Page 20 THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2022 BEACON | FROM Page 18 improvements that will benefi t the men and women who have served our nation and will reside at our commonwealth’s Veterans’ Homes for the years to come,” said Sen. John Velis (D-Westfi eld). “At the same time, we know that this work must continue. The working group established will allow us to have oversight over this implementation, to identify what we need to improve on further, and to continue to work to ensure that the tragedy that took place at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home never happens again.” “The Senate has been clear that we must rethink how we deliver care to veterans of every generation across Massachusetts and ensure that our veterans are connected to their communities,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “We are mindful that issues and circumstances may arise that compel additional thought, reassessment and legislative action and that work will continue. To that end, I am creating a Senate working group, chaired by Sen. John Velis, to review implementation of this important bill, identify and act on issues that may arise requiring additional legislation, and work with the administration to ensure the reforms contained within are implemented as the Legislature intended.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill). Rep. Jessica Giannino Rep. Jeff Turco Sen. Lydia Edwards Yes Yes Yes BENEFITS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES (S 3075) House 153-0, Senate 39-0, approved and sent to Gov. Baker legislation that would support military families who relocate to the Bay State by providing career stability for the spouses of service members and education for their children. Provisions include making it easier for military personnel and their spouses who move to the Bay State to get a Massachusetts professional license, if their job requires one, so that they can continue their civilian careers and provide for their families without interruption; requiring the Commissioner of Education to issue a military spouse a valid certifi cate for teaching if he or she holds a valid teaching license from another state; allowing children of military members to register and enroll in a school district at the same time it is open to the general population by waiving the proof of residency requirement until the student actually begins school; creating a purple-star campus designation for certain schools that are military-kid friendly and show a major commitment to students and families connected to the nation’s military; and requiring that a child or spouse of an active-duty service member in Massachusetts continue to pay the in-state, less expensive tuition rate at state universities even if the service member is assigned to move out of the state. “Our veterans are the best and bravest among us, and while we can never truly repay them for their service to this country, veterans are more than deserving of continued support from those in public offi ce,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “I’m proud that today, with the best interest of our veterans in mind, the Legislature passed legislation that responds to immediate needs in the veteran community such as access to school enrollment for military families that have recently relocated to Massachusetts, and that establishes health education awareness programs and additional acknowledgements of military service, among other provisions.” “The [bill] is a momentous piece of legislation that that will improve the lives of every single service-member, veteran and military family member who resides in our state, now and in the future,” said Sen. John Velis (DWestfield), the Senate Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Aff airs. “The legislation supports our military families in their transition to Massachusetts, introduces new benefi ts and services for veterans and National Guard members, and expands the ways our commonwealth recognizes the sacrifi ces of those who have served.” “The Legislature has made veterans issues a priority from the start of the session,” said Rep. Paul McMurtry (DDedham), House Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Aff airs. “ It’s a great honor to chair the Veterans Committee and bring a great deal of pride to the House as we continue the commonwealth’s long history of recognizing veterans and their families.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill). Rep. Jessica Giannino Rep. Jeff Turco Sen. Lydia Edwards Yes Ye s Ye s $11.3 BILLION TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE (H 5151) House 153-0, Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the governor an $11.3 billion transportation and infrastructure package that includes $1.375 billion for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) modernization and $1.27 billion for non-federally aided roads and bridges. Other provisions include $114 million for airport improvements; $25 million for municipal road pavement improvements; $20 million for municipalities under the Complete Streets Funding Program; $25.5 million for the Mobility Assistance Program; mandating the MBTA to establish a 3-year safety improvement plan with measurable safety objectives; and directing the MBTA to contract with an independent third-party auditor to conduct annual safety audits. “This transportation bond bill provides Massachusetts with the key to unlock once-in-a-generation federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), the Senate chair of the Committee on Transportation. “With these combined state and federal investments, we will be able to complete vital work on our highways, roads, bridges and public transportation systems, improving mobility for all residents of the commonwealth.” “Not only does this bill fund muchneeded transportation repairs for all modes and communities, but it also goes much further to invest in infrastructure that is more modern, environmentally sustainable, and regionally equitable,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “The support for electric vehicles, regional transportation authorities, MBTA safety investments, low-income fares on public transit, expanded East-West connectivity and many other initiatives in this bill will benefi t residents, visitors and businesses throughout Massachusetts.” (A “Yes” vote is for the bill). Rep. Jessica Giannino Rep. Jeff Turco Sen. Lydia Edwards Yes Yes Ye s ALSO UP ON BEACON HILL PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST A PERSON WITH A NATURAL HAIRSTYLE (S 2796) - Gov. Baker signed into law a bill that would make Massachusetts the 18th state in the nation to prohibit any person or entity including educational institutions, workplaces and public spaces from implementing any policy that would explicitly target someone who wears their natural hairstyle. The measure defi nes natural hairstyle as hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles including braids, locks, twists and other formations. “On the long march toward justice, and especially racial justice, the Senate’s unanimous passage of this legislation marks another step forward,” said Sen. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) when the Senate approved the bill before sending it to the governor. “We would not be at this point without the great courage and strength of Mya and Deanna Cook, who as 15-yearold students faced discrimination and abuse from their high school for their hairstyles, and bravely stood up for their rights and those of so many other Black women.” “This is a classic example, in many respects, of a citizen movement started by a very small number of people in which the right thing to do became clearer and clearer the longer the discussion went on,” Baker said upon signing the bill. “I am very glad that this made its way to our desk by the end of the session. I normally, as everybody knows, don’t comment on legislation that’s pending because it has the nasty tendency to change as it works its way through the process, but I said months ago that I hoped this would make it to my desk and I would be able to sign it and I’m very glad this is our fi rst post-pandemic signing ceremony.” ADOPT ANIMALS USED IN RESEARCH – “THE BEAGLE BILL” (S 2992) – The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Baker a bill that would require research labs to make every eff ort to off er healthy animals up for adoption by registered nonprofit animal rescue organizations rather than euthanizing them when the research is done. According to supporters, more than 60,000 dogs—almost all beagles— and nearly 20,000 cats, are used each year for animal experimentation in the United States to advance scientifi c research and to test cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other household products. Currently, many research labs choose to automatically euthanize these cats and dogs once their experiments are over. “The Senate has repeatedly and steadfastly supported this legislation which is intended to give research animals an opportunity to be adopted after they have ended their service in research facilities,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Dogs and other animals involved in research are making tremendous sacrifi ces to save our lives and make us healthier. It is important to recognize our humane obligation to them because we have a moral imperative to give them the opportunity for better lives when their research involvement is done.” “We are so thrilled to have this bill enacted after fi ve years of consideration,” said Cara Zipoli of the Beagle Freedom Project. “We look forward to developing partnerships between our research and animal welfare communities to ensure as many dogs and cats fi nd loving homes as possible.” NEGRO ELECTION DAY (S 2703) – On July 22, Gov. Baker signed into law legislation establishing the third Saturday in July as Negro Election Day. The third Saturday in July this year was July 16 which had already passed by the time Baker signed the bill. So the day passed without it offi cially being Negro Election Day. The Legislature approved and sent the bill to the governor on July 14, just two days ahead of the 16th. The holiday commemorates a historically important event that has taken place in the Bay State since the 18th century. It began when enslaved African-Americans would hold an election of a king or governor as an act of civic engagement and self-governance. The annual celebration began to take place on the 3rd Saturday of July during World War II when many African Americans were engaged in our nation’s critical war eff ort. “This annual celebration demonstrates that our communities of color have always been engaged in our commonwealth’s civic process,” said sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “We must continue to commemorate the meaningful milestones AfricanAmericans have contributed to Massachusetts and our nation today and in all the days going forward.” POACHING (S 2993) – The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Baker a measure that would regulate poaching—the illegal hunting that harms or kills wildlife including fi sh, birds, mammals and endangered or threatened species. Other provisions elevate the fi nes and penalties for poaching; align Massachusetts poaching regulations with other states; and bring Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which helps states to work together to prevent illegal hunting across state lines. Supporters said that it has been close to 100 years since many of the commonwealth’s anti-poaching laws were last updated and noted the absence of action on these laws has resulted in weak, outdated penalties that are just a slap on the wrist. “This legislation fi nally brings our laws, fi nes and penalties in line with other states,” said sponsor Sen. Michael Moore (DMillbury). “It also brings Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network that allows our wildlife protection agencies to share information about poachers with other states. With the passage of this legislation, Massachusetts is making it clear that we will no longer be a safe haven for those who wish to do harm to our wildlife, marine life and ecosystems.” UNDERGROUND RAILROAD MUSEUM (H 5096) – The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill creating a special commission to study the creation of an underground railroad, civil rights and black heritage museum in Springfi eld. The measure says the museum will serve as “a catharsis important to alleviate some of the lingering negative eff ects of the institution of slavery and the discrimination practiced against African Americans, which had state and federal governmental statutory sanction.” It also notes the bill is designed to enhance regional tourism and attract conferences and conventions to the city of Springfi eld. Rep. Bud Williams (D-Springfi eld), the sponsor of the measure, did not respond to repeated requests from Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on his bill. QUOTABLE QUOTES “There is a food truck outside where the food is free for the senators and staff . The Senate will be in a recess.” ---Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont) while presiding over the Senate Sunday afternoon, announcing that a Roxy’s Grilled Cheese truck is on Bowdoin Street just outside the Statehouse. “This new research builds on what we have long suspected – Massachusetts is not building enough housing to meet demand. Massachusetts must ease barriers to construction and promote pro-housing policies to meet this demand. Doing so will incentivize construction, lower prices, and help us address the state’s housing crisis.” ---Greg Vasil, CEO of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board on a new analysis that shows the Greater Boston Metro Area must develop approximately 42,151 apartment units by 2035 to meet projected demand. “Not only was Bill Russell professionally and personally successful, he used this success to advocate on behalf of others and to call out injustice in many forms. Both on basketball courts and in the court of public opinion, Russell changed our country for the better.” ---Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) on the death of Boston Celtics great Bill Russell. “Massachusetts’ vibrant tourism and cultural sectors in cities and towns across the state continue to play a key role in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. By making necessary upgrades to these facilities, the Destination Development grants will bolster the commonwealth’s travel and tourism industry and support continued economic growth.” ---Gov. Baker on the awarding of $2.2 million in grants from the Destination Development Capital program which provides funding for projects that expand, construct, restore or renovate Massachusetts tourism destinations and attractions. 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 dozen s of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session. During the period of July 25-31, the House met for a total of 39 hours and 55 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 45 hours and 44 minutes. Mon. July 25 House 11:09 a.m.to 12:39 p.m. Senate 11:22 a.m. to 1:34 p.m. Tues. July 26 House 11:03 a.m. to 4:46 p.m. Senate 1:14 p.m. to 5:26 p.m. Wed. July 27 No House session No Senate session Thurs. July 28 House 11:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Senate 1:05 p.m. to 6:32 p.m. Fri. July 29 House 11:01 a.m. to 6:42 p.m. Senate 1:10 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Sat. July 30 House 11:01 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. Senate 12:20 p.m. to 5:38 p.m. Sun. July 31 House 12:03 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.(Monday morning August 1) Senate 11:13 a.m. to 10:13 a.m.(Monday morning August 1) Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com Bob founded Beacon Hill Roll Call in 1975 and was inducted into the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) Hall of Fame in 2019.

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