MFA News Scan Update
MA Food Association - January 10, 2011
VOLUME 11 ISSUE 2
JANUARY 10, 2011
MA LEGISLATURE SWORN IN FOR 187TH GENERAL COURT
On Wednesday, January 5, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate took their oath of office for the 187th General Court. Representative Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) was re-elected as the Speaker of the House. In the 160 member House, the minority Republican Party doubled its numbers from the last election to more than 30 members, and re-elected Representative Bradley Jones (R-North Reading) as their Minority Leader. With the Republicans ranks now at 31, this will give the party more credibility and a greater ability to reach across the aisle to form coalitions with moderate Democrats. Republicans also now have enough of a majority to force a roll call vote on issues, thus providing accountability, rather than letting something pass on a procedural voice vote, which does not record a legislator’s support or opposition vote to a proposal. There is still one seat in the House that remains vacant, the election to fill the 6th Worcester District seat. A re-count of votes in the Nov. 2 election placed Republican challenger Peter Durant of Spencer one vote ahead of Democratic incumbent Representative Geraldo Alicea (D-Charlton). The decision on the election now resides in Court. Speaker DeLeo said he'll wait until the ongoing legal battle is resolved before filling the seat.
In the 40-member Senate, Republicans lost a seat, lowering their count down to four from five. Senator Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) was re-elected Senate President, and Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) was re-elected Minority Leader. The leadership in both branches also spoke about its priorities for the upcoming session. Speaker DeLeo stated he will press to require Massachusetts cities and towns to put their municipal employees into the state's health care system. He claims that by placing those workers under the Group Insurance Commission, the state could save up to $100 million which could be reallocated as local aid. Casino gambling is also expected to resurface and ever increasing health care costs must be addressed. Democratic leaders say one way to ease health care spending is to gradually move away from a system that pays doctors and hospitals for the number of tests and procedures they deliver and instead reward them for maintaining the overall health of their patients, through what is known as the "global payment" system. This system places a patient's physicians, nurses and hospitals on a yearly budget to keep a patient healthy. Money is taken out of that budget to pay for their services and procedures. It is assumed that this will save money over the present system of a bill per procedure system. Other leadership posts and chairmanships are next on the agenda. We will keep you informed.
Members of 112th Congress Sworn In; Boehner Elected Speaker
According to the National Grocers Association, on Wednesday the members of the 112th Congress were sworn into office, with Republicans holding a majority of 242 seats to 193 Democrat seats in the House of Representatives. Republicans elected John Boehner (OH) as the Speaker of the House with Nancy Pelosi being elected by the Democrats as minority leader. In the Senate, Democrats remain in the majority, albeit by a slimmer majority of 53 (includes 2 independents that caucus with Democrats) seats to 47 Republicans seats. Newly elected Senators also took the oath of office on Wednesday.
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