HOUSE SESSION - WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2018
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CONVENES: Rep. Donato of Medford banged the gavel and called the House to order at 11:01 a.m. Reps. Wong and Gifford were also present.
PRAYER: Father Rick Walsh said, Let us pray. God of beauty and strength, we give thanks for this sunshine and fair weather after yesterday's strong thunderstorms. We are grateful the damage was limited in scope. We remember that it was on this day in 1874 that the Mill River Dam collapsed, sending a 30-foot wall of water to flood mill villages in Northampton and killing 139 persons. At the time, there was no precedent for the state to provide direct relief to a town, but legislators eventually granted $125,000 to rebuild a road. A later investigation found the dam was poorly constructed to save money. No charges were ever filed but it led to improvements in public safety, including standards for the building of dams. We are grateful for this. May God bless our commonwealth.
PLEDGE: Members, staff and guests rose to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
SICK LEAVE -- EP: By a standing vote of 3-0, the House attached an emergency preamble to H 4354 establishing a sick leave bank for Sara Parmenter, an employee of the Department of Corrections.
BROOKFIELD HOUSING AUTHORITY: The House enacted S 2146 authorizing the Brookfield Housing Authority to convey a certain parcel of land and the buildings thereon.
RESOLUTIONS: The House adopted several congratulatory resolutions.
LIFE SCIENCES BOND BILL: Question came on ordering to a third reading H 4432 providing continued investment in the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth. The House rejected an amendment recommended by the House Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. The House then adopted an amendment offered by the Ways and Means Committee and ordered the bill as amended (H 4501) to a third reading.
MUSICIAN LAUREATE: The House ordered to a third reading S 2225 to create the title of musician laureate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
SICK LEAVE: The House ordered to a third reading H 4474 establishing a sick leave bank for Maria Benitez, an employee of the Department of Children and Families.
SICK LEAVE: The House ordered to a third reading H 4484 establishing a sick leave bank for Barbara Harrington, an employee of the Department of State Police.
RECESS: At 11:11 a.m., the House recessed until 1 p.m. Rep. Donato asked the court officers to tell the Democrats of a caucus in Room A-1 at noon.
RETURNS: The House returned to order at 1:02 p.m. with House Speaker DeLeo on the rostrum. Reps. Kelcourse, D'Emilia, Donato and Gifford were also present.
Rep. Donto doubted the presence of a quorum. Speaker DeLeo declared a quorum was not present and asked the court officers to summons the members for a quorum roll call vote.
At 1:20 p.m., Rep. Donato withdrew his request for a quorum roll call vote.
GUEST: House Speaker DeLeo said, Before we begin today's debate, we are honored to have with us a professor who is a guest of graduates of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. We would like to welcome Jane Mansbridge, she is the recipient of the equivalent to the Nobel Prize in political science. She is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a leader on the issues of democratic theory.
Members, staff and guests applauded. House Speaker DeLeo recognized Rep. Ferrante.
Rep. Ferrante said, Professor Mansbridge, please come up here. On behalf of reps who attended the Harvard Kennedy School, I am pleased to present you with commendation from the House of Representatives. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do.
Members, staff and guests applauded.
Jane Mansbridge said, I am of course very honored by your having invited me here today. As someone who teaches democratic theory, I can say I am very proud to be a citizen of Massachusetts. Thank you so much.
Members, staff and guests applauded.
As he left the chamber at 1:28 p.m., House Speaker DeLeo embraced Rep. O'Day and then stopped to chat briefly with Rep. Pignatelli. The speaker was introduced to an intern working for Rep. Ferguson and stopped to talk with the intern for a few minutes. Just before ducking into his office, Speaker DeLeo spoke with Rep. Madaro.
Rep. Donato of Medford assumed the gavel from Speaker DeLeo.
GUESTS: Rep. Donato introduced guests of Reps. DiZoglio and F. Moran, the Lawrence High School basketball team, the Merrimack Valley Conference champions. Time was 1:35 p.m.
GUEST: Rep. Donato introduced Don McLean, a guest of Reps. Ayers, Cusack and Driscoll who served for 32 years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and is now running for the position of National 3rd Vice-chair of AMVETS.
GUESTS: Rep. Donato introduced guests of Reps. Fiola, Schmid and Silvia, young women from Durfee High School in Fall River, who are visiting the State House as part of women's advocacy day. Time was 1:43 p.m.
LIFE SCIENCES BOND BILL: Question came on passing to be engrossed H 4501 providing continued investment in the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth.
Rep. Wagner said, Thank you, I rise in support of this bill. I ask that a vote is taken by a call of the yeas and nays.
There was sufficient support for a roll call vote.
Rep. Wagner said, I'd like to give a quick overview. The bill provides targeted investment to promote growth and innovation in the life sciences. It builds on the 2008 initiative, demonstrating our renewed commitment to the life sciences economy here. Myself and others have discussed with the administration, colleagues, stakeholders and others as we prepared this bill. With the tools to invest in our people and research institutions, Massachusetts can strengthen its position at the forefront of the life sciences industry while supporting job growth and innovation. I think to provide appropriate context, if you will indulge me I would like to take you back to 2008 and enacted a 10-year, $1 billion commitment. We follow up on that here today. That 2008 initiative had three prongs -- the first is the capital fund. In 2008 we authorized $500 million in capital for infrastructure projects to be distributed to colleges, universities and research institutions. There was $30 million in authorization remaining at the beginning of the fiscal year. Those dollars serve a crucial role in funding lab space. Eighty projects around the state received funding and have benefitted from our commitment. Another result has been significant investment in STEM equipment in our schools. Over $16.3 million in STEM grants have been awarded. These grants made it to every gateway city and every voke/tech school in the state. The second part was tax incentives, $250 million over 10 years. Over 10 years, Mass. Life Sciences Center has offered 11 different incentive programs resulting in nearly 9,000 new jobs. These credits have been a successful tool in expanding the sector's footprint beyond Route 128. Over the past 10 years, we had clawback provisions and the center has brought back $60 million where performance standards were not met. We expected a return on our investment and where that didn't happen we clawed back the tax credits. The third is the investment fund, also $250 million for grants and loans to leverage private investment and to fund workplace training. The outline for this legislation follows closely what we did 10 years ago. We keep the three funding categories, and we provide $462.97 million for the capital fund. This authorization includes $149.75 million for innovative capital projects at the UMass system. It also provides $10 million in authorization for a data processing center on Cape Cod and $3.22 million for work at the Mass. Maritime Academy. We increase the annual amount of tax credits available from $25 to $30 million. This legislation also extends the tax incentive program to 2028. The bill would make $30 million in tax incentives available each year. In the investment fund category, to support the operations of the center, the bill proposes transferring up to $10 million from the consolidated net surplus to the investment fund. The life sciences sector has become an integral part of this state's dynamic economy. I would add this in closing, when we undertook this 10 years ago we did so to be at the forefront of emerging technologies and an evolving industry. If you look at other states today, these are states making multi-billion investments in life sciences. By any measure, the enactment of legislation 10 years ago has provided a sustained economic vitality here that we can grow and it was centered in no small part around the innovation community, our institutions of higher learning and our research institutions and facilities. We should continue the successful effort from 10 years ago. We are a national leader and perhaps an international leader. I ask for your support for the legislation before us today.
RECESS: The House recessed at 1:56 p.m.
RETURN: The House returned to order at 2:10 p.m.
GORDON AMENDMENT 4 -- English as a Second Language Training
The amendment was ADOPTED.
RECESS/RETURN: The House recessed at 2:10 p.m. and returned to order at 2:18 p.m.
SANCHEZ AMENDMENT 14 -- HWM Tech
The amendment was ADOPTED.
The clerk announced that the voting station for Rep. Roy is locked.
Rep. Donato said, The chair would like to indicate to the members that they should stay in the chamber for an additional roll call vote.
BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 147-3, the bill was ENGROSSED. Time was 2:24 p.m.
GARDEN OF PEACE TRUST FUND: By a roll call vote of 150-0, the House re-enacted S 2372 relative to the Garden of Peace. Time was 2:28 p.m.
GUEST: Rep. Donato introduced Ron Morin, the executive director for the Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation.
NO MORE ROLL CALLS: At 2:29 p.m., Rep. Donato announced that there are no additional roll call votes expected this afternoon. Reps began streaming out of the chamber.
BARRETT BIRTHDAY: Rep. Donato wished Rep. Barrett a happy birthday.
PETITIONS: The House referred petitions of Reps. Michlewitz, Golden and Fernandes to various committees.
ADJOURNMENT ORDER: The House adopted an order to meet Thursday at 11 a.m.
ADJOURN: The House adjourned at 2:33 p.m. to meet next on Thursday at 11 a.m. in an informal 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.