Massachusetts' autocratic Speaker of the House, Thomas Finneran, refuses to allow the House to vote on bills he doesn't like. According to an article by Globe state house reporter Michael Crowley, the following "lost bills" have been passed by the State Senate and several of them have majority support in the House, but none are likely to see action this legislative session: a bill expanding domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples; one that creates a 25-foot 'buffer zone' around abortion clinics to keep anti-abortion protestors from harrassing patients and employees; a bill requiring insurance companies which pay for Viagra prescriptions to also cover contraceptives for women; another bill protecting thousands of subsidized housing units whose federal contracts have expired from being converted to market rate units; and one outlawing gender differences in health care premiums. All of these bills are sponsored or cosponsored by Roxbury Democrat Diane Wilkerson, one of the few House members who tries to stand up to Finneran. The family and medical leave bill, which would turn some of the unpaid leaves mandated by the federal FMLA into paid leaves in Massachusetts, is cosponsored by our rep from Somerville, Pat Jehlen, another House rebel.
The drawbridge shown in the cartoon takes Route 28 traffic from Somerville and East Cambridge across the Charles River into Boston, near the lock at the river's mouth. Tour boats fit under this bridge but it has to be raised for most private pleasure boats. Naturally, it saw a lot of action (and Route 28 travelers saw very little) during the Tall Boats events in Boston Harbor last week.
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