By Bob Katzen
THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week.
This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call examines the percentage of times in 2012 that local representatives voted with Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo on key roll call votes.
Beacon Hill Roll Call uses 137 key votes from the 2012 House session as the basis for this report. These do not include quorum calls or roll calls that were on local issues.
Forty-two Democratic representatives voted with Speaker DeLeo 100 percent of the time.
The Democratic representative who voted the lowest percentage of times with DeLeo is Rep. Harriett Stanley (D-West Newbury). She supported the speaker 78.4 percent of the time.
Other Democrats on the list of top five representatives who voted the lowest percentage of times with DeLeo include reps. Charles Murphy (D-Burlington), 83.5 percent; Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), 84.5 percent; James Miceli (D-Wilmington), 88.5 percent; and Christopher Fallon (D-Malden), 88.6 percent.
All other Democrats voted with DeLeo at least 90 percent of the time.
As expected, all Republican representatives voted with the speaker fewer times than any Democrat.
The Republican who supported DeLeo the highest percentage of times is Rep. David Vieira (R-Falmouth). He supported the speaker 67.6 percent of the time.
The Republican who supported DeLeo the lowest percentage of the time is Rep. James Lyons (R-Andover), who supported the speaker 51.5 percent of the time.
Here's how local representatives fared in their support of Speaker DeLeo on 137 key roll calls.
The percentage next to the representative's name represents the percentage of times the representative supported DeLeo. The number in parentheses represents the number of times the representative opposed DeLeo.
Some representatives voted on all 137 roll call votes. Others missed one or more of the votes. The percentage for each representative is based on the number of roll calls on which he or she voted and does not count the roll calls for which he or she was absent.
Rep. Jennifer Benson, 99.2% (1)
Rep. Sheila Harrington, 59.3% (54)
ALSO ON BEACON HILL
ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES (S 2381): The House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Deval Patrick a bill that would allow the director of the Massachusetts Environmental Police to exempt out-of-state residents participating in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) races from the 2010 law that a person under 18 must complete a safety course in order to operate a recreational vehicle. The bill also allows the director to exempt out-of-state race participants from the requirement that they register the ATV. The proposal is being pushed by the New England Trail Riders Association (NETRA), which says it rectifies many of the "onerous restrictions" in the 2010 law and allows NETRA to continue to provide events in the state without a lot of the unnecessary restrictions that have discouraged out-of-state participants and resulted in communities and private industry losing tourist dollars.
THIRD GRADE READING (H 4243): Gov. Patrick signed into law a bill creating an Early Literacy Expert Panel to advise the state's Education Department on strategies to have all students in the state reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Supporters said 39 percent of the state's third-grade students read below their grade level. They argued studies show that one in six children who struggle with reading in the third grade never finish high school.
OFF TO STUDY
Various committees recommended that dozens of bills be shipped off to a "study committee" where measures are never actually studied and are essentially defeated. Here are some of the bills meeting that fate:
COLLEGE TAX DEDUCTION (H 1681): This would provide an income-tax deduction for contributions made to college savings plans. Under the proposal, a single person would be entitled to a deduction of up to $5,200 and a married couple up to $10,000.
INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS AND ABORTION (H 1683): This gives each taxpayer the option to indicate on his or her income-tax return that he or she does not want his or her income-tax liability to be used to pay for abortion services defined as "performing abortion, referring for abortion, or counseling for abortion." The portion of the tax liability not being used to pay for these services would be deposited into a special account rather than into the state's General Fund. The special account's revenue would be used to inform people of the state's baby safe havens law that allows a parent to leave their baby under the age of seven days at a police or fire station or hospital emergency room without facing criminal prosecution.
REQUIRE TRAINING OF LOCAL OFFICEHOLDERS (S 1160): This would require members of local boards of health, conservation commissions, planning boards and zoning boards of appeals to attend a state-funded annual program of education and training in the field on which the board focuses.
"The places you go say a lot about who you are. If the government knows where you shop, where you worship, who you visit and where you go to the doctor, it can put together a picture of your entire life."
American Civil Liberties Union Massachusetts staff attorney Laura Rótolo on the federal government's use of automatic devices that randomly read license plates and then search databases for stolen vehicles, wanted individuals and outstanding warrants. The goal is to track criminals.
HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK'S SESSION?
During the week of Sept. 24, the House met for a total of one hour and 17 minutes while the Senate met for a total of one hour and 12 minutes.