The legislative session ended on Tuesday, July 31st for the Massachusetts House and Senate. As usual, there was a flurry of last minute activity. Here are a few legislative actions worth mentioning and how our local elected officials voted.
Three Strikes Bill Gets Governor’s Support – After some haggling with the legislature on the mandatory sentencing crime bill for serial offenders, Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law.
Local State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and State Senator Anthony Petruccelli voted in favor of the legislation, also known as Melissa’s Law. The name comes from when a convicted serial killer was released and murdered a Jamaica Plain woman. The law will take away the opportunity of parole for criminals that have been convicted of three violent crimes of which one resulted in at least a three-year sentence.
Foreclosure Prevention Bill – The “Act to Prevent Unlawful and Unnecessary Foreclosures” was passed this week by both the House and Senate. The bill would require banks to modify loan terms before foreclosing on a home in certain cases. Specifically, if the lender would lose more money by foreclosing rather than making the changes to benefit the borrower, the bank would be required to modify the loan. Industry banking groups opposed the bill, but it was supported by consumer advocates. A sticking point came up over whether to require mediation but that was not included in the final bill. State Senator Anthony Petruccelli and Representative Aaron Michlewitz both supported the Foreclosure Prevention Bill.
Bottle Bill Expansion Scrapped – The bottle bill expansion died in committee and was taken out of a Senate jobs bill after opposition from the House could not be resolved. The bill would have expanded the existing recycling 5-cent bottle deposit beyond soda and beer to include plastic water bottles, juices, and sports drinks. Some called it a tax while others supported the recycling incentive. In the North End, the debate on the bottle bill centers more on whether it helps clean up parks and streets or just encourages more trash-pickers.