Page 24 THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – FRiDAy, JunE 17, 2022 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 selected by widely acclaimed and highly experienced writers Keith Regan and Matt Murphy who introduce each article in their own clever and inimitable way. 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/aPTLucK THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local senators’ and representatives’ votes on roll calls from the week of June 6-10. LEGISLATURE OVERRIDES BAKER’S VETO OF BILL ALLOWING DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR UNDOCUMENTED/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (H 4805) House 119-36, Senate 328, gained the two-thirds vote necessary to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation that would allow, starting July 1, 2023, undocumented/ illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts standard driver’s license. The legislation requires an applicant “without legal presence” in the United States to provide the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) with a foreign passport and at least one of five other documents: a driver’s license from another state, a foreign driver’s license, a birth certificate, a foreign national identification card or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any U.S. state. “I cannot sign this legislation because it requires the Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue state credentials to people without the ability to verify their identity,” Baker had said in his veto message. “The Registry does not have the expertise or ability to verify the validity of many types of documents from other countries. The bill also fails to include any measures to distinguish standard Massachusetts driver’s licenses issued to persons who demonstrate lawful presence from those who don’t.” “By making driver’s licenses accessible to individuals regardless of immigration status, Massachusetts will take a strong step to both strengthen our economy and strengthen relations between immigrants and law enforcement,” said Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “This is a victory for all, making our roads safer and allowing the 185,000 immigrants without status the ability to earn a driver’s license,” said sponsor Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn). “No one should fear deportation over essential everyday tasks, such as getting to work, school, doctor’s appointment and grocery stores.” “We all know the many issues our commonwealth’s RMV has had,” said Sen. John Velis (D-Westfield), an opponent of the proposal. “Just this week it was announced that 53,000 licenses sent out were missing a key fraud protection feature and will need to be replaced. My vote has nothing to do with immigration and has everything to do with the enormous ask we are making on an already underfunded and understaffed RMV. I remain concerned that RMV employees will be now tasked with reviewing hundreds of additional foreign documents, in hundreds of different languages and formats, without any additional funding or training.” “This commonsense legislation will improve safety for all on our roads, and ensure all drivers are licensed, registered and insured … This bill has broad support from numerous members of law enforcement, local faith and business leaders and immigrant communities statewide,” said Rep. Christine Barber (D-Somerville), a co-sponsor of the measure. Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) said, “I do not support this legislation as I believe it disincentivizes the individual from pursuing citizenship through legal means … This bill does not provide a clear distinction on the driver’s licenses between an unlawfully present individual and a U.S. citizen nor does it permit the RMV to share the citizenship information with municipalities that are entrusted to register only U.S. citizens to vote. Without these protections, the chances that these individuals will be able to register to vote increases.” Co-sponsor Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield) said she was disappointed that the governor is spreading misinformation about voting access when he well knows the strong safeguards that are already in place. “Gov. Baker’s own RMV has been processing driver’s licenses for years for those already eligible to drive but ineligible to vote such as 16and 17-year-olds, people with green cards and student and worker visas … Sixteen other states have implemented similar laws already and have seen improved safety on roads with no issues related to voting.” “Despite the record high overcollection of Massachusetts tax dollars being available to provide some kind of relief to families struggling with inflation and high prices, the speaker is prioritizing giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses over Gov. Baker’s warnings that it will most likely lead to voter fraud,” said Paul Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “Just because the speaker was able to twist arms and override the governor’s veto, doesn’t mean these House members will be off the hook. With the vote taken, they will now have to face their constituents and explain why they follow their speaker’s orders instead of their constituents’ opinions.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. Joseph McGonagle Yes Sen. Sal DiDomenico Yes ELECTION LAW CHANGES (S 2924) Senate 37-3, approved and sent to the House a conference committee version of a bill making permanent the mailin and early voting options used in Massachusetts in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House and Senate had approved different versions of the bill and a conference committee hammered out this compromise version which did not include the section allowing same day voter registration that was in the Senate version but not in the House one. The measure requires the secretary of state to send out mailin ballot applications, with return postage guaranteed, to registered voters before each presidential primary, state primary and biennial state election. It also allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot for all elections in a single calendar year. Other provisions include reducing the registration blackout period from 20 days prior to an election to 10 days; electronic voting options for votBEACON | SEE PAGE 25 TAHILIANI | FROM PAGE 9 current M.A.S.S. Director of Government Relations Mary Bourque. During the awards ceremony, Tahiliani was introduced by M.A.S.S. President Tim Piwowar, superintendent of the Billerica Public Schools. He credited Tahiliani for confronting “the hopes and fears of a school system and community aspiring to transform and be better on behalf of students and families while also facing those in the community who are of privilege and who fear and resist change.” Piwowar added, “In a school system where 80 percent of the students are non-white and yet, the governance structures are largely white, she fearlessly called out racial injustice and inconsistencies between what is professed by city and school district leaders and what is practiced,” Piwowar remarked. “Many times, her highlighting these moral and ethical disparities in behavior played out in public media.” Superintendent Tahiliani began her tenure in March of 2020, just days before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the nation’s educational system to a standstill. In the intervening two-plus years, she has led significant changes across every major facet of the district. Some district highlights include: • Technology for every student in the district • Free summer enrichment programs • Expanded summer academic programming at multiple elementary schools • Establishment of Acceleration Academies during vacation weeks • Day 6/Saturday Program to help former students complete their coursework and earn an Everett High School (EHS) diploma • First-ever College Fair at EHS • EHS partnerships with Fisher College and the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology • EHS-Everett Police Department internship program • Establishment of a Debate en Espanol team at EHS • Language-based English Learner Parent Advisory Committees • Multilingual Tech Goes Home, language, and literacy program for parents • A revamped and unbiased hiring process that includes search committees and scoring rubrics • Greatly enhanced educational opportunities and partnerships for paraprofessionals and staff members to enter the teaching profession • Expanded supports for teachers who want to pursue school administration licenses • Comprehensive curriculum review teams made up of teachers, building leaders, and administrators • Participation in the state’s Teacher Diversification Program • A revamped budgeting process that stresses inclusivity and transparency • Aggressive and intentional grant strategy that has netted the district 19 new grants totally more than $1.3 million (and counting) in funding sources • Five-member AmeriCorps/ City Year teams in all five of the district’s K-8 schools — the first city out of Boston that City Year has partnered with in Massachusetts These accomplishments are set against a tense backdrop that has seen Everett officials admit to racist and hateful behavior and language, prompting critical and extensive media coverage — and, more recently, the announcement of an official investigation into possible civil rights violations in Everett city government by U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins. Additionally, authorities continue to investigate the discovery of surveillance equipment in two locations in the Superintendent’s office. “It has been the most challenging year of my career, but also the most satisfying,” the Superintendent said. “For the latter, I proudly point to our students, who have shown fearlessness and leadership for our entire community. I consider it my responsibility to match their bravery.” Clearly, that has not gone unnoticed by her fellow superintendents. “Priya Tahiliani as a leader is resilient, courageous and strong, traits that are now essential strands in the district’s DNA,” Piwowar said. “She expands the capacity of individuals, teams, and projects. She works tirelessly but deliberately. She asks questions, encourages debate, and is unafraid of respectful and professional dissent. There is nothing she cannot handle…She is an example of courageous leadership for equity.”

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