Buffer zone replacement bill on Gov’s desk

BOSTON (WWLP) – State lawmakers have two more days to act on controversial bills, but House members are also pushing to override a number of Governor Deval Patrick’s budget vetoes. Among them, $50,000 dollars for an SUV for the Hadley Fire Department.

“It’s a very rural community. A lot of farms, a lot of barns, so there have been some situations over the past couple of years where the fires and the issues are not really right on the road side and requires a vehicle to get back there quickly,” said State Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley).

The Governor also vetoed school safety improvements for the city of Agawam, a move that one state representative believes was politically-driven.

“You know, the unfortunate thing is, I think the Governor decided to play partisan politics here and while jeopardizing the safety of students,” said State Representative Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick).

Some controversial bills are also gaining momentum. Both the Massachusetts House and Senate sent a buffer zone workaround bill to the Governor’s desk.

If the bill is signed into law, police officers could order protesters to disperse if they are blocking an entrance to an abortion clinic and enforce an 8-hour buffer zone. A similar law was struck down by the U-S Supreme Court, and one lawmaker believes a first amendment issue will come up again.

“Are we completely over with this? I don’t think so. I think at some point it potentially could get challenged,” said State Representative Angelo Puppolo (D-Springfield).

Some bills we can expect to see come out of conference committees: a bill boosting jobs in western Massachusetts, stricter gun laws and tougher penalties for cases of domestic violence.

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