THE REVERE ADVOCATE - Friday, May 3, 2019 Page 19 BEACON | from page 18 consolidated earmarks for local housing programs—including my amendment for a $250,000 increase in funding for Housing Consumer Education Centers.” (A “Yes” vote is for the amendment.) Rep. Bob DeLeoYes Rep. RoseLee VincentYes CAP ON WELFARE BENEFITS FOR KIDS (S 2186) Senate 37-3, overrode Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of a bill that repeals the current law that denies an additional $100 in welfare benefi ts to children conceived while—or soon after—the family began receiving welfare benefi ts or, if they had received family welfare benefi ts in the past. The law was adopted in 1995 as part of a welfare reform package that was aimed at discouraging families already receiving public support from having more children. The House overrode the veto on April 10 and with the Senate override, the bill now becomes law. Supporters of the repeal said that there are some 8,700 children who currently fall under the cap in the Bay State. These families are barred from receiving an additional $100 a month to help support that child. They said there are no facts to back up the charge that families are having more children in order to get the additional $100. “Eliminating the family cap should be accompanied by other reforms to the [welfare] program designed to align the eligibility determination with federal standards and support recipients as they return to work,” said Baker in his veto message. The governor added that under his proposal, “homeless families would no longer see a benefi t reduction for accessing temporary shelter.” “We are thrilled that our commonwealth has repealed the cruel and unjust family cap,” said Jacquelynne Bowman, Executive Director of Greater Boston Legal Services. “This is an important step in helping Massachusetts act on the promise of supporting very low-income families to meet their children’s basic needs.” “Lifting the Cap on Kids will make a critical difference in the lives of 8,700 of the lowest income children in Massachusetts,” said Deborah Harris of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. “With today’s vote, Massachusetts has affirmed the dignity and humanity of every child.” (A “Yes” vote is for repealing the cap. A “No” vote is against repealing it.) Sen. Joseph Boncore Yes GENDER X (S 2203) Senate 39-1, approved a bill that would allow for residents to choose a third gender option, “X” in lieu of “male” or “female” on an application for a driver’s license, learner’s permit, identifi cation card or liquor purchase identification card. No documentation would be required for the person to choose the “X” option. The House has already approved a diff erent version of the bill and the House and Senate will work on a compromise version. “Massachusetts has always led on equity and justice, especially in our proud bi-partisan support of LGBTQ people,” said Sen. Julian Cyr (DTruro). “Today the Massachusetts Senate continued that tradition by passing legislation that provides the opportunity for Massachusetts residents who are transgender or gender non-conforming to self-identify on all Massachusetts identifi cation documents. Legislation passed by the Senate allows for accuracy, privacy, and safety for individuals who do not fi t neatly into a specifi c gender identity. I am grateful to my colleagues for their support of gender nonconforming people. Our vote today recognizes the dignity of all, no matter their gender identity or expression.” . “Identifying documents serve a variety of crucial purposes that help society function on a basic level,” said Christopher Jay, an attorney for the Massachusetts Family Institute which opposes the measure. “Introducing false and incomplete information into the system undermines their purpose and harms society. There is no logical boundary here. If someone can specify their gender regardless of biological fact, why not specify a diff erent race, age, height, weight or eye color according to how the person feels?” Sen. Donald Humason (RWestfi eld) was the lone vote against the bill. He did not respond to repeated attempts by Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on his vote (A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against it.) Sen. Joseph Boncore Yes ROAD SAFETY (S 2570) Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a bill designed to make roads safer and decrease the number of fatalities. The proposal requires bicyclists at night to use both a red rear light and a red rear refl ector. Current law requires only a red light or a red refl ector. Current law and the new law both require a white light in the front. The bill classifies several groups, including pedestrians, utility workers and cyclists, as “vulnerable road users.” The measure requires the operator of a motor vehicle that is passing a vulnerable user to maintain a distance of at least three feet when traveling at 30 miles per hour or less and an additional foot of space for every ten miles per hour above 30 miles per hour. Current law only requires motor vehicle operators to pass at “a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.” Another provision requires a vehicle that is overtaking a vulnerable user or other vehicle to use all or part of an adjacent lane, crossing the centerline if necessary, when it cannot pass at a safe distance in the same lane and only when BEACON | SEE PAGE 20

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