Beacon Hill Roll Call: Aug. 10 to Aug. 14, 2020

Published: 8/21/2020 12:10:30 PM
Modified: 8/21/2020 12:10:17 PM

There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week. This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports local senators’ roll call attendance records for the 2020 session through Aug. 14.

The Senate has held 130 roll call votes so far in 2020. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls on which each senator was present and voting 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.

In the Senate, 89.7 percent (35 senators) have 100 percent roll call attendance records. Only four senators have missed any roll calls.

The senator who missed the most roll calls is Sen. Nick Collins, D-Boston, who missed 11 roll calls (91.5 percent attendance record).

“My wife and I were overjoyed to welcome our second daughter into the world on June 26,” Collins explained. “As a result, I was unable to cast votes in person for several days. All of the votes I missed were while I was on paternity leave. While I take my role as a legislator very seriously, it was incredibly important to be with my wife and daughters in those precious moments.”

Sens. Pat Jehlen, D-Somerville, and Mike Rush, D-West Roxbury, each missed five roll calls (96.1 percent attendance record):

“On Jan. 16, I was home with the flu,” Jehlen said. “There were five roll calls that I missed (that day). It’s the only session I missed.”

“I was out of state on official orders, training with the U.S. Navy from Jan. 10 to Jan. 19,” Rush said.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport, missed one roll call:

“I was in session participating in the debate on the climate change bill and I don’t remember missing a roll call,” Rodrigues said.

The percentage listed next to the senator’s name is the percentage of roll call votes for which the senator was present and voting. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that he or she missed.

Sen. Joanne Comerford — 100 percent (0)

Sen. Anne Gobi — 100 percent (0)

Sen. Adam Hinds — 100 percent (0)

Also up on Beacon Hill Seal eviction records (H 4934)

The Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would allow tenants to ask a court to seal records relating to a recorded eviction in three cases: three years after a recorded eviction, provided no other eviction or landlord action is brought within that time; after satisfaction of any judgment in an eviction or landlord action; and any time after the recording of a no-fault eviction, which is when a landlord decides to end a tenancy because of reasons other than non-payment of rent. For example, the property is being sold and the buyer wants to take ownership of the house with no tenants.

The court would be required to collect and annually report data on the number, type and disposition of eviction, and current law would be amended to more clearly prohibit the inclusion of a minor as a defendant in an eviction action.

“As soon as an eviction is filed, a tenant has an eviction record,” explains the website “Regardless of whether a tenant did something wrong or was actually evicted, the mere fact that they were party to an eviction or housing case is unfairly being used against tenants when they try to rent an apartment. Even winning in court hurts tenants. Unlike criminal records, there is currently no process to seal eviction records, and the records are available online. Children are also being named in eviction proceedings, impacting future housing options for minors.”

“We are anticipating a tsunami of evictions to be filed once the moratorium ends,” said Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, a co-sponsor of the measure. “Rebounding from an eviction is hard enough without a pandemic. This bill would allow people that have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are facing eviction to have a second chance by sealing their records.”

“The bill removes barriers that families may face in securing stable housing after they have recovered from a financial catastrophe,” said Rep. Mike Day, D-Stoneham, vice chair of the Judiciary Committee. “With tailored conditions, we aim to help our residents continue to rebuild their lives and to secure stable housing for themselves and their families.”

Mortgage payment deferral (H 4883)

A bill before the Financial Services Committee would allow borrowers who are struggling to pay their mortgages due to the COVID-19 crisis to defer payments for up to six months. Following the six months, the bank would be required to work with the borrower to maintain the original payment or to agree to a loan modification reducing the monthly payments.

The payments would still have to paid at the end of the term of the loan. The measure also prohibits banks from reporting these deferred payments as late payments on the borrower’s credit report and prevents the bank from foreclosing on the property until 90 days after the pandemic emergency declaration is rescinded by Gov. Charlie Baker.

“These are unprecedented times, and therefore we must take unprecedented actions,” said Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury, the sponsor of the proposal. “Many people have been and will be financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. We must protect these people.”

Suspend MCAS test (S 2814)

The Education Committee accepted only written testimony on a bill that would suspend the requirement that a student take the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test as a graduation requirement for the school year, beginning in the fall of 2020 through the school year ending in 2024.

“Returning to learning in the fall will require complex planning, safety precautions, and possibly dramatic changes to pedagogy and curricula,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton. “As Massachusetts students and teachers do the tireless work of learning recovery and rebuilding community engagement and trust, pressure-filled, high-stakes testing should be the very last thing on their minds. The MCAS test was deeply flawed prior to the onset of the pandemic. COVID-19 has simply increased the urgency around banning its high-stakes nature while ushering in a process that will yield a much better assessment for the commonwealth.”

Local liquor licensing boards (H 4881)

The Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee held a virtual online hearing on legislation that would repeal a current law requiring that liquor licensing boards include at least one member of each leading political party.

“While requiring liquor licensing boards to have at least one member of each party may have made sense in an era where political parties would give liquor licenses to reward their supporters and withhold licenses to punish their enemies, these days have, happily, long since passed,” said the measure’s co-sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem. “Liquor licensing boards should be permitted to appoint the most qualified candidate regardless of party. The bill … would free municipalities from a needless restriction when they seek to fill liquor licensing board vacancies.”

Note: Bob Katzen, publisher of Beacon Hill Roll Call, has a new talk show called “The Bob Katzen Baby Boomer and Gen X Fun and Nostalgia Show” that airs every Sunday between 6 and 8 p.m. You can listen to the show by:

Saying “Play WMEX on” if you have a smart speaker

Downloading the free app on your phone or tablet


Tuning into 1510 AM

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy