BACON HILL ROLL CALL

WHAT ALL OF WEYMOUTH AND PART OF HINGHAM ARE STUCK WITH ON BACON HILL

Bacon Hill “representatives” on roll calls from the week of Feb. 4 to 8.

DECLARING RESIDENCY NOT VALID (H 55)

The House, 38-119, rejected an amendment providing that “self-declaration of residency” not be accepted as a valid form of residency notification for people seeking taxpayer-funded benefits from the state.

Amendment supporters said many people are cheating the welfare system by being allowed to simply state their addresses; verification is not required. They argued that a crackdown would save the state millions of dollars.

Amendment opponents offered no arguments.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment. A “No” vote is against requiring it.)

Rep. Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy, Weymouth No

Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth, Hingham No

LOWER TUITION RATES FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (H 55)

The House, 123-31, approved a Democratic sponsored amendment indefinitely delaying a Republican-sponsored 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.

Some supporters of the study acknowledge that they oppose the ban and favor the study because it kills the ban while avoiding a direct vote on it.

They said many of these students were babies when they were brought here by their parents and had no choice about entering the country illegally. They noted some hardworking students are currently required to pay out-of-state tuition rates that are up to five times higher than the in-state rate.

Opponents of the study said the “study” is a blatant, age-old tactic by Democrats to kill the ban by studying it “to death” and avoiding an up or down vote on it. They noted that past experience shows that none of these alleged studies are actually done. They argued that the state should not offer financial rewards to anyone who has broken the law and is in this country illegally. Some argued that it is outrageous to offer low tuition rates to these students while legal citizens from outside Massachusetts, including war veterans, are required to pay higher rates if they attend a Massachusetts state school.

(A “Yes” vote is for the study. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy, Weymouth No

Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth, Hingham No

STRIP WELFARE DEPARTMENT OF POLICING POWERS (H 55)

The House, 43-112, rejected an amendment requiring the development of a plan to strip the Department of Transitional Assistance (Welfare Department) of its power to police welfare fraud and transfer that power to the state inspector general. The proposal comes on the heels of a recent report by Inspector General Glenn Cunha’s office that an estimated $25 million is going to people who are not eligible to collect welfare.

Amendment supporters said the Welfare Department is obviously incapable of policing itself. They argued that the inspector general would do a much better job and save the state million of dollars.

Amendment opponents said they are concerned about the cheating and the loss of $25 million. They argued that the issue should be addressed in a comprehensive way in the future.

(A “Yes” vote is for the plan to strip the Welfare Department. A “No” vote is against the plan.)

Rep. Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy, Weymouth No

Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth, Hingham No

$500,000 FOR SCHOOL SAFETY (H 55)

The House, 29-126, rejected an amendment providing $500,000 to suburban and rural schools to improve school safety and security. The measure creates a $25,000-per-school competitive grant program for school districts with fewer than 5,000 students.

Amendment supporters said this is a response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. They argued that urban communities are currently eligible for federal grants and smaller communities are not.

Amendment opponents said they are supportive of increased school safety but urged the House to wait until a comprehensive plan for school safety and security, perhaps including these grants, is considered later in the year.

(A “Yes” vote is for the $500,000. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy, Weymouth No

Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth, Hingham No

RESTORE SOME LOCAL AID (H 55)

The House, 29-126, rejected a proposal to provide $5.25 million to reimburse communities for the cost of transporting homeless students to and from their school, $11.5 million for extraordinary special-education costs and $1 million to regional school districts for the transportation of pupils.

The funding would only take effect if tax revenue receipts exceeded the revenue estimates. Amendment supporters said these funds were cut by Gov. Deval Patrick in December to try to balance the current state budget in light of decreased state tax revenue. They argued that the programs are important and that funding should be restored if revenues pick up.

Amendment opponents said the state cannot afford to provide the funding. They noted that even with the cuts, all three accounts are funded at higher levels than last year, and that the homeless-student funding did not even exist last year.

(A “Yes” vote is for the funding. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy, Weymouth No

Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth, Hingham No

© Copyright 2013 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed
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