Page 16 THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – Friday, March 1, 2019 Supporters said many committee Beacon Hill Roll Call By Bob Katzen THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives' votes on roll calls from January 30. All roll calls are on proposed changes to House rules. There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week. Hey Readers: Keep your eyes on the 2019 Legislature and the rough and tumble political scene in the Bay State with something that you will read every weekday morning. There aren’t many things out there that are free and valuable. But MASSterlist is a rarity. WHAT IS MASSTERLIST? More than 15,000 people, from movers and shakers to political junkies and interested citizens, start their morning with a FREE COPY of MASSterList! MASSterList is a daily ensemble of news and commentary about the Legislature, Politics, Media and Judiciary of Massachusetts drawn from major news organizations as well as specialized publications selected by widely acclaimed and highly experienced editor Jay Fitzgerald. Jay introduces each article in his own clever and never boring, inimitable way. IT’S FREE! SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? BEACON HILL ROLL CALL RECOMMENDS THAT READERS SIGN UP TODAY TO GET YOUR FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO MASSTERLIST. IT’S EASY! GO TO: www.massterlist.com/subscribe PROHIBIT TAX HIKES FROM BEING CONSIDERED AT INFORMAL SESSIONS (H 2019) House 32-125, rejected a proposed House rule that would prohibit tax hikes from being considered at an informal session of the House. Informal sessions are ones in which there can be no roll call votes and everything is approved or rejected on an unrecorded voice vote. Supporters of the rule said it is unfair to allow tax hikes to be brought up at these lightly attended sessions often without informing members of the agenda. Opponents said the rule is unnecessary because any single member who shows up at a lightly attended informal session can doubt the presence of a quorum, at which point the session would end because there is not a quorum. (A "Yes" vote is for prohibiting tax hikes from being brought up at informal sessions. A "No" vote is against the prohibition.) Rep. Joseph McGonagle No WITHDRAWAL OF AMENDMENTS (H 2019) House 5-152, rejected a proposed amendment to a current House rule that allows the chief sponsor of an amendment to withdraw his amendment unilaterally without the permission of his or her co-sponsors. The amendment would keep an amendment alive unless the chief sponsor and all the co-sponsors agree to withdraw it. Amendment supporters said the current rule gives too much power to the prime sponsor without considering whether the co-sponsors would still like to debate and vote on the amendment. Amendment opponents said the current rule has worked well and the change is unnecessary and unfair. They noted many times the chief sponsor will withdraw one amendment in order to get another one approved and said this new rule would interfere with that negotiation. (A "Yes" vote is for the amendment requiring the permission of the chief sponsor and co-sponsors in order to withdraw an amendment. A “No” vote is against requiring it.) Rep. Joseph McGonagle No REMOTE VOTING BY REPRESENTATIVES (H 2019) House 32-125, rejected a proposed new House rule that would allow representatives who are attending a committee hearing in the Statehouse to cast their vote from the committee room when a roll call vote is being held in the House chamber. The rule also provides that a remote-control station with fingerprint recognition be set up in each committee hearing room in the Statehouse. hearings are held at the same time the House is in session voting on important issues. They said it is unfair that these members are denied the right to vote if they are in a hearing room giving or listening to testimony on various bills. Opponents offered no arguments. Rep. Bill Galvin (D-Canton) the chairman of the Rules Committee that drafted the new rules did not respond to several requests from Beacon Hill Roll Call for a comment. (A "Yes" vote is for allowing remote voting. A "No" vote is against allowing it.) Rep. Joseph McGonagle No HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK'S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature's job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session. During the week of February 18-22, the House met for a total of 20 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 52 minutes. Mon., February 18 No House session Wed., February 20 No House session Fri., February 22 No House session No Senate session Tues., February 19 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:02 a.m. Senate 11:15 a.m. to 11:59 a.m. No Senate session Thurs., February 21 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:18 a.m. Senate 11:08 a.m. to 11:16 a.m. No Senate session Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com Savvy Senior How to Choose a Good Home Stair Lift Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend some good stair lift companies? I have a difficult time getting up and down the stairs anymore and am interested in purchasing a stair lift for my house but could use some help choosing one. Dear Ann, Arthritic Ann A good home stair lift is an excellent solution for those with mobility challenges who have trouble with steps. A stair lift will carry you up and down the stairs in a safe seated position, providing easy access to the second story or basement level of your home. To help you choose a quality stair lift that meets your needs and budget, here are a few shopping tips, along with some top-rated companies that make them. Types of Lifts There are two basic types of stair lifts that are sold today: straight and curved. The type you need will depend upon the design of your staircase. A straight stair lift is one that travels in a straight line up a flight of stairs uninterrupted by landings, bends or curves, and costs between $2,500 and $5,000 installed. Curved lifts, however, are much more elaborate and will go around corners, bends and changes in direction. Curved lifts are also much more expensive, typically running between $8,500 and $15,000 or more depending on the complexity of the installation. You also need to know that all stair lifts mount to the stair treads, not to the wall, so they are very sturdy and can be installed in almost any home. If you are a large person, you may need to get a heavy-duty lift with a wider seat and bigger lifting capacity – all companies offer them. Or, if you’re tall, find out about raising the seat height during installation. Most stair lifts available today also have seats, armrests and footplates that fold up out of the way, and swivel seats that make getting into and out of the chair easier. They also come with standard safety features like seatbelts, breaking systems and footrest sensors, push-button or rocker-switch controls located on the armrest for easy operation, and “call send” controls which allow you to call or send the unit to the other end of the stairs. Make sure the lift you choose has all these features. Depending on the company, you may also have the option of choosing between an electric (AC) and a battery powered (DC) stair lift. Battery powered units charge at the base station (some recharge anywhere on the track) are quieter, smoother and better than electric lifts, and will work even if there’s a power failure in the home. Where to Shop While there are many companies that make and sell stair lifts, two of the best, based on reputation and customer satisfaction ratings, are Bruno (Bruno.com, 800-454-4355) and Stannah (Stannah-Stairlifts.com, 888-465-7652). Unfortunately, original Medicare does not cover stair lifts nor do Medicare supplemental (Medigap) policies, but some Medicare Advantage plans may help pay. There are also many states that offer Medicaid waivers that will pay for lifts to those that qualify, and the VA offers cash grants to veterans with disabilities for home safety improvements. To save some money, you may want to consider purchasing a used or refurbished model. Or, if you need a stair lift for only a short period of time, consider renting one. Most companies offer these options, and many offer financing programs too. To get started, contact some stair lift companies who will put you in touch with a dealer in your area. All dealers provide free in-home assessments and estimates and can help you choose an appropriate lift. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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