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.
Associated 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.