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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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Alimony Reform almost certain to get a second extension. Shared Parenting and CORI Reform on life-support.

This year’s deadline for legislative committees to act on bills was March 17th. Any bill that was not referred out of committee or extended on that day is dead for this legislative session. But a committee may give certain bills and extension order – this year until May 7th.

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The biggest problem with the Massachusetts House of Representatives is that representatives are more afraid of crossing the Speaker than crossing the voters. They will take votes which they know are unpopular with voters in their district and which they don’t agree with themselves in order to make sure that they are in the good graces of the current Speaker.

Today the Speaker is Robert DeLeo. DeLeo’s father Al spent 50 years working the floor of the Turf Club at Suffolk Downs. Protecting and expanding gambling in Massachusetts is a personal mission for DeLeo. And, as Speaker, DeLeo controls who in the House gets to be part of his ‘leadership team,’ who gets the committee chairmanships, and who gets invited to the closed door meetings where the real policy of the legislature gets decided.

Legislators are more afraid of the consequences of crossing DeLeo on this issue than they are of crossing the voters.

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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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Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty

Representative Eugene O’Flaherty is House Chair of the Judiciary Committee. In that position he has the power to block any legal reform he doesn’t like. No matter how popular the reform, or how much public or legislative support it has, if he doesn’t like it, it doesn’t go through.

And there is a long list of popular reforms that he’s been able to block for years. Many eventually get through – but not before a lot of damage is done.

This year O’Flaherty is blocking:

  • CORI Reform (H3523),
  • Shared Parenting (H1400)
  • Alimony Reform (H1785)

Each of these bills have been introduced for the past several years. All of them have wide popular and legislative support. Many legislators have legitimate differences over over these bills – but they have never gotten an opportunity to debate them – because O’Flaherty has already decided – they aren’t coming out of committee. Whether you are for them or against them, I think all people of good will believe that these are the types of issues which should be debated before the entire legislature, and where legislators, as representatives of the people can vote their conscience.

But Rep. O’Flaherty doesn’t think so. And even though he represents only the city of Chelsea, he is happy to decide these issues for everyone. His answer is “no”.

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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 »

RSS Massachusetts Election 2010

  • Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren First Debate Video September 21, 2012
    The candidates came out swinging. Brown started by immediately questioning Warren’s claim of being a native american saying that “She checked the box claiming she’s a Native American, and clearly she’s not. The only way to set the record straight is to release your personnel records … and you refuse to release your records, and […]
    rafael
  • Elizabeth Warren: Is She Anti-Business? September 13, 2012
    rafael
  • Ron Paul Responds to TSA: Introduces ‘American Traveler Dignity Act’ November 19, 2010
    Ron Paul continues to be a true American hero.
    Massachusetts Election 2010
  • Taking Down Scotty Brown November 9, 2010
    Could any Dems topple #41 in six weeks? Now that the 2010 election is behind us, we can begin to focus on the truly...
    Conor Yunits
  • Post Election Analysis: What are people saying? November 5, 2010
    Republicans were disappointed that they lost all their congressional challenges, and all their races for statewide constitutional offices. Democrats are savoring a “clean sweep” in Massachusetts in the middle of a devastating collapse at the national level. There are many good post election analysis articles out on the web worth looking at. I don’t have […] […]
    Massachusetts Election 2010
  • Video: Barney Frank’s Graceless Victory Speech November 4, 2010
    Frank calls out his opponents including the Herald, by name – and the Herald has a reaction: Newspapers live for moments like the one Barney Frank gave us on election night. To be called out – by name – by a 30-year incumbent. It doesn’t get any better than that. Now you’d think that a […]
    Massachusetts Election 2010
  • Video: Rep. Elect Dan Winslow and Sen. Bob Hedlund on the Future of the Massachusetts Republican Party November 4, 2010
    Massachusetts Election 2010
  • Video: Charlie Baker's Concession Speech November 4, 2010
    Massachusetts Election 2010
  • Joe Van Nes: A Final Message November 4, 2010
    I congratulate Bill Keating on his win. This letter is not aimed at him, just the system in general in which we all live. I hope Mr. Keating has the ability to stand up to special interests and keep the people in mind when he is tempted with money and power. I would also like […]
    Joe Van Nes
  • Massachusetts 2010 Ballot Questions Election Results: Yes, No, No November 4, 2010
    Question – 1-Drop Alcohol Sales Tax – Ballot Issue 2119 of 2168 Precincts Reporting – 98% Name Votes Vote % Yes 1,107,141 52% No 1,029,925 48% [section_spacer] [section_spacer] [section_spacer] Question – 2-Repeal Housing Permit Option – Ballot Issue 2105 of 2168 Precincts Reporting – 97% Name Votes Vote % No 1,212,121 58% Yes 860,661 42% […]
    Massachusetts Election 2010