Page 18 THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – FRiDAy, MAy 17, 2024 Beacon Hill Roll Call By Bob Katzen GET A FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO MASSTERLIST – Join more than 22,000 people, from movers and shakers to political junkies and interested citizens, who start their weekday morning with MASSterList—the popular newsletter that chronicles news and informed analysis about what’s going on up on Beacon Hill, in Massachusetts politics, policy, media and influence. The stories are drawn from major news organizations as well as specialized publications. MASSterlist will be e-mailed to you FREE every Monday through Friday morning and will give you a leg up on what’s happening in the blood sport of Bay State politics. For more information and to get your free subscription, go to: https://lp.constantcontactpages. com/su/aPTLucKs THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week. The Senate has held 35 roll calls so far in the 2024 session. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls on which each senator voted and then calculates that number as a percentage of the total roll call votes held. That percentage is the number referred to as the roll call attendance record. Thirty-seven (92.5 percent) of the current 40 senators did not miss any roll calls and have 100 percent roll call attendance records. The senator who missed the most roll calls is Sen. Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury) who missed nine roll calls resulting in a 74.2 percent roll call attendance record. All nine missed roll calls were held on April 25th. “On April 25th, I was on orders with the United States Navy and as a result was unable to participate in roll call votes during that session,” Rush told Beacon Hill Roll Call.“On April 29th, I submitted a letter to the Clerk of the Senate to be included in the Senate Journal stating this fact and recording how I would have voted had I been present.” The only other senator who missed any roll calls is Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) who missed two roll calls on January 11, resulting in a 94.2 percent roll call attendance record. Barrett did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him for a comment. It is a Senate tradition that the Senate president only votes occasionally. Current Senate President Karen Spilka follows that tradition and only voted on six (17.1 percent) of the 35 roll calls while not voting on 29 (82.9 percent) of them. SENATORS’ 2024 ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS THROUGH MAY 10th, 2024 The percentage listed next to the senator’s name is the percentage of roll call votes on which the senator voted. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that he or she missed. Sen. Sal DiDomenico 100 percent (0) ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL SENATE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE PROPOSES $57.9 BILLION FISCAL 2025 STATE BUDGET (S 4) – The Senate fired the next shot in the long battle over the state budget for fiscal year 2025 that begins on July 1. The Senate Ways and Means Committee proposed its own version of the spending package. Gov. Maura Healey fired the opening volley in January when she filed her version of the spending package. The House recently approved its own $57.9 billion version. It increases spending by $1.9 billion, or 3.3 percent, over the current fiscal year 2024 budget. The Senate will debate the budget the week of May 20 and a House-Senate conference committee will eventually craft a plan that will be presented to the House and Senate for consideration and sent to the governor. BAN HOME EQUITY THEFT (H 4624) – The Revenue Committee has advanced a new version of a bill that would prohibit cities and towns that foreclose on properties on which the owner owes back property taxes, from keeping all of the profits when the city or town sells the property at auction. Current Massachusetts law allows this practice. Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that cities and towns that foreclose on properties on which the owner owes back property taxes, cannot keep all of the profits when the city or town sells the property at auction. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, writing a unanimous decision about a similar Minnesota law, said that “a taxpayer who loses her $40,000 house to the state to fulfill a $15,000 tax debt has made a far greater contribution to the public fisc than she owed.” Senate co-chair of the Revenue Committee Sen. Susan Moran (D-Falmouth) said she never imagined that cities and towns could keep the equity after a home was seized and a debt paid. “Because in all the consumer work that I did, or with respect to mortgages ... the individuals who owed the debt were able to retain their equity,” said Moran. “So I was not familiar that with municipal foreclosures, the municipality actually kept all of that equity. And I felt that it was incredibly unfair.” BAN SENDING DEEPFAKE IMAGES 90 DAYS OR LESS PRIOR TO ELECTION DAY (S 2730) – The Election Laws Committee held a hearing on legislation that would prohibit a person from knowingly sending out deepfakes of a candidate or political party 90 days or less prior to an election without providing a disclaimer as follows: “This (image, video or audio) has been manipulated or generated by artificial intelligence.” A deepfake is defined as an image, audio recording or video recording of a candidate’s appearance, speech or conduct that has been intentionally manipulated through digital and other means to injure the reputation of the candidate. It is designed to deceive a voter and appear to a reasonable person to depict a real individual saying or doing something that that individual did not say or do. Supporters note that the 90day period is used because 90 days or less before Election Day is crunch time, and at that late date, campaigns may not have time or resources to adequately respond to deepfakes and ensure voters know the material is non-authentic during this time fame. The measure empowers agBHRC | SEE PAGE 20 Collecting Social Security Benefits Y ou can claim your social security benefits once you reach age 62. However, if you begin collecting at age 62, your benefits will be permanently reduced by 25% to 30%, depending on your birth year. Furthermore, if you begin collecting at age 62 and you are still working, you will have your benefits further reduced once your income exceeds a certain level. Once you reach your full retirement age, you can earn as much as you want without suffering a reduction of benefits. For those born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67. If, for example, you were born in 1958, your full retirement age would be 66 and 8 months. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a table that you can go by to determine what your full retirement age is and how much your benefits will be reduced by claiming early and how much they will be increased by waiting to age 70 to collect. If you wait beyond age 70 to collect, you will not receive any higher benefit. If you delay collecting your social security benefits until after your full retirement age, your benefits will increase 8% each year until age 70. One benefit of this strategy is if you were to die at age 71, your surviving spouse who was married to you for at least 10 years would receive 100% of your monthly benefit. If that surviving spouse did not have a higher monthly benefit under his or her own work history and did not have a sufficient state pension to live on, as well as significant liquid assets, that could be very important for the surviving spouse in order to continue with his or her standard of living. If a spouse collects benefits under his or her spouse’s work history, those benefits will be permanently reduced if that spouse begins collecting prior to his or her full retirement age. If you were to die after reaching your full retirement age, your surviving spouse would then be able to collect 100% of your monthly benefit, including the increased benefit you might be receiving as a result of waiting until age 70 to collect benefits. You can claim a surviving spouse social security benefit under your deceased spouse’s work history at age 60 and then transition to your own work history at your full retirement age assuming this would result in a higher monthly benefit. Furthermore, you could even wait until age 70 to collect under your work history resulting in even a higher monthly benefit. I would suggest establishing an account on the www.ssa.gov website to review your work history and to make sure all of your earnings have been posted properly. Go onto the retirement calculator tab to project your estimated benefits based upon retiring at full retirement age or at age 70. You would input your expecting earnings as well. If a divorced spouse remarries, he or she would lose the opportunity to collect benefits based upon the previous spouse’s work history. That is a real important consideration for divorced couples. Joseph D. Cataldo is an estate planning/elder law attorney, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner, AICPA Personal Financial Specialist and holds a masters degree in taxation.

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