By Bob Katzen
THE HOUSE AND SENATE: There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate during the week of August 27-31.
Beacon Hill Roll Call reports local representatives' roll call attendance records for the 2012 session through August 31.
The House has held 194 roll call votes. Beacon Hill Roll Call tabulates the number of roll calls for which each representative was present and voting and then calculates that number as a percentage of the total roll call votes held. That percentage is the roll call attendance record.
Thirteen quorum roll calls, used to gather a majority of members onto the House floor to conduct business, are also included in the 194 roll calls. On quorum roll calls, members simply vote "present" in order to indicate their presence in the chamber. When a representative does not indicate his or her presence on a quorum roll call, we count that as a roll call absence just like any other roll call absence.
Only 35 percent or 56 of the 159 House members have perfect 100 percent roll call attendance records.
The worst roll call attendance record belongs to Rep. Harold Naughton (D-Clinton), who missed 98 roll calls (48.9 percent roll call attendance record). Naughton missed the roll calls while on active duty in Afghanistan as a Captain with the United States Army Reserve. The second and third worst records belong to Reps. Charles Murphy (D-Burlington), who missed 81 roll calls (58.2 percent roll call attendance record) and Harriett Stanley (D-West Newbury), who missed 60 roll calls (69.0 percent roll call attendance record). Neither one returned our repeated phone calls and emails asking the reason they missed so many votes.
Rounding out the top 10 worst records are Reps. Robert Koczera (D-Springfield), who missed 28 roll calls (85.5 percent attendance); Geraldine Creedon (D-Brockton), who missed 24 roll calls (87.6 percent attendance); John Binienda (D-Worcester), who missed 23 roll calls (88.1 percent attendance); Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), who missed 22 roll calls (88.6 percent attendance); Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington), who missed 21 roll calls (89.1 percent attendance); Carlos Henriquez (D-Boston), who missed 20 roll calls (89.6 percent attendance); and Byron Rushing (D-Boston) and John Fernandez (D-Milford), who both missed 16 roll calls (92.2 percent attendance).
LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES' 2012 ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS: The percentage listed next to the representative's name is the percentage of roll call votes for which he or she was present and voting. The number in parentheses represents the number of roll calls that the representative missed.
Rep. Jennifer Benson: 98.9% (2)
Rep. Sheila Harrington: 97.4% (5)
ALSO ON BEACON HILL
SELLING A CHILD (H 1308): The House gave initial approval to a bill that would impose up to a five-year prison sentence on anyone who trades, purchases or sells a minor child. The measure also increases from up to one year in prison to up to 2.5 years in prison the penalty for concealing the death of a child. The measure also strikes a section of the current law that applies the concealment penalty only to a child "born out of wedlock."
MALE BREAST CANCER (H 4019): The House and Senate approved a measure designating the third week in October of each year as Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week to raise awareness of the occurrence of breast cancer in men and to encourage regular screenings. Only final approval is needed in each branch prior to the measure going to Gov. Deval Patrick.
FLAGS AT HALF STAFF (H 1749): With September 11 just around the corner, awaiting further House action is a bill that would require the state flag to be flown at half staff annually on that date in memory of the thousands who perished. The measure was given initial approval by the House in December. The same bill in 2010 was given initial approval by the House but it remained in a committee and eventually died.
CHILD ABUSE (H 50): The bill adding school bus operators to the current list of professionals required to report instances of the abuse, sexual abuse or neglect of a child under 18 is also stuck in the House. The current list of mandated reporters includes doctors and other medical personnel, teachers and educational personnel, police officers, firefighters and many human service professionals. The House gave the proposal initial approval on January 18.
NO ROBOCALLS TO CELL PHONES (H 3858): Approved by the House in July but stuck in the Senate since then is a bill that would prohibit robocalls to cell phones and other mobile electronic devices. The measure exempts messages from school districts to students, parents or employees; from companies advising employees of work schedules; from correctional facilities advising victims; and from municipalities and state government. It also would fine companies up to $10,000 if they make a robocall except as defined by the law and allow individuals who are called to sue a company for $10,000 in damages.
According to Secretary of State William Galvin, the number of registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the Thursday, Sept. 6, state primary election. The Legislature and Gov. Patrick moved the election from Tuesday, Sept. 18, to Thursday, Sept. 6, to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, which falls on Sept. 16-18.
"I've been star-struck most of the time, so I'm really grateful for this opportunity."
From a State House News Service interview with 18-year-old Wakefield resident Evan Kenney, the state's youngest delegate to the Republican National Convention.
The percentage of likely U.S. voters who consider both the Democratic and GOP national conventions a waste of time and money, according to a new Rasmussen poll. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
"We found compelling evidence that these companies conspired to fix prices and overcharge consumers for some of the most popular e-book titles. Today's settlement paves the way for restitution for consumers harmed by the scheme and restores competition in the e-book market by promoting competition among retailers."
Attorney General Martha Coakley announcing that book publishers HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have agreed to pay more than $69 million to consumers who were overcharged for electronic books. Massachusetts consumers' share of the settlement is more than $2 million.
"Children are not toys or property. They are human beings whose lives need to be valued, and anyone hiding the death of a child or selling a child must be prosecuted.
Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) on approval of her bill that would impose up to a five-year prison sentence on anyone who buys or sells a child and increase the prison sentence for concealing the death of a child.
HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK'S SESSION? During the week of Aug. 27-31, the House met for a total of 47 minutes while the Senate met for a total of one hour and five minutes.
Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.