BOSTON (WWLP) – The formal legislative session ends in just a few hours and state lawmakers are rushing to move controversial bills to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk for his signature.
The Massachusetts House and Senate have until midnight to vote on major pieces of legislation. Among them, a plan to tackle the state’s severe substance abuse problem.
According to Sen. Therese Murray, (D) Senate President, “There is no quick fix for addiction, but through this bill, we are taking several real and responsible steps forward to ensure individuals are able to get the good care that they desperately need.”
Legislation setting stricter gun laws is also up for a vote. The House and Senate compromise would allow police chiefs to petition the court to deny firearm ID cards for shotguns and rifles.
The compromise is receiving mixed reviews. The National Rifle Association is against it. The local affiliation, however, is voicing support, and things are no different among state lawmakers.
Rep. Aaron Vega, (D) Holyoke, told 22News, “I know a lot of people don’t think it goes far enough, a lot of people think we shouldn’t have done anything, but I think what has been created is a good compromise.”
Rep. Nick Boldyga, (R) Southwick, said, “I know it doesn’t do enough for school safety and that’s one of the reasons why I’m voting no on the bill.”
A $2.2-billion plan to preserve the environment and prevent sewage overflow into the Connecticut River is also up for a vote. Legislation setting stronger penalties in cases of domestic violence also needs to be acted on before midnight.
Governor Patrick has ten days to sign the bills into law. If he doesn’t, then legislation would have to be filed again next year.