Beacon Hill Roll Name | Columns

The House and the Senate: In keeping with tradition, there were no official House and Senate meetings last week, the April vacation week for Bay State students.

This week, Beacon Hill Roll Call reports on amendments from officials and senators to amend the state constitution. Any proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by lawmakers will require a majority of the 200-member legislature in the 2021-2022 session and the same vote in the 2023-2024 session to appear on the November 2024 ballot for voters can decide. None of these proposals have so far been approved, but hearings have already been held on most of them.

Court appointments limited to seven years (H 81) –Limits the appointment of judges to seven years, but allows the governor to reappoint judges every seven years for an unlimited number of years. The appointment would need to be approved by the Board of Governors as required by applicable law.

“The people of Massachusetts should have the power to remove government officials in any position who cannot or cannot do their job,” said the measure’s sponsor, Representative Tom Golden (D-Lowell) helping keep the judges failing remain in office beyond the point in time on which they are effective. “

Ban Significant Domain Revenue From Land (H 82) –Prohibits the state from purchasing land from property owners for private commercial or economic development.

“The right to own property is a widely recognized principle in the Commonwealth and I believe it should be firmly protected,” said Brad Jones (R-North Reading), chairman of the GOP minority who sponsored the change. “[The bill] will ensure that significant domain proceedings are limited to those cases where it is necessary for the good of the community as a whole and not for the economic benefit of a limited group of people. This bill strikes a balance between two competing but legitimate realities – the government’s need to acquire land to serve the common good and the right of private individuals to own property. “

Prohibit constitutional amendments to restrict freedom and equality (S 20) –Prohibits the proposal of any future constitutional amendment that would restrict the constitutional rights to liberty and equality, or the right of every individual to be protected by the laws of society regarding the enjoyment of life, liberty and property.

“Under the current constitutional scheme, nothing prevents a group from suspending or curtailing certain constitutional rights through the initiative process,” said change sponsor Senator Cindy Creem (D-Newton). “Submitting such important rights to a referendum or a fleeting change in the political winds is incomprehensible and should not be allowed.”

Equality according to the law (S 21 and H 83) –Extends part of the constitution that currently provides that equality under the law may not be denied or curtailed on the basis of gender, race, skin color, creed or national origin. The measure adds the sections “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) and Representative Patrick Kearney (D-Scituate) submitted the proposal at the request of one of their voters, Sabrina Holland.

“This legislation … deserves a positive report from the committee and has my full support,” said Sen. O’Connor, who supports the bill. “This language is needed to officially outlaw discrimination based on sexual preference or gender identity, uphold Massachusetts values, and create a genuinely just and safe society for all.”

Neither Rep. Kearney nor Sabrina Holland responded to repeated requests from Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on the proposal. And Rep. Kearney didn’t answer a specific question about whether he supported the bill. Sometimes a lawmaker submits a bill as a courtesy to a voter even if the lawmaker doesn’t support it.

Give the governor authority to appoint the lieutenant governor (H 84) –Grants the governor the power to appoint a lieutenant governor when the office is vacant due to the death, resignation, impeachment, or incapacity of the lieutenant governor. The appointment would have to be confirmed by a majority vote of the House and Senate. Applicable law leaves the seat vacant until the next election.

Action sponsor, Representative Paul Mark (D-Peru), did not respond to repeated requests from the Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on the proposal.

Make constitution gender neutral (H 79) –Makes the state constitution generally neutral by deleting all references to “he” and replacing it with “the person”.

The action sponsor, Representative Mindy Domb (D-Amherst), did not respond to repeated requests from the Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on the proposal.

“Confirm” instead of “solemnly swear” (H 80) –Amends an updated section of the Constitution that allows Quakers to change the oath a person must take upon taking office: “I solemnly swear that I will show true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and support the Constitution thereof . May God help me. ”Currently, Quakers are allowed to change the word“ swear ”to“ affirm ”and the words“ God help me ”with“ under the pains and punishments of perjury. ”The change would give everyone the same option, not just the Quakers.

The action sponsor, Representative Mindy Domb (D-Amherst), did not respond to repeated requests from the Beacon Hill Roll Call to comment on the proposal.

Change “Selectman” to “Select Board” (SD 2564) –Changes all references in the constitution to “Selectman” of a city in “Select Board”.

“This bill would recognize that both men and women can lead local government by updating obsolete references to ‘elect’ in the constitution,” said sponsor Senator Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont). The modern terminology adopted by many cities is “Select Board”.

Also on top of Beacon Hill

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in government institutions –Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. signed an executive order entitled “Leading By Example: Decarbonizing and Minimizing the Environmental Impact of State Government”. The regulation sets goals and requirements to accelerate the state’s decarbonization efforts in government agencies and public universities with a focus on the electrification of buildings and transportation.

According to the regulations, all new buildings in government agencies and on campus must meet strict energy efficiency standards and install highly efficient heating and cooling systems. require all state fleets to buy zero-emission vehicles from next year; Call for the number of EV charging stations installed in government facilities to be doubled by 2030; Setting specific and measurable emissions reduction targets related to fossil fuels for buildings and vehicles used by government agencies.

“The Leading by Example program enables governments to continue to lead and innovate in clean energy and energy efficiency,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This Executive Order will support these continued efforts to reduce emissions and save costs for many of our public universities and buildings.”

“Thanks to the commitment of our public servants and government agencies, the Commonwealth continues to lead by example when it comes to clean energy and climate action, helping us meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets,” said Kathleen Theoharides, Minister for Energy and Environment. “The executive order signed by Governor Baker will make our state government more sustainable and resilient, and lead to environmental benefits in cities across Massachusetts.”

Bay State Ban on the Manufacture of Assault Weapons (SD 2588) –A bill tabled by Sen. Creem would ban the manufacture of offensive weapons that are banned in Massachusetts, except for sales to the military or law enforcement agencies.

“We often speak proud of our strict gun laws in Massachusetts, including our prohibition on assault weapons,” said Sen. Creem. “However, we can no longer ignore the fact that assault weapons built here in Massachusetts are being exported and used to murder our fellow citizens and law enforcement officers in other states. These weapons increase the likelihood of multiple murders. They are designed for military use and do not belong in the hands of civilians. We banned them from being sold here in Massachusetts, and now we must realize our further responsibility to reduce gun violence by banning their manufacture. “

Schools must request information about sexual behavior (SD 2260) –Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) has tabled a bill requiring schools to seek information on allegations of sexual misconduct from previous employers of the applicant as part of their hiring process. “This bill would take important preventive measures to provide children and employees with additional protection from possible future crime,” said Sen. Lovely.

Hae crimes based on victim’s gender (SD 2553) –Senator Brownsberger has filed laws that add gender to the list of categories of the Hate Crime Act, which currently includes race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.

Senator Brownsberger said his legislation will provide additional penalties if men prejudiced against women use violence against women to intimidate them. “The terrible shootings by Asian women in Georgia appear to be motivated by both anti-Asian prejudice and misogyny,” said Senator Brownsberger. “This crime has made it clear to everyone that some crimes against women are driven by hatred of women, and we must impose special penalties on these types of crimes.”

Petite Treason (S 998) –Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) tabled a bill to repeal the current archaic law that provides for “petite treason” to be prosecuted and punished as murder. Petite betrayal dates back to the 1700s and 1800s and is the crime of a subordinate who kills a superior, including a servant or slave who kills his “master”. “Such archaic and racist laws, even if no longer enforced, have no place in general Massachusetts law, and this bill has been tabled to remove that language,” Sen. DiDomenico said.

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