By Bob Katzen

THE HOUSE AND SENATE. Beacon Hill Roll Call records local representatives' votes on 10 roll calls from the week of April 22-26. There were no roll calls in the Senate last week.

APPROVE $34 BILLION FISCAL 2014 STATE BUDGET (H 3400): House 127-29, voting strictly along party lines, approved and sent to the Senate an estimated $34 billion state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

All Republicans voted against it while all Democrats present voted in favor. The Senate will soon draft and approve its own version.

A House-Senate conference committee will eventually craft a plan that will be approved by the House and Senate and then sent to Gov. Deval Patrick.

The House on the floor added an estimated $135 million over a three-day period. While some controversial amendments were debated on the House floor, most of the work was done behind the scenes.

Individual representatives filed dozens of amendments on the same general subject matters, including local aid, social services and public safety. They were then invited to "subject meetings" at which they pitched their amendments to Democratic leaders who drafted "consolidated amendments" that were brought to the House floor for consideration and easily approved.

(A "Yes" vote is for the budget. A "No" vote is against the budget.)

YES: Rep. Jennifer Benson.

NO: Rep. Sheila Harrington.


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DELAY MEALS-TAX HOLIDAY (H 3400): House 115-39, approved an amendment indefinitely delaying a proposal that would exempt diners from paying the state's 6.25 percent meals tax this year between Aug. 11 and Aug. 15. The amendment would require the Tax Expenditure Commission, established in 2011, to examine the issue of tax holidays, including a meals-tax holiday, and give the Legislature a report by Aug. 1. The report would include the impact of tax holidays on the state's economy, tax revenue, transportation, local aid and ancillary economic activity.

(A "Yes" vote is for the study. A "No" vote is against the study.)

YES: Reps. Benson.

NO: Rep. Harrington.

DELAY PROHIBITING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS' LOW TUITION (H 3400): House 107-46, approved an amendment indefinitely delaying a proposal to prohibit illegal-immigrant students from paying the preferred, lower in-state tuition rates and fees at Massachusetts colleges and universities. The amendment would replace the proposal with a study of the issue by the Higher Education Committee.

(A "Yes" vote is for the study. A "No" vote is against the study.)

YES: Rep. Benson.

NO: Rep. Harrington.

STUDY DEATH PENALTY (H 3400): House 119-38, approved an amendment that would replace a proposal reinstating the death penalty in very specific cases with a study to investigate the fiscal, social, economic and judicial impact of capital punishment.

(A "Yes" vote is for the study. A "No" vote is against the study.)

YES: Rep. Benson.

NO: Rep. Harrington.

DELAY NEW EBT CARD TECHNOLOGY (H 3400): House 106-51, approved an amendment delaying the implementation of a proposal to make changes and use technology to ensure that welfare recipients who receive Electronic Benefit Transfer cards are not using the card to purchase restricted goods. The amendment would replace the proposal with a study of the issue by the state.

(A "Yes" vote is for the study. A "No" vote is against the study.)

YES: Rep. Benson.

NO: Rep. Harrington.

STUDY TRANSGENDER ISSUE (H 3400): House 112-44, approved an amendment delaying the implementation of a proposal to require transgender students and others, when using a "sex-segregated" public facility, to use the one that is labeled for his or her anatomical sex of male or female, regardless of his or her gender identity.

The amendment would replace the proposal with a study of the issue. The proposal was made in response to an advisory by state educational officials that a transgendered student "may access the restroom, locker room and changing facility that corresponds to the student's gender identity."

(A "Yes" vote is for the study. A "No" vote is against the study.)

YES: Rep. Benson.

NO: Rep. Harringtoni.

REDUCE SALES AND INCOME TAXES TO 5 PERCENT (H 3400): House 35-120, rejected an amendment reducing the 6.25 percent sales tax and 5.25 percent income tax to 5 percent over the next five years.

(A "Yes" vote is for reducing the two taxes. A "No" vote is against the reduction.)

YES: Harrington.

NO: Benson.

REQUIRING SOME COLLEGES TO PAY NEW EXCISE TAX (H 3400): House 11-144, rejected an amendment that would impose an excise tax on private universities that have an endowment fund in excess of $5 billion.

The tax would be 2.5 percent of the institution's funds that exceed $5 billion. Current state law exempts nonprofit institutions, including universities and hospitals, from paying property taxes.

Amendment supporters said these universities can easily afford this "luxury tax" and should be paying their fair share.

Some amendment opponents said that the amendment is likely unconstitutional. Others noted these universities boost the local economy, create jobs that and some already pay their host communities millions of dollars under the voluntary Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.

(A "Yes" vote is for the tax. A "No" vote is against the tax.)

NO: Reps. Benson, Golden, Harrington.

TAX AMNESTY PROGRAM (H 3400): House 40-116, rejected an amendment creating a tax amnesty program that waives penalties for taxpayers who voluntarily file an overdue tax return or pay a delinquent tax liability within a two-month period to be determined by the state. The program does not waive the tax itself or the interest.

Some of the revenue would be used for municipal police training and some to enforce restrictions on EBT cards used by welfare recipients.

(A "Yes" vote is for the tax amnesty. A "No" vote is against the tax amnesty.)

YES: Harringon.

NO: Rep. Benson.

PUNISH "SANCTUARY" CITIES AND TOWNS (H 3400): House 31-125, rejected an amendment that would withhold local aid from any cities or towns that do not enforce federal immigration laws.

The withholding would also apply to communities that have established themselves as "sanctuary" cities or towns that offer protection in a variety of ways to illegal immigrants.

(A "Yes" vote is for cutting off local aid to sanctuary cities and towns. A "No" vote is against cutting it off.)

YES: Harrington.

NO: Benson.

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK'S SESSION?: During the week of April 22-26, the House met for a total of 35 hours and 33 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 43 minutes.

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com.