THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2020 Page 17 every train door. Amendment supporters said this FROM A REPORT FROM THE ICONIC STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE: The coronavirus pandemic and the dramatic changes it is forcing on society have abruptly forced the state to reevaluate operations, which for decades have been largely based on face-toface discussions, in-person meetings and hearings and public rallies and protests. Especially in a crisis, the business of running the government and delivering public services must go on, and the week ahead will begin to show how government functions — or fails to perform — in this unprecedented environment and state of emergency. In a matter of days, the public debate has shifted from solving transportation, housing and health care problems to topics like social distancing, quarantines, presumptive positive COVID-19 cases and community spread. For now, coronavirus is the new agenda. «It’s hard to believe and it’s certainly disappointing and upsetting, I think, for everybody,» Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday, announcing a ban on most gatherings of more than 250 people. «And this does represent a signifi cant change in daily life for the vast majority of people here in the commonwealth.» The quiet halls of government buildings and offi ces, empty campuses and the quiet skies and open roads belie the tumult the virus is actually causing. Impacts on the jobs, state revenues and family budgets, the tourism and higher education sectors, and high-stakes campaigns like the presidential race and the Joe Kennedy-Ed Markey U.S. Senate primary are only just beginning to come into focus.» WHAT IS MASSTERLIST? More than 21,500 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. MASSterlist will be emailed to you FREE every Monday through Friday morning and will give you a leg up on what’s happening on Beacon Hill, in the blood sport of Bay State politics, in newsrooms across the state and the nation, and in the state’s court system. For more information and to get your free subscription go to: www.massterlist. com/subscribe THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records votes of local representatives from recent debate on transportation funding. There were no roll calls in the House Senate last week. TAX ON ROLLING STOCK (H 4508) House 13-141, rejected an amendment that would strike a section of the bill that would exempt from the current sales and use tax “rolling stock” which includes trucks, tractors and trailers used by common carriers to transport goods in interstate commerce. These vehicles were exempt from these taxes until 1996 when the Legislature removed the exemption and started taxing them again. Rep. Tami Gouveia (D-Acton), the sponsor of the amendment, did not respond to repeated attempts by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking her to explain why she proposed keeping the tax on rolling stock. “The repeal of the rolling stock exemption in 1996 created negative repercussions for the interstate trucking industry that are still being felt today,” said Rep. Brad Jones (RNorth Reading) who favors the tax exemption. “Changing these tax policies will allow Massachusetts to attract and retain a signifi cant number of good-paying jobs in this industry while encouraging more interstate trade by local companies. An exemption would also provide important environmental benefi ts by encouraging companies to invest in cleaner vehicles with more fuel efficiency and higher emissions standards, resulting in improved air quality throughout the commonwealth.” (The roll call is on “striking the tax exemption.” Therefore a “Yes” vote is for the sales and use tax on rolling stock. A “No” vote is against the tax.) Rep. Bob DeLeo No Rep. RoseLee Vincent No STUDY RAISED PLATFORMS ON THE T (H 4506) House 148-5 approved an amendment directing the MBTA to conduct a fi nancial impact study by December 31, 2020 on the feasibility of all platforms on commuter rail stops converting to fully raised platforms with handicap access at no-cost study is important to show that the T should provide handicapped accessibility on all doors for all passengers. They noted that with a raised platform, people do not stop and wait to climb stairs and argued that according to the T, it will save roughly 1.5 minutes to two minutes per stop. They said that millions of riders who would save this time would instead use the time for working and helping earn more for the economy or be at home having a higher quality of life. Some opponents of the amendment said they support the full platforms. “I didn’t think we needed to study the idea, I think we should have moved forward with changes,” said Rep. Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) one of only fi ve members to vote against the study. (A “Yes” vote is for the study. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. Bob DeLeo Yes Rep. RoseLee Vincent Yes MEET BEYOND 9 P.M. House 125-26, approved, at 8:59 p.m. a motion to suspend rules to allow the House session to continue beyond 9 p.m. Under House rules, the House cannot meet after 9 p.m. unless the rule is suspended. The session lasted another two hours and was adjourned at 11 p.m. Supporters of rule suspension said that the House has important business to fi nish and should stay in session to work on it. Opponents of rule suspension said it is irresponsible for the House to debate and vote late at night when taxpayers are asleep. (A “Yes” vote is for meeting beyond 9 p.m. A “No” vote is against it.) Rep. Bob DeLeo Yes Rep. RoseLee Vincent 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 fi led. 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 March 9-13, the House met for a total of fi ve hours and 31 minutes while the Senate met for a total of fi ve hours and eight minutes. Mon. March 9 House 11:05 a.m. to 11:27 a.m. Senate 11:14 a.m. to 11:28 a.m. No Senate session No Senate session Tues. March 10 No House session Wed. March 11 No House session Thurs. March 12 House 11:00 a.m. to 4:09 p.m. Senate 11:11 a.m. to 4:05 p.m. Fri. March 13 No House session No Senate session Bob Katzen welcomes feedback atbob@beaconhillrollcall.com avavvyy enioroniior avvy Senior avvy vy ennioorniiori How to Prevent the Silent Epidemic of Kidney Disease Dear Savvy Senior, Do kidney problems run in families? My mother died from kidney failure 10 years ago at age 74 but didn’t know she had a kidney problem until it was too late. Just Turned 60 Dear 60, Anyone who has a family history of kidney disease, or who has high blood pressure or diabetes is at increased risk and needs to have their kidneys tested. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 37 million U.S adults have chronic kidney disease (when the kidneys can’t properly do their job of cleaning toxins and wastes from the blood), and millions more are at risk of developing it, yet most people don’t realize it. That’s because kidney disease develops very slowly over many years before any symptoms arise. But left untreated, the disease can eventually require people to spend hours hooked up to a dialysis machine or get a kidney transplant. Even mild kidney problems can double a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke, as well as cause anemia and bone disease. The reason kidney disease has become so widespread today is because of the rise of obesity, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure which all strain the kidneys. Another factor is the increasing number of people who take multiple medications, which can overtax the organs. People over age 60 are especially vulnerable both because they tend to take more drugs, and because kidney function normally declines somewhat with age. Get Tested Because kidney disease has no early symptoms, the only way to catch it before it advances is to have a simple blood and urine test by your doctor. So, anyone that has diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, a family history of kidney disease, or is age 60 or older needs to get tested. African, Hispanic, Asian and Indian Americans along with Pacifi c Islanders are also at increased risk. If you’re diagnosed with kidney disease you need to know that there’s no cure, but there are steps you can take to help contain the damage, including: Control your blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, get it under 130/80. If you need medication to do it, ACE inhibitors and ARBs are good choices because of their proven ability to protect the kidneys. Control your diabetes: If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible. Change your diet: This usually means reducing the amount of protein and phosphorus you eat and cutting back on sodium and possibly potassium. Your doctor can help you determine an appropriate eating plan, or you may want to talk to a dietitian. Watch your meds: Dozens of commonly used drugs can damage the kidneys, especially when taken in high doses over long periods – most notably NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Herbal supplements can also be very dangerous. Talk to your doctor about all the prescription, over the counter and herbal products you take to identify potential problems and fi nd alternatives. Exercise and lose weight: If you’re overweight and inactive, start an aerobic fi tness routine (walk, swim, cycle, etc.) that gets your heart pumping. This will help lower blood pressure, control diabetes and help you lose excess weight all of which will help your kidneys. Quit smoking: If you smoke, quit. Heart disease becomes a much greater risk to the kidneys if your smoke. Smoking also doubles the rate of progression to end-stage renal failure. Limit alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol can worsen kidney disease too, so talk to your doctor to see if it’s safe for you to drink, and if so, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day. 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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