The Recorder – Beacon Hill Roll Call: September 19 to September 23, 2022


There were no roll calls in the House and Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports the number of times each Rep sided with Governor Charlie Baker on his 37 vetoes over mostly state budget items in the 2021-22 session.

A two-thirds vote is required to override a governor’s veto. In a full 160-member House, the governor needs the support of 54 representatives to maintain veto power when all 160 representatives vote — and fewer votes when some members are absent or a seat is vacant. Baker fell short of this goal as 36 votes was the most support he received on any veto. The House easily overruled all 37 vetoes, including six that were overruled unanimously.

It was mostly the 27 GOP members who voted with the Republican governor to uphold the vetoes, but no Republican representative voted with Baker 100% of the time.

The three GOP members who voted the most with Baker are Representative Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, 30 times (81.0%); Donald Berthiaume, R-Spencer, who voted with Baker 28 times (75.6%); and GOP Minority Leader Brad Jones, R-North Reading, who voted with Baker 27 times (72.9%).

The four GOP members who least backed Baker were Reps. Hannah Kane, R-Shrewsbury, and David Vieira, R-Falmouth, both of whom voted with Baker just 20 times (54.0%); and Reps. Marc Lombardo, R-Billerica, and Joseph McKenna, R-Webster, who both voted with Baker just 21 times (56.7%).

The vetoes had little support among the 125 Democrats in the House. One hundred and fourteen (91.2%) of them did not once support the governor. Of the other 11 Democrats, the three who voted the most with Baker were Rep. Michael Moran, D-Brighton, who voted with Baker four times (10.8%); and Chris Markey, D-Dartmouth, and David Robertson, D-Tewksbury, who both voted with Baker twice (5.4%).

The percentage next to the representative’s name represents the percentage of times he or she supported Baker. The number in parentheses represents the actual number of times the representative supported Baker.

Rep. Natalie Blais — 0% (0)

Representative Paul Mark — 0% (0)

Representative Susannah Whipps — 2.7% (1)

Also on Beacon HillProtect pedestrians, cyclists (H 5103)

Governor Baker has proposed amendments to a bill, recently sent by the Legislative Assembly, which aims to protect “vulnerable road users”, which include pedestrians, construction workers, emergency responders , cyclists, skateboarders, roller skaters and wheelchair users.

“(The bill) strengthens road safety rules, makes our roads safer and takes essential steps to save lives and reduce crashes that put people unnecessarily at risk,” said patron Christine Barber, D- Somerville, when the House approved the bill. on September 12 and sent it to the governor. “By focusing on improving protections for pedestrians and cyclists, the Commonwealth is positioning itself as a leader in road user safety and promoting alternative modes of transport.”

A key provision requires drivers, when passing a vulnerable user, to pass a safe distance of at least 3 feet when the vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour or less, and an additional clearance for every 10 miles per hour that the vehicle is traveling more than 30 miles per hour.

Baker said the passing distance formula presents enforcement and messaging challenges that would undermine the goal of a clearly understood and enforceable standard.

“This bill would establish a sliding scale of passing distances based on the speed of motor vehicles, which would be confusing for motorists and difficult for local police to enforce,” Baker said, proposing an amendment instead. which would establish a consistent distance of three feet. requirement.

Other provisions of the measure include establishing a process to lower the default speed limit to 25 mph on interstates and state parkways in densely populated or business districts; requiring higher visibility mirrors and side guards on certain state-owned, state-operated, and state-contracted trucks; and the creation of a uniform reporting tool for accidents involving a pedestrian or a cyclist.

Baker said he supports several elements of the bill, including requiring some state vehicles to use high-visibility mirrors and side guards. Regarding the section creating a uniform reporting tool for accidents involving a pedestrian or cyclist, Baker said that there was already an online reporting platform available to the public and that the new section was not necessary.

Baker’s amendments are now before the House for consideration.

Bills on education sent to study committees

Several bills affecting public schools and education have been sent to a study committee where bills are rarely considered and are essentially defeated. It’s a way to kill a proposal without holding a vote on the bill itself. Here are some of the education bills that have been sent to a study committee:

Commission on the teaching of geography at school (H 703): Create an eight-member commission to study and investigate the status of geography education in public schools and make recommendations on how to improve it.

“Broadening knowledge of geography is more than just knowing where things are on a map,” said sponsor representative Todd Smola, R-Warren, who plans to reintroduce the bill next year. next. “It helps to improve our understanding of issues at home and around the world. Global issues also have a huge impact on what happens to us in our own country. A greater focus on teaching geography will benefit all students across the Commonwealth.

“It’s always disappointing to see a good bill sent for consideration,” Smola continued. “I also recognize that establishing a commission to study any issue is a major undertaking that the Legislature takes seriously. The hope is that there is room for expansion in Massachusetts history and social science frameworks for greater geography education. If we can get there without the need for a legislative study, I’m all for it.

Teaching personal finance in schools (H 578): Would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and assist in the implementation of a personal finance curriculum to equip students with the knowledge to become self-reliant and enable them to make decisions about their finances personal. Components of the program would include understanding lending, borrowing money, interest, credit card debt and e-commerce; rights and responsibilities associated with renting or buying a home; save, invest and plan for retirement; banking and financial services; balance a checkbook; state and federal taxes; and charitable donations.

Advocates say schools should teach these practical skills because by the time students graduate from high school, they don’t have this practical knowledge that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Sponsor Peter Durant’s rep, R-Spencer, did not respond to Beacon Hill Roll Call’s repeated requests for comment.

Media culture (H 688): Would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to integrate media literacy skills into all health and basic curriculum content for K-12 students. Media literacy is defined in the bill as the consumption and production of media, digital products and communication technologies of all kinds, including news in print, television, radio, film , music, video games, websites, advertisements, content posted on social media platforms, artificial intelligence, algorithms, virtual reality and surveillance systems. It encompasses the core competencies of digital citizenship and internet safety “including standards of appropriate, responsible, ethical and healthy behavior and the prevention of cyberbullying, and the ability to recognize biases, stereotypes, portrayal and lack of inclusion in media messages”.

Proponents say that the media has grown and developed in many directions and that students should be well educated in its many aspects.

Sponsor representative David Rogers, D-Cambridge, did not respond to repeated requests from the Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him to comment on his bill and defeat.

Require students to disclose why they chose a school outside their municipality (H 704): Under current law, students can apply through the School Choice program to be allowed to attend a school outside of the community where they live. Participation in the program is limited to 2% of all registered public school students. Each district decides if it will participate in this program. For the 2021-2022 school year, 170 (or 53%) of Massachusetts’ total districts elected to participate in the program. Tuition fees are paid by the sending district to the receiving district.

The bill would require such students and their parents or guardians to meet with school administrators to discuss reasons for wanting to leave the district.

Proponents say it doesn’t change the curriculum, just adds another reasonable requirement for students applying to attend a school outside their district.

Sponsor Todd Smola’s rep, R-Warren, did not respond to Beacon Hill Roll Call’s repeated attempts to contact him for comment on his bill and defeat.


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