Beacon Hill Roll Call


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Beacon Hill Roll Call

Volume 49 - Report No. 24

June 10-14, 2024

Copyright © 2024 Beacon Hill Roll Call. All Rights Reserved.

By Bob Katzen

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THE HOUSE AND SENATE: Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives’ and senators’ votes on roll calls from the week of June 10-14.


House 155-0, Senate 38-0, approved and sent to Gov. Maura Healey a bill that would prohibit the posting of sexually explicit images of another person online without their permission— commonly referred to as “revenge porn.” The practice is often used by ex-spouses or ex-partners.

Massachusetts is one of only two states that does not have a law about this crime. The measure makes it illegal to break this new law and establishes a sentence of up to 2.5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; increases the upper limit of the fine for criminal harassment from $1,000 to $5,000; allows a victim to petition the court for a harassment prevention order against a person who has violated this statute; and extends the statute of limitations to pursue criminal charges for certain domestic violence offenses from six years to 15 years.

The measure adds coercive control to the definition of abuse. Coercive control is a nonphysical form of abuse that includes a pattern of behavior intended to threaten, intimidate, harass, isolate, control, coerce or compel compliance of a family or household member in a manner that causes the targeted individual to fear physical harm or to have a reduced sense of physical safety or autonomy. Examples of coercive control include threatening to share explicit images, regulating or monitoring a family or household member’s communications and access to services, and isolating a family or household member from friends or relatives.

Another provision changes current law under which minors, under 18 years of age, who share explicit images of themselves or other minors, can be charged with violating Massachusetts child pornography laws and are required to register with the Sex Offender Registry. The bill allows minors to be diverted to an educational program that would provide them with information about the consequences of posting or transmitting indecent visual depictions of minors.

“The House has heard the urgent call of survivors to enhance protections and ensure that our laws keep up with technology,” said Rep. Mike Day (D-Stoneham), House chair of the Judiciary Committee and lead House sponsor of the measure. “But the House does not just listen, we act.”

“After so many years of hard work, we are finally at a stage where we can bring closure to those who continue to suffer the consequences, and live under the threat of, revenge pornography and abusive control,” said Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy), lead Senate sponsor of the legislation. “We are sending a message that this kind of activity will not be tolerated in our commonwealth … Once this bill is signed into law, we will be able to rectify and prevent so many injustices across Massachusetts.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Rep. Jeffrey Roy Yes Sen. Rebecca Rausch Yes Sen. Karen Spilka President rarely votes


House 156-0, approved and sent to the Senate a bill that supporters say would ensure legal parentage equality by protecting LGBTQ+ families, and children born through surrogacy and assisted reproduction, in forming the legal bond of a parent-child relationship.

Supporters said that parental rights and responsibilities are broad and include the ability to attend and make decisions during medical appointments, manage a child’s finances, participate in educational decisions and provide authorizations for a child’s travel. They noted that while Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage 20 years ago, LGBTQ+ residents continue to face significant barriers in obtaining full legal recognition as a parent.

“Today marks a major advancement in the reinforcement of equal rights for LGBTQ+ families in the commonwealth, assuring that children born through assisted reproduction and surrogacy have a clear route to establish their legal parentage,” said Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton), a lead sponsor of the bill. “A child’s relationship to their parents is core to their overall stability and well-being, and it is from that relationship that so many rights and responsibilities flow.”

“The [bill] is a critical piece of legislation for so many families in the commonwealth, particularly LGBTQ+ families,” said Rep. Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), a lead sponsor of the bill. “By updating the commonwealth's parentage laws, we will provide clarity, security and equality in the matters of parentage, reflecting the evolving realities and complexities of assisted reproduction, surrogacy and LGBTQ+ parenthood that has to date left many families vulnerable.”

“What we are doing today is giving a tune up to our statutory structure to reflect the modern and contemporary ways that people become parents whether they are straight or gay,” said Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). “This is a bill that is good for everyone in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Rep. Jeffrey Roy Yes

OPIOIDS (H 4743)

House 153-0, approved and sent to the Senate legislation that supporters say will cover the licensure of recovery coaches who help people with substance use, make opioid overdose reversal drugs more accessible, protect harm reduction providers and remove barriers that new mothers in recovery face at the time they give birth.

Provisions include establishing recovery coach licensing and oversight within the Department of Public Health; and requiring that all health care plans cover recovery coach services and opioid overdose reversal drugs, such as Naloxone, without cost-sharing or prior authorization.

The bill protects public health or harm reduction organizations and their agents who provide drug-checking services, such as needle exchange programs, to reduce the risk of accidental overdose, from civil liability or professional disciplinary action and from being criminally charged or prosecuted for possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal possession of controlled substances.

Another provision removes “physical dependence upon an addictive drug at birth” from the conditions necessitating a child abuse and neglect report, essentially exempting pregnant people taking medications prescribed by their doctor from automatic investigation by the Department of Children and Families.

“The bill passed today builds on the commitment of the House to support individuals and communities across the commonwealth who are dealing with the effects of the opioid crisis,” said Rep. Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston), House chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery.

“This legislation builds on our historical commitment to reducing stigma and providing comprehensive support for individuals in recovery,” said Rep. Jim O'Day (D-West Boylston), lead sponsor of the bill. “By embracing harm reduction strategies, patient education and compassionate care, we are advancing public health and offering renewed hope to those affected by substance use disorders. Together, we are forging a path towards a healthier, more supportive future for all.”

“As families across Massachusetts know all too well, the impact of opioid addiction can be utterly devastating for the individual and for their loved ones, which is why a continued focus on combating substance use is a critical responsibility that we have as elected officials,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy).

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Rep. Jeffrey Roy Yes


Senate 38-0, approved a package designed to benefit veterans in the Bay State by broadening the definition of a veteran, increasing tax credits and state benefits for which they are eligible and modernizing the services on which they rely.

Provisions include requiring a public school district to provide support services to a military-connected student when a parent or guardian is called to active duty; allowing Gold Star Family spouses to remarry without the penalty of losing their annuity benefit; increasing from $2,000 to $2,500 the amount of a tax credit for each qualified veteran hired by an employer; eliminating the fee for specialty license plates for veterans; increasing local flexibility for veterans property tax exemptions; and allowing municipalities to increase the property tax obligation of a veteran in exchange for volunteer services;

Other provisions include modernizing statute language for inclusivity and standardization to ensure gender- neutral and inclusive language while removing antiquated references;   allowing veterans to be reimbursed for visits to outpatient behavioral health providers; providing consistent care to veterans by codifying medical assistance benefits; and creating a working group to study and make recommendations on the use of psychedelics as an alternative therapy for mental health treatments for veterans.

“Very few are brave enough to raise their hand and pledge to defend our nation and the values that we hold dear, no matter the cost,” said Sen. John Velis (D-Westfield), chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. ”It is on us - as a commonwealth - to always remember, recognize and honor that sacrifice however we can.”

“As a commander in the United States Naval Reserves and an Iraq War veteran, it is my great privilege to serve in a body that commits itself time and time again to honoring our nation's armed service members,” said Sen. Mike Rush (D-Boston), vice chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “This legislation passed by the Senate maintains our state’s promise to our service members and their families that they will be honored as they have done for us.”

“We don't rest on our laurels in Massachusetts,” said Sen. John Cronin (D-Fitchburg). “This bill modernizes our laws to ensure that the commonwealth remains second to none delivering veterans services and ensures our vets have the support needed to repatriate into our communities."

The House has approved a different version of the measure and a House-Senate conference committee will work to hammer out a compromise version.

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)

Sen. Rebecca Rausch Yes Sen. Karen Spilka President rarely votes


Senate 38-0. approved an amendment designating June 12 as United States Merchant Marine Day in recognition of the establishment of the United States Merchant Marine on June 12, 1775.

The amendment was approved last week on June 13 and if eventually approved again by both branches, will not take effect until June 12, 2025.

“I co-sponsored this amendment because it rightfully acknowledges the Merchant Marines, who deserve equal recognition among other branches of service,” said Sen. Mike Brady (D-Brockton). “It honors those who have served our country with distinction, affirming their importance.”

“I was honored to co-sponsor and vote for [this amendment] said Sen. Pavel Payano (D-Lawrence). “This amendment would recognize the service of Merchant Marines by installing their flag at veteran cemeteries and the Statehouse as well as creating a Massachusetts Merchant Mariner Medal. I was proud to see the Senate pass the amendment with unanimous support.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment).

Sen. Rebecca Rausch Yes Sen. Karen Spilka President rarely votes


SALES TAX HOLIDAY (H 4751) – The House and Senate approved a measure designating August 10 and August 11 as a sales tax holiday weekend for the Bay State, allowing consumers to buy most products that cost under $2,500 without paying the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. State law currently calls for a 2-day sales tax holiday every year. This bill simply sets the specific dates.

“I was happy to sponsor the legislation establishing this year’s sales tax holiday,” said Rep. Jerry Parisella (D-Beverly). “This bill emphasizes the Legislature’s commitment to supporting local jobs and businesses. Consumers have faced higher prices for goods due to inflation, so this tax-free weekend is a great opportunity to provide individuals, families and businesses across the commonwealth with some relief.”

“The sales tax holiday provides significant relief to families during a time of year where their checkbooks are already stretched from the purchase of back-to-school supplies and other family expenses,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Susan Moran (D-Falmouth). “It's also a vital tool in bolstering our economy, especially for our cherished small businesses, who often operate on thin margins.”

“The sales tax holiday is a great opportunity for residents to get out and support the local businesses in their community and get some shopping done during a time of year when people are gearing up for the fall,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “I’m glad we worked together in the Legislature to get this done for residents again this year.

“Each year, the Legislature’s temporary suspension of the sales tax aims to boost revenue for small businesses and enhance affordability for consumers,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy).

REQUIRE ALARMS IN RESIDENTIAL SWIMMING POOLS HOT TUBS AND SPAS (H 2389) – The House gave initial approval to legislation that would require alarms in all existing, newly-renovated and newly-constructed residential swimming pools, hot tubs and spas. The measure would impose a fine of between $100 and $500 on violators.

“I sponsored this legislation in order to bring a higher level of safety to the commonwealth regarding swimming pools,” said sponsor Rep. Angelo Puppolo (D-Springfield). “The installation of a swimming pool alarm is a simple measure that can save a person’s life. An alarm, when activated, detects when someone enters the pool so that no person is unnoticed whether they are an adult or child.”

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DISABILITY PENSION FOR POLICE OFFICERS (H 2536) – The House gave initial approval to a proposal that would provide a 100 percent regular compensation pension benefit for police officers who have suffered a Violent Act Injury -- defined as “a serious and permanent personal bodily injury sustained as a direct and proximate result of a violent attack upon a person by means of a dangerous weapon, including a firearm, knife, automobile, explosive device or other dangerous weapon.”

"When a police officer is involved in an incident where they have been shot, stabbed or beaten so violently that they are no longer able to work, they should not have to suffer financial devastation as well,” said sponsor Rep. Jessica Ann Giannino (D-Revere). “Their life has already been altered by their physical disability. They should not suffer a financial penalty for stepping up and protecting the communities they serve, nor should their family. These violent crimes are thankfully few and far between, however when an officer is injured serving and protecting so severely that they can no longer work and provide for their family, they should be covered, one hundred percent.”


“It is always a joy to celebrate National Women Veterans Appreciation Day at the Statehouse to honor the remarkable women who have served in our armed forces. We recognize the immense contributions and sacrifices they have made, and their ongoing service to our community, state and country.”

--- Gov. Maura Healey.

“It is such an exciting time of the year for everyone to get outdoors and head out to waterways to have fun and cool off. The last thing anyone wants to have to think about, is if it’s safe to go in the water.”

---EPA Regional Administrator David Cash awarding a $254,000 federal grant to Massachusetts to help coastal communities protect the health of beachgoers.

“Maximizing the use of this technology to bolster the Department of Correction’s range of rehabilitative programming will further help to prepare individuals for their next step toward successful reentry. I commend the [department] for their continued efforts to identify innovative ways to offer continuous programming that improves lives and meaningfully impacts recidivism.”

---Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy announcing the successful implementation of an innovative tablet program that equips incarcerated individuals with personalized electronic devices for access to a wide range of online courses to accelerate education, job skill training and self-improvement programs.

"Massachusetts is one of the only states that disenfranchises voters in an effort to compel residents to fill out the annual municipal census. There are more efficient ways to keep our voter rolls up to date which many other states use without issues. If the Legislature wants to make our democracy more accessible in Massachusetts, they must send this reform to the governor’s desk.”

---The group Common Cause urging repeal of a current law that if a voter does not respond to the annual municipal census, they are penalized by being placed on the inactive voter list. Inactive voters must provide proof of residency and fill out an affidavit form to restore their standing and to cast a ballot that counts.


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 Sena er 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 June 10-14, the House met for a total of 11 hours and 26 minutes and the Senate met for a total of five hours and 41 minutes.

Mon. June 10 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Senate 11:09 a.m. to 11:29 a.m.

Tues. June 11 No House session

No Senate session

Wed. June 12 House 11:02 a.m. to 3:12 p.m.

No Senate session

Thurs. June 13 House 11:02 a.m. to 6:04 p.m.

Senate 11:12 a.m. to 4:33 p.m. .

Fri. June 14 No House session

No Senate session

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at

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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