Page 14 THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2024 By Bob Katzen If you have any questions about this week’s report, e-mail us at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com or call us at (617) 720-1562 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 infl uence. The stories are drawn from major news organizations as well as specialized publications. 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/aPTLucKs THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll calls in the House or Senate last week. The Senate has held 35 roll calls so far in the 2024 session. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls on which each senator voted and then calculates that number as a percentage of the total roll call votes held. That percentage is the number referred to as the roll call attendance record. Thirty-seven (92.5 percent) of the current 40 senators did not miss any roll calls and have 100 percent roll call attendance records. The senator who missed the most roll calls is Sen. Mike Rush (D-West Roxbury) who missed nine roll calls resulting in a 74.2 percent roll call attendance record. All nine missed roll calls were held on April 25th. “On April 25th, I was on orders with the United States Navy and as a result was unable to participate in roll call votes during that session,” Rush told Beacon Hill Roll Call. “On April 29th, I submitted a letter to the Clerk of the Senate to be included in the Senate Journal stating this fact and recording how I would have voted had I been present.” The only other senator who missed any roll calls is Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) who missed two roll calls on January 11, resulting in a 94.2 percent roll call attendance record. Barrett did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him for a comment. It is a Senate tradition that the Senate president only votes occasionally. Current Senate President Karen Spilka follows that tradition and only voted on six (17.1 percent) of the 35 roll calls while not voting on 29 (82.9 percent) of them. SENATORS’ 2024 ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS THROUGH MAY 10th, 2024 The percentage listed next to the senator’s name is the percentage of roll call votes on which the senator voted. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that he or she missed. Sen. Lydia Edwards 100 percent (0) ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL SENATE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE PROPOSES $57.9 BILLION FISCAL 2025 STATE BUDGET (S 4) – The Senate fi red the next shot in the long battle over the state budget for fi scal year 2025 that begins on July 1. The Senate Ways and Means Committee proposed its own version of the spending package. Gov. Maura Healey fi red the opening volley in January when she fi led her version of the spending package. The House recently approved its own $57.9 billion version. It increases spending by $1.9 billion, or 3.3 percent, over the current fi scal year 2024 budget. The Senate will debate the budget the week of May 20 and a House-Senate conference committee will eventually craft a plan that will be presented to the House and Senate for consideration and sent to the governor. BAN HOME EQUITY THEFT (H 4624) – The Revenue Committee has advanced a new version of a bill that would prohibit cities and towns that foreclose on properties on which the owner owes back property taxes, from keeping all of the profi ts when the city or town sells the property at auction. Current Massachusetts law allows this practice. Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that cities and towns that foreclose on properties on which the owner owes back property taxes, cannot keep all of the profi ts when the city or town sells the property at auction. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, writing a unanimous decision about a similar Minnesota law, said that “a taxpayer who loses her $40,000 house to the state to fulfi ll a $15,000 tax debt has made a far greater contribution to the public fi sc than she owed.” Senate co-chair of the Revenue Committee Sen. Susan Moran (D-Falmouth) said she never imagined that cities and towns could keep the equity after a home was seized and a debt paid. “Because in all the consumer work that I did, or with respect to mortgages... the individuals who owed the debt were able to retain their equity,” said Moran. “So I was not familiar that with municipal foreclosures, the municipality actually kept all of that equity. And I felt that it was incredibly unfair.” BAN SENDING DEEPFAKE IMAGES 90 DAYS OR LESS PRIOR TO ELECTION DAY (S 2730) – The Election Laws Committee held a hearing on legislation that would prohibit a person from knowingly sending out deepfakes of a candidate or political party 90 days or less prior to an election without providing a disclaimer as follows: “This (image, video or audio) has been manipulated or generated by artifi cial intelligence.” A deepfake is defi ned as an image, audio recording or video recording of a candidate’s appearance, speech or conduct that has been intentionally manipulated through digital and other means to injure the reputation of the candidate. It is designed to deceive a voter and appear to a reasonable person to depict a real individual saying or doing something that that individual did not say or do. Supporters note that the 90day period is used because 90 days or less before Election Day is crunch time, and at that late date, campaigns may not have time or resources to adequately respond to deepfakes and ensure voters know the material is non-authentic during this time fame. The measure empowers aggrieved candidates to seek civil action up to a $10,000 fi ne against the person who posted the deep fakes. The bill’s provisions do not apply to news outlets or websites as long as the outlet acknowledges that the authenticity of the deep fake is in question. “Voters deserve to make their decisions on accurate information – and deepfake media makes that diffi cult,” said sponsor Sen. Barry Finegold (D-Andover). ”With artifi cial intelligence rapidly evolving, I am proud to have fi led this proposal that will protect voters from the infl uence of deceptive and fraudulent media this election cycle.” Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen, the Washington D.C. consumer organization founded by Ralph Nader, testifi ed and told the Election Laws Committee that 13 other states have already adopted similar legislation. He said that the upcoming election “is shaping up to be the fi rst very serious deepfake election we’ve ever seen.” “Artificial intelligence has been around for a while,” said Holman. “But only this year, this election cycle, we’ve seen startling new advances where artifi cial intelligence can depict a candidate saying or doing something that they never did. And it’s almost impossible to tell the diff erence between what’s real and what is just entirely computer fabricated.” “It’s not a ban,” continued Holman. “It exempts news media, it exempts broadcasters and even social media platforms that make a reasonable effort to discern whether a communication is a deepfake or not. And it provides the targeted candidate with injunctive relief to try to stop further dissemination of that type of deepfake ad.” $2.4 MILLION FOR SUPPORTIVE AND SOCIAL DAY PROGRAMS – Gov. Maura Healey announced that $2.4 million in grants, ranging from $15,000 to $300,000, will go to 20 organizations and communities to broaden Supportive and Social Day Programs to help community organizations and municipalities expand or launch Supportive and Social Day Programs for older adults and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in their community. Advocates said that recognizing that historically underrepresented communities lack access to Supportive and Social Day Programming, funding will be awarded to rural communities and Gateway Cities, and will focus on developing programs in Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Chinese, Spanish and American Sign Language. “We’re proud to support these organizations that are doing incredible work across our state to serve older adults, especially those who are suff ering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” said Gov. Healey. “It’s important that our older adults and their loved ones can feel confident that they are receiving the best care possible. Our administration is proud to award this funding that will make Massachusetts more welcoming and livable for residents of all ages.” “Social and Supportive Day programs are essential to support our most vulnerable aging adults,” said Secretary of Elder Aff airs Elizabeth Chen. “These programs provide a safe space for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias to gather, stimulate conversation and foster connections. A number of these programs shut down during the pandemic, leaving these residents without a place to go, so the creation and expansion of the awarded programs is so important for our communities’ post-pandemic.”

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