SENATE SESSION – MONDAY, NOV. 13, 2017
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CONVENES: The Senate convened at 11:14 a.m. with Sen. Brownsberger of Belmont presiding and Sen. Tarr of Gloucester present.
RESOLUTIONS: The Senate adopted a Sen. Rush resolution congratulating a retiree.
RECESS: Sen. Brownsberger called a brief recess, then spoke with Sen. Tarr. The time was 11:15 a.m.
SICK LEAVE: The Senate referred to the Public Service Committee a Sen. Ross and Rep. Dooley petition regarding a sick leave bank.
SHEFFIELD LAND: The Senate ordered to third reading S 2102 authorizing the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority to convey a certain parcel of land in the town of Sheffield to the Great Barrington Housing Authority.
LYNNFIELD LAND: The Senate ordered to third reading and then engrossed H 4010 authorizing the town of Lynnfield to convey certain land.
VETS TAX CHECK-OFF: The Senate ordered to third rearding H 4019 authorizing any town or city to designate a check-off box on certain tax bills to fund a Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Celebration Fund.
RECESS: The Senate stood in recess at 11:18 a.m.
FALL RIVER BRIDGE: The Senate referred to the Transportation Committee a Rep. Fiola and Sen. Rodrigues petition relative to designating a certain bridge in the city of Fall River as the Ronald Costa bridge.
RECESS: The Senate stood in recess at 11:18 a.m. Sen. Rodrigues of Westport entered the chamber.
RETURNS: The Senate returned to order at 11:21 a.m.
Sen. Brownsberger said, We're waiting for some legislation and the Senate will be in recess subject to the call of the chair.
RECESS: The Senate entered recess at 11:21 a.m. with the time of return left subject to the call of the chair.
LYNNFIELD LAND: The Senate enacted H 4010 authorizing the town of Lynnfield to convey certain land.
Sen. Lewis entered the chamber.
FREE BIRTH CONTROL: Question came on ordering to a third reading H 4009 to advance contraceptive coverage and economic security in Massachusetts with a Senate Ways and Means Committee amendment pending.
Sen. Tarr said, This is an important piece of legislation and while it still has a fair way to go and my understanding is that we can discuss this before the final vote I would still ask before we engross this bill in informal session today that someone tells us what this bill would do and what's it's cost impact, if any, would be to the state.
Sen. Lewis said, I thank the minority leader for his question about the ACCESS act, which protects coverage without mandating cost-sharing for all unique FDA approved contraceptives. The legislation limits the ability of insurers to impose restrictions and delays in coverage while allowing reasonable, medical action in a given contraceptive method category. The bill also require coverage for a single dispensing of birth control intends to last for up to 12 months. It eliminates barriers to no-pay coverage for emergency contraceptives available over the counter. The minority leader asked the important question of cost. The Center for Health Information and Analysis reported in October that it would add between 7 cents and 20 cents to premiums per month per member. So it is, I think we can agree, a modest price to pay to ensure access to necessary contraceptives for all those women and families who need them. The ACCESS Act is supported by Planned Parenthood and all Massachusetts health insurers, including the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The Senate adopted a Ways and Means amendment substituting for H 4010 the text of S 2210, ordered the to a third reading, and engrossed the bill.
Sen. Tarr asked if the Senate would have the opportunity to roll call the bill when it returns from the House on enactment. Sen. Brownsberger told him that would be possible.
ADJOURNS: The Senate adjourned at 4:56 p.m. to meet next on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in a full formal session.
DISCLAIMER: Bill texts and histories are available at www.malegislature.gov. All votes are voice votes, unless otherwise noted. Bills ordered to third reading have been given initial approval. To engross a bill is to pass it and send it to the other branch. The last of three votes taken on bills that reach the governor's desk is the vote on enactment. So, it's third reading (initial approval), engrossment (passage) and enactment. The News Service coverage of legislative debate is an accurate summary of remarks, not a verbatim transcript.