THE EVERETT ADVOCATE – FRiDAy, July 24, 2020 Page 19 BEACON | FROM PAGE 17 study). Sen. Sal DiDomenico No BAN ALL CHOKEHOLDS (S. 2800) Senate 16-23, rejected an amendment that would completely ban police offi cers from using a chokehold under any circumstances. The amendment would replace an existing section of the bill that was a compromise reached by the working group that helped draft the measure. That compromise section allows chokeholds as long as they are not performed “with the intent of or with the result of causing unconsciousness or death.” The measure defi nes chokehold as “the use of a lateral vascular neck restraint, carotid restraint or other action that involves the placement of any part of law enforcement offi - cer’s body on or around a person’s neck in a manner that limits the person’s breathing or blood fl ow with the intent of or with the result of causing unconsciousness or death.” “The … bill as it exists now contains a loophole,” said Sen. Jim Welch (D-West Springfield), the sponsor of the amendment. “It would allow police offi cers to continue to use chokeholds on people if they claim their intent was to do anything other than cut off the individual’s air supply or blood fl ow and they don't render the person unconscious or dead. This amendment would truly ban the use of chokeholds by law enforcement, an action necessary to guarantee all members of our community are protected against these dangerous and often deadly tactics.” Amendment opponents said the amendment goes too far and deviates from the chokehold compromise the working group achieved. The compromise prohibits chokeholds except for ones that are not performed with the intent of or with the result of causing unconsciousness or death. “This amendment would have created an overbroad defi nition of chokehold,” said Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), a leading proponent of the bill “In the course of a pitched struggle, it is entirely possible that an offi cer would have to put their arm around someone’s neck. Let’s stick with the balance [compromise] we got and let’s vote against this amendment.” (A “Yes” vote is for a complete ban on chokeholds. A “No” vote is against a complete ban.) Sen. Sal DiDomenico Yes ALLOW CHOKEHOLDS (S. 2800) Senate 3-36, rejected an amendment that would allow the use of a chokehold if the offi cer reasonably believes that his or her life is “in immediate jeopardy of imminent death or serious bodily injury." “Police officers encounter dangerous situations daily,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Dean Tran (R-Leominster). “They should be allowed to use all necessary tools available to protect themselves and when their lives are at risk especially if the perpetrators are bigger and stronger. Not all police offi cers are 6 feet 2 inches and weigh 200 pounds. Many are smaller. Now when a female officer, who is let’s say 5 feet 2 inches and weighs 115 pounds, goes up against someone who is twice her stature, we want her and all of the offi cers to have all the necessary tools available to them for self-defense including the use of chokeholds.” “This amendment would have weakened the ban to a greater extent than necessary to assure offi cer safety,” said Sen. Brownsberger. “Let's stick with the balance we got and let’s vote against this amendment.” (A “Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against it.) Sen. Sal DiDomenico No $16.9 BILLION IN TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS (S. 2813) Senate 36-4, approved an estimated $16.9 billion bond bill authorizing spending on transportation projects and infrastructure. Provisions include $5.6 billion for federal highway system projects, $2 billion for the design, construction and repair of non-federally aided roadway and bridge projects and another $1.25 billion for construction, resurfacing and improvements of bridges and approaches. The package is a bond bill under which the funding would be borrowed by the state through the sale of bonds. A controversial section of the bill allows cities and towns and regions to raise local taxes to fund transportation projects outside of Proposition 2½, which limits property tax increases in cities and towns. The package also includes earmarks for hundreds of millions of dollars for hundreds of projects in legislators’ districts across the state—many of which will never be funded. The Baker administration is required to adhere to the state’s annual bond borrowing cap and ultimately decides which projects are aff ordable and actually get funded. Sometimes a legislator will immediately tout the inclusion of local projects in these types of bond bills, especially in an election year to show he or she “brought home the bacon.” But be warned that none of the projects in this package have yet been funded and most will end up never being funded because of the borrowing cap and the power of the governor’s offi ce to pick which projects actually get the green light. The House has already approved an $18 billion transportation package which includes an estimated $522 million to $600 million tax hike to fund improvements to the state’s transportation system. None of the hikes are included in the Senate version. Hikes include a 5 cents-pergallon increase in the motor vehicle gas excise tax; a 9 cents-per-gallon increase in the diesel fuel tax; an increase in the aviation fuel tax from 5 percent of the average price per gallon to 7.5 percent of the average price per gallon; elimination of the sales tax exemption on vehicle purchases for traditional rental car companies; replacing the current fl at $456 minimum corporate excise tax with a nine-tiered sliding scale ranging from $456 if the corporation’s total sales are less than $1 million to $150,000 if the corporation’s sales total $1 billion; and increasing the 20 cents-per-trip fl at fee to $1.20 for each nonshared Uber and Lyft ride and $2.20 for every luxury ride. The bill includes language aimed at preventing Uber and Lyft from passing those hikes directly onto riders. Supporters said the bill funds important transportation projects across the state and unlike the House version, does not raise taxes. “In an increasingly hectic end to the fiscal year, I am pleased the Senate was able to pass this important piece of legislation to address many of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure needs," said Sen. Michael Moore (D-Milbury). “The transportation bond bill is a comprehensive collection of many necessary improvements to our transportation systems from road and bridges to various modes of public transportation. During these increasingly diffi cult fi nancial times it is critical that we continue to make investments in projects such as roads, bridges, sidewalks, and other various restoration projects throughout the commonwealth.” Despite several attempts by Beacon Hill Roll Call, Sen. Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop), the Senate chair of the Transportation Committee, did not respond to requests to comment on the bill. “Section 5 in the bill sets up regional taxation districts where they could change the sales or property taxes by region,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). “This is a harmful concept for local businesses and residents. If their region decides to increase sales taxes, potential customers may look beyond these districts to shop for products. We should be working to give relief to our local small businesses during these challenging economic and public health times, not creating an extra barrier to success.” A House-Senate conference committee will attempt to hammer out a compromise version. (A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against it.) Sen. Sal DiDomenico Yes ALLOW CITIES AND TOWNS TO RAISE TAXES FOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS (S. 2813) Senate 8-31, rejected a motion to strike from the bill a section that allows cities and towns and regions to raise local taxes to fund transportation projects outside of Proposition 2½, which limits property tax increases in cities and towns. “Legislating by local tax ballot initiatives hampers our ability to serve our communities in a uniform, progressive, equitable way,” said Sen. Diane DiZoglio (D-Methuen), who led the charge to delete the section. “Some of the tax options put forward in this regional tax increase proposal, including the sales tax and property tax components, have nothing to do with transportation but are extremely regressive and would damage our Main Streets. Now, in the middle of a global pandemic, it is astounding to me that we think this is the time to be adding more of a fi nancial burden to our local mom and pop shops.” “It’s clear that more and better public transit is needed across the state, and it is important to give local communities and regions the ability to raise funds when they identify particular needs,” said Sen. Cindy Creem (D-Newton). “Improving access to business districts that are not currently accessible by public transit is good for workers, small businesses and the overall economy. We are giving communities this option if the voters choose to use it.” "The attacks on Proposition 2½ under any guise are relentless, always intent on chipping away at city and town taxpayers’ protection," said Chip Ford, Executive Director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, which created the law overwhelmingly approved by voters in 1980. 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