Page 14 THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, July 9, 2021 Beacon Hill Roll Call By Bob Katzen THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records the votes of local representatives and senators from the week of June 28-July 2. OVERRIDE BAKER’S VETO OF PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENT FOR SOLDIERS' HOME (S 2439) House 130-30, Senate 37-3, overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of a section of the bill authorizing $400 million to fund the construction of a new Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke. The section requires the home be built under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that ensures that union labor will be used to build the facility by mandating a pre-bid, prehire collective bargaining agreement for the construction. “This [PLA] requirement threatens the viability of this project by limiting fair competition and disproportionately reducing opportunities for minority, women and veteran-owned businesses,” wrote Gov. Charlie Baker in his veto message. “It will also raise the overall costs of this project precipitously and may result in a labor shortage, putting the project and project timeline in jeopardy.” “PLAs create barriers to entry that eliminate the equality of opportunity that is central to the commonwealth’s public construction process,” continued Baker. “While PLAs do not technically prohibit non-union contractors from bidding on a project, PLA terms make it cost prohibitive and impractical for any non-union member to participate.” “I voted to uphold the project labor agreement provision… because it establishes practical standards for fair pay and workplace safety,” said Senate Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton). “In addition, the language … includes key safeguards designed to ensure inclusion and equity amongst project contractors. Construction initiatives throughout the commonwealth have successfully implemented project labor agreements in recent years and I am pleased the hardworking employees tasked with building this new facility will be able to rely on reasonable workplace conditions.” "Gov. Baker recognizes the risk that the project-labor agreement could bring to the Holyoke Soldiers' Home project,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) who opposed the PLA provision. “Not only will it exclude the opportunity for women and minority owned businesses to bid on components of the project, but the PLA could also signal unforeseen budget expenditures that drive the cost over budget. These risks will threaten the commonwealth's ability to secure VA funding that is needed to match the commonwealth’s financial commitment in this bill." “This [PLA] language and resulting agreement will ensure that hard-earned, taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently to build a new soldiers’ home that is on time, on budget and worthy of the veterans it will serve,” said Sen. Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough) the Senate sponsor of the language. “The language … commits to recruiting and hiring a workforce that is diverse, local, safe, well-trained and highly skilled. Despite the governor’s vocal opposition, the Senate took steps by overriding his veto, to assist women, minority and veteran owned businesses in creating jobs and opportunities now and in the future, as well as expanded opportunities for many local working-class people in the construction trades.” In an unusual occurrence, Senate Ways and Means chairman Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) broke with Senate President Karen Spilka and her leadership team was one of only three senators and the only Democrat to vote with the governor against the PLA. Beacon Hill Roll Call asked Rodrigues why he voted against the PLA. His spokesman Bently Holt responded, "The senator is tied up in conference and so will not be issuing a statement on this.” Rodrigue also voted against the PLA agreement when it was up for a vote in April. At that time, he told the State House News Service, "I have problems with anytime we limit competition on any sort of public construction projects. I think more competition is healthier for everyone. It's better for the taxpayers." (A “Yes” vote is for overriding Baker’s veto and favors the PLA provision. A “No” vote is for sustaining the governor’s veto and against the PLA provision.) Rep. Paul Donato Yes Rep. Steven Ultrino Yes Sen. Jason LewisYes $200 MILLION FOR LOCAL ROADS AND BRIDGES (S 2486) Senate 39-0, approved a bill that includes authorizing $200 million in one-time funding for the maintenance and repair of local roads and bridges in cities and towns across the state. The package is a bond bill under which the funding would be borrowed by the state through the sale of bonds. The House has already approved a different version of the proposal and a House-Senate conference committee will likely work out a compromise. “Safe roads, reliable bridges and modernized transit infrastructure made possible through this bill exemplifies the Senate’s approach to public transportation,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chair Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop). “The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the need for this funding more urgent. These investments will provide critical funding for shovel-ready transportation projects in our cities and towns, create jobs and support local and regional economies.” “The measure we passed today will provide our cities and towns with the resources they need to invest in critical infrastructure projects,” said Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “Investing in our roads, sidewalks and bridges is an investment in the longevity and safety of our communities.” “It is good news that the…bill jumped another hurdle on Beacon Hill and is moving ahead,” said Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) Executive Director Geoff Beckwith. “The construction season is getting shorter with each passing day, and there is a huge need to enact the bill now. Communities depend on these funds for critical road repair projects. We are also asking that the state add to this $200 million … bill by using some of this year’s large budget surplus to put even more funding on the street, as it has done in past years. MMA estimates that the annual cost of getting and maintaining 30,000 miles of municipal roads into a state of good repair is approximately $600 million, and communities don’t have the resources to get there themselves. While passing the…bill is an important step, going beyond $200 million is essential.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill.) Sen. Jason Lewis Yes 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 June 28July 2, the House met for a total of four hours and 24 minutes while the Senate met for a total of two hours and 45 minutes Mon. June 28 House 11:02 a.m. to 12:14 p.m. Senate 11:14 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Tues. June 29 No House session No Senate session Wed. June 30 House 11:04 a.m. to 2:13 p.m. No Senate session Thurs. July 1 House 11:03 a.m. to 11:06 a.m. Senate 11:17 a.m. to 12:56 p.m. Fri. July 2 No House session No Senate session Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com

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