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The Massachusetts alimony reform bill (H1785) is for now stuck in committee while key legislators are busy with the casino bill battle.

A compromise alimony reform bill is being worked on in the Alimony Reform Task force.

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Cindy Creem

Reforms likely to pass the Senate but not Robert DeLeo’s House of Representatives.

Following Sunday’s Globe exposé of patronage hires at the Probation Department, and yesterday’s move by the Supreme Judicial Court to suspend Probation Commissioner O’Brien, the Senate today proposed a budget amendment to reform some the Probation Department’s most egregious  structural problems, with a proposal that reduces some of the Legislature’s influence in Probation Department hiring.

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Cynthia Creem

Sen. Cynthia Creem may be Softening her Position Against Alimony Reform.

Creem has long been an opponent of Alimony Reform. When the current Alimony Reform bill (H1785) was introduced this year, Creem introduced a counter proposal S1616, sponsored by the various bar associations which would make a single two word change to the current law, and preserve current lack of guidelines. The lack of guidelines make Alimony notoriously contentious to litigate and expensive for both the State and litigants.

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Reps. Murphy, DeLeo and O'Flaherty rewarded for their service to the lawyer's lobby

The Equal Justice Coalition has recognized a number of legislators for their service to the legal community. They are:

  • House Speaker Rep. Robert DeLeo
  • Rep. Charles Murphy
  • Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty
  • Sen. Steven Panagiotakos
  • Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem
  • Sen. Patricia Jehlen

The Equal Justice Coalition is a lawyer’s lobby group which advocates for state funding for legal aid for civil actions by poor clients, to pay for representation in domestic violence actions, divorce actions, child custody etc.

EJC successfully lobbied for $10 million dollars of state funding for the legal community. According to their own press release, when it looked like legal aid would suffer the same budget cuts as our schools:

In published letters, 38 managing partners of law firms, and 107 general counsel attorneys went to bat for legal services. Lawmakers have listened, apparently rescuing MLAC from disaster. Lobbying for legal-aid is no easy task…

And today those lawmakers were rewarded.

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The Massachusetts State House

Today was the legislative deadline to refer bills out of committee. After today, unless your bill was ‘late filed’ or got a special extension – then it’s dead. At least until next year.

I called the legislature about two bills I care about H1400 (Shared Parenting) and H1785 (Alimony Reform) and fortunately both have gotten extensions.  They are both still alive until at least May 7th.

I doubt H1400 will make it out of committee this year. I think it will be successfully blocked by just a few legislators. Even though Shared Parenting is very popular with voters – like many issues – it will be blocked by two committee chairmen – Cindy Creem and Gene O’Flaherty. Read the rest of this entry »

On Thursday March 11th, Cynthia Creem was honored at the Massachusetts Bar Association’s 2010 Gala Dinner with their coveted “Legislator of the Year Award.” And it’s about time. After all, Sen. Creem has been carrying water for the lawyers’ lobbies for years. They say it best themselves:

As the co-chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Creem weighs in on legislation related to criminal law, the courts and civil and equal rights. A sponsor of four bills on behalf of the MBA, Creem has a longstanding history of collaboration with the MBA.

When the various lawyers’ lobbies ( Mass Bar, Boston Bar, Women’s Bar, Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Real Estate Bar etc. etc. )  need to get something done they can count on Creem. She files about 4 bills on their behalf most years.

Cynthia Creem and lawyer lobbyist friends from the WBA

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Charles Rudnick

Charles Rudnick launched a new campaign web site. His message is right on target. Even though Creem has a 2-1 funding advantage, Rudnick has pledged not to take any contributions from lobbyists or PACs:

Charles will fight for you as a full-time legislator and will refuse money from lobbyists, PACs and special interests.

His opponent Cynitha Creem is touting her support of ethics reform, having voted for H4133, a bill which would regulate lobbyists. The bill is a mixed bag. While it would regulate lobbyists, and increase penalties for bribery, the bill further weakens the open meetings law and does not ban outright campaign contributions from lobbyists as other states have done.

To date Creem has not pledged to refuse more campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Candidates are required to disclose their campaign contributions before the primaries. We will see then which of these candidates is the independent progressive.

Cynthia Creem

The public debate over two dueling alimony reform bills has called into question whether Sen. Cynthia Creem has a conflict of interest.

There are two bills currently up for discussion in the Legislature, s1616 and h1785. Both concern time limits for alimony payments.

Massachusetts’ current alimony law does not empower judges to cap the duration of an alimony award, enabling post-divorce settlements that can last a lifetime. The current law has drawn fire from alimony payors who say they’ve been forced for years to pay large percentages of their incomes, occasionally forcing them into bankruptcy. Read the rest of this entry »

Charles Rudnick

Charles Rudnick

An analysis of contributions to Sen. Cynthia Creem shows that her campaign is funded largely by PAC and lobbyist money. Charles Rudnick by contrast has pledged not to take money from lobbyists and PACs and is funded mostly by individuals – family and friends – and a big loan from his own funds.

Cynthia Creem starts off with a commanding campaign financing lead on Charles Rudnick. According to public campaign finance records Cynthia Creem has a political warchest of around $84,000. By comparison Charles Rudnick has raised only about $35,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Charles Rudnick

Charles Rudnick

Cynthia Creem is a six term senator. She’s been in office for 12 long years. She’s a practicing divorce lawyer and has been an opponent of all meaningful judicial reform especially as it pertains to family law reform.

This year we have an excellent opportunity to replace her.

Charles Rudnick has announced he is going to run against her. He’s experienced in Massachusetts politics, having been involved in the campaigns of Warren Tolman and Martha Coakley.

From Wicked Local Brookline:

“To me, it’s pretty simple; I feel strongly that we can do better in the Legislature,” Rudnick said. “They’re mired in scandal and awash in special interest money … I’d like to get in there and make a difference and fight for  progressive issues.”

I don’t know much about him yet, but it sounds like he understands the problem.

RSS Massachusetts Election 2010

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