By Bob Katzen
THE HOUSE AND SENATE
There were no roll call votes in the House or Senate last week. Beacon Hill Roll Call reports local senators' roll call attendance record for the 2013 session through Aug. 30.
The Senate has held 183 roll call votes so far in 2013. 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.
Only 17 of the Senate's 40 members have 100 percent roll call attendance records.
The worst roll call attendance record belongs to Sen. Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), who missed 48 roll calls (73.8 percent attendance). The second worst belongs to Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Boston), who missed 23 roll calls (77.7 percent attendance). Her record is based on only 103 roll calls because she won a special election and did not enter the Senate until June.
Rounding out the top five worst are Sens. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), who missed 24 roll calls (86.9 percent attendance); Michael Knapik (R-Westfield), who missed 19 (89.6 percent attendance); and Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) and Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield), who both missed 18 roll calls (90.2 percent attendance).
SENATORS' 2013 ROLL CALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS THROUGH AUG. 30
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 the senator missed.
Sen. Eileen Donoghue, 100 percent (0); Sen. James Eldridge, 99.5 percent (1); Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, 97.3 percent (5).
ALSO ON BEACON HILL
CAMPAIGN VIOLATIONS UPDATE -- Former Lt. Gov. Tim Murray reached an agreement with Attorney General Martha Coakley to forfeit $50,000 in campaign contributions, and pay a $20,000 civil fine and a $10,000 personal fine for accepting campaign contributions unlawfully solicited by former Chelsea Housing Authority Executive Director Michael McLaughlin...Meanwhile, McLaughlin was indicted for illegally soliciting contributions from state employees to Murray's campaign...Former Everett Rep. Stephen "Stat" Smith began serving a four-year prison sentence for his role in submitting fraudulent absentee ballot applications and casting invalid ballots in multiple elections in 2009 and 2010...The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance announced that Rep. Alan Silvia (D-Fall River) has agreed to pay $20,000 to resolve several campaign finance violations.
BAN EXCESSIVE NOISE (H 720) -- In Room A-2 on Nov. 12 at 10 a.m., the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on a bill prohibiting anyone from making any unreasonable or excessive noise in any residential area in Massachusetts between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The measure prohibits sound above 50 decibels or sounds that can be heard within 300 feet.
NO MORE COAL (H 2974) -- Also on the committee's Nov. 12 agenda is a bill that would ban the use of coal burning in the production of electricity after Jan. 1, 2017.
ERGONOMICALLY CORRECT SCHOOLS (H 435) -- A bill that will be heard before the Education Committee on Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. in Room A-1 would establish a special commission to study the ergonomic problems in public schools. Ergonomics is the science of designing equipment, furniture and a building's environment to increase comfort and reduce fatigue. The commission would look into the feasibility of using ergonomic models when new construction or renovation of a school is being considered.
TRACK PURCHASERS OF PREPAID CELL PHONES (H 2912) -- The Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy's Oct. 8 hearing will be in Room A-2 at 10 a.m. One of the bills on the agenda would require retail sellers of prepaid cell phones to request and copy one or more forms of identification, including the name and address of the purchaser of the phone. Customers who purchase prepaid phones are not required to have a credit card or to sign long-term contracts. Under these prepaid plans, a customer opens an account and can pay cash upfront for a specific amount of airtime. When the customer runs out of minutes, he or she can either buy additional minutes or simply end the arrangement and not be under any further obligation. The customer does not have to return the phone, which has become known as a "throwaway" phone.
Another provision would punish any customer who purchases more than three prepaid cell phones in a 24-hour period by imposing up to a $200 fine or six-month prison sentence. Supporters say the sale of prepaid cell phones is not sufficiently regulated and noted that these untraceable, throwaway phones have been used by terrorists. Opponents say the requirement is unnecessary and is another example of government intrusion in the name of safety.
LARGER PRINT REQUIRED (H 3300) -- Also on the committee's agenda is a measure requiring telephone companies to use a font size of at least 8 points when printing phone directories. Sponsors say many seniors and visually disabled persons cannot read the tiny type currently used.
HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK'S SESSION?
During the week of Aug. 26-30, the House met for a total of one hour and 36 minutes while the Senate met for a total of 27 minutes.