across the country that will hold multiple companies accountable, including Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson & Johnson, who flooded Massachusetts with dangerous opioids.

Session last week

In the week of July 19-23, the House of Representatives met a total of nine hours and 58 minutes, while the Senate met a total of one hour and ten minutes.

Monday, July 19, house 11:04 am to 11:28 am; Senate 11:10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Tuesday, July 20, no house meeting, no Senate meeting

Wednesday, July 21, house 11:01 a.m. to 1:13 p.m. Senate 12:12 p.m. to 1:14 p.m.

Thursday, July 22nd, house 11 a.m. to 6:22 p.m.; Senate 12:19 p.m. to 12:22 p.m.

Friday, July 23rd, no house meeting, no Senate meeting

Bob Katzen welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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