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AIM Publishes 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard

Posted by John Regan on Aug 27, 2012 9:11:00 AM

Massachusetts lawmakers may have left most of their work for the last minute in 2012, but they posted respectable final grades for the formal two-year legislative session that ended July 30.

AIM Legislative ScorecardAssociated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) this morning released its 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard, the most widely read report on the voting record of Massachusetts legislators on issues important to employers. AIM compiles the Legislative Scorecard at the end of each two-year session to ensure that members know legislators’ records on key economic and public-policy issues, and to recognize lawmakers who understand the importance of a vibrant economy for all residents.

The 2011-2012 legislative session generally moved Massachusetts closer to the goal AIM articulated in its January 2012 Common Wealth agenda that only a vibrant, private-sector economy creates opportunity that binds the social, governmental, and economic foundations of our commonwealth. Beacon Hill lawmakers and Governor Deval Patrick seemed to embrace the challenge of supporting economic engines such as biosciences and financial services while ensuring that the rest of the economy from which most residents make a living does not fall off the tracks behind those engines.

The result was a record that was – on balance - positive for business growth and economic opportunity. Lawmakers earned good grades for addressing the soaring cost of health care and electricity, freezing unemployment insurance rates, streamlining the administration of state government and giving cities and towns the ability to reduce health insurance costs through innovative health plan designs.

Legislators lost points for approving measures that would move private child-care providers into a collective bargaining group and create expensive health insurance coverage mandates for hearing aids and treatment of cleft palates. Lawmakers also failed to approve a common-sense bill that would have limited the onerous treble damages law to willful violations of the commonwealth’s wage and hour statute.

Download the 2011-2012  Legislative Scorecard

Topics: Issues, Legislative Scorecard

AIM Members: Urge Legislators to Fix Treble Damage Law

Posted by John Regan on Apr 21, 2011 9:37:00 AM

Senate ways and means, treble damages law, budgetNext week, members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives will debate and vote on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget which includes language limiting the current punitive treble-damages law to “willful” violations of the wage and hour statute only.  This change has been sought by AIM since the original law passed in 2008.

AIM urges you to contact House members asking them to support this language and to oppose any amendment preventing the fixing of the treble damages law.

The current law penalizes companies that have done nothing outrageous, have not acted with an evil motive, and have not acted with reckless indifference to employees' rights.  The same would be true in the case of a good-faith dispute over whether an employer owes commissions.

This House proposal mirrors Governor Deval Patrick’s language to fix a 2008 law that imposed punitive treble damages even in cases where an inexperienced employee of a Massachusetts business makes a clerical or other honest error. 

Massachusetts is rated poorly by the US Chamber of Commerce because of this onerous law that mandates treble damages for any Wage Act violation.  The House Ways and Means Committee proposal would bring fairness and equity to a law which is now unduly punitive. 

AIM thanks Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey for a fiscally sound House budget which benefits the Massachusetts Economy.  AIM also recognizes the work of Ways and Means Committee Vice Chair Steven Kulik and Assistant Vice Chair Martha Walz on the proposed House budget and for addressing the treble damages issue.

Click here to contact your elected officials and urge them to fix the treble damage law.

Topics: Speaker Robert DeLeo, AIM, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Legislative Scorecard, Treble Damages Law, Govenor Patrick

Massachusetts Employers Issue Legislative Scorecard

Posted by John Regan on Sep 29, 2010 8:21:00 AM

Massachusetts employers are out today with their report card on the performance of state lawmakers and the GPA is significantly higher than it was two years ago.

AIM Legislative ScorecardAssociated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) this morning released its 2009-2010 Legislative Scorecard, which evaluates the voting records of legislators on issues important to employers. AIM releases the Legislative Scorecard at the end of each two-year session to ensure that employers know legislators’ records on key economic and public-policy issues, and to recognize lawmakers who understand the importance of a vibrant economy for all residents.

After spending much of the two-year legislative session focused on games of chance, lawmakers ended up betting on a sure thing – improving the business climate – to restart economic growth and job creation. Legislators earned good grades for addressing the rising cost of health insurance for small employers and passing an economic-development measure that improves the tax landscape for employers and limits state regulations that discourage business and job growth.

They also approved transportation reform and education reform, froze Unemployment Insurance rates and made balanced changes to the system through which employers access the criminal records of job applicants. The only major disappointment for AIM as the House and Senate wrapped up formal sessions on July 31 was the approval of an expensive new health mandate that could add as much as $68 million to insurance premiums each year.

The grades also reflect the success that AIM and its employer members enjoyed persuading lawmakers not to act on anti-employer proposals such as a ban on chemicals used in manufacturing, corporate tax increases and mandatory paid sick days. AIM applauds the Legislature for its wisdom in declining to take formal votes on these controversial proposals, which would likely have lowered grades for many Beacon Hill lawmakers.

“Legislators faced an enormous challenge this session in addressing a fiscal crisis without harming the fragile economic recovery. While we don’t agree on every issue, Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and the Legislature deserve tremendous credit for striking a reasonable balance during difficult times,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.

Grades among legislators who served for the entire session ranged from 33 percent to 88 percent in the House and 33 percent to 89 percent in the Senate. Fifteen House members earned top scores while three members of the Senate shared the high grade.
The complete Legislative Scorecard is available on the AIM Web site.

The session as a whole moved Massachusetts closer to the goal AIM articulated in its January 2009 Common Wealth agenda that only a vibrant, private-sector economy creates opportunity that binds the social, governmental, and economic foundations of our commonwealth. Common Wealth states that the best way for lawmakers to support the private sector is to pass economic policy that balances key public investments with a competitive cost structure that keeps jobs in Massachusetts.

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Associated Industries of Massachusetts, AIM, Legislative Scorecard

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