By Andy Metzger
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
People opposed to the payraise bill vetoed on Friday should “make their voices heard” as the House and Senate prepare for override votes this week, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.
Massachusetts residents have already been dialing into elected officials to give feedback about the legislation that would cost $18 million to hike the pay of legislative leaders, statewide elected officials, and judges.
“It was the single largest number of calls we've gotten on one day, on Friday,” Baker said during his monthly “Ask the Governor” segment Monday on WGBH Radio. “And we've gotten a lot of calls on a lot of things. I mean, keep in mind, we're the administration that had the MBTA breakdown.”
With a 116-43 vote in the House on Wednesday and a 31-9 vote in the Senate on Thursday, both branches would have enough votes to clear the two-thirds threshold for a veto override if that level of support holds.
Both branches meet in formal sessions on Thursday, giving them an opportunity to pass the payraise bill into law over the governor's objections.
“If it comes over from the House we are planning to take it up on Thursday,” Senate President Stan Rosenberg told the News Service on Monday.
The matter came up when a caller – identified as Ken in Amesbury – thanked the governor for the veto and asked, “Is there anything more that we can do, the taxpayers of Massachusetts, to keep these legislators from overriding your veto?”
All Republicans in the House and Senate voted against the measure, and they were joined by nine Democrats in the House and three Democrats in the Senate. Those hoping to sustain the veto would need to flip either 10 Democrats in the House or five in the Senate.
“People should encourage those who share our views to reach out to and speak to their legislators about it, because that is in fact the best way to bring attention to this and to get it on people's radars,” Baker said. He said, “I think it's important for people to make their voices heard.”
Hull’s state representative is newly-elected Democrat Joan Meschino, who voted in favor of the payraise. State Sen. Patrick O’Connor, a Weymouth Republican, voted against the bill.
The bill (H 58) is the first major legislation to reach the governor's desk this session.
Last week, the Senate president said the legislation would provide needed updates to the compensation of lawmakers, which starts at a base salary of about $62,000.
“We are losing young people every election cycle,” Rosenberg told reporters Thursday, “particularly the younger members, who are trying to start families and start their own career, they cannot live on this."
Baker was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon with legislative leaders, but their meeting was cancelled Monday morning.
To contact Rep. Joan Meschino, call 617 722-2425, or email Joan.Meschino@mahouse.gov.
To contact Sen. Patrick O’Connor, call 617 722-1646, or email Patrick.OConnor@masenate.gov.