The Legislative Cliff (Larry Tucker)
Published on Sunday, February 3, 2013 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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Well, the world did not end in 2012 and we did not fall off a fiscal cliff. Though, if you were like me, you probably heard the buzzwords “Mayan calendar,” “fiscal cliff,” and “kick the can,” one too many times. Our Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts legislation did not experience a fiscal cliff but by the time the previous legislative session ended in December, it had experienced a legislative cliff.

Our SAM Legislation: During this past legislative session we brought our SAM legislation not just to the “one-yard line,” but right down to the “one-inch line.” It was that close, but unfortunately did not pass. To summarize, four of our bills had hearings and were then combined into one bill which was then reported favorably out of committee. It was then passed by the House and was sent over to the Senate side in late December. In the end, there simply was not enough time to get the job done. One theory is that we were so focused on educating and talking to our representatives that we had not spent sufficient time educating our Senators.

Thanking your legislators: It definitely does not go unnoticed that our legislators all put in extra effort to have this bill pass the House. To come this far with our SAM legislation is quite an accomplishment. And, to come this far, we must recognize the legislators that worked hard to make this happen. It is the extra effort put forth by Representative Anne M. Gobi (D), Spencer, that brought our bill down to the “one-inch line.” If you are a snowmobiler in Massachusetts or, in particular, if you live in Rep. Gobi’s district, consisting of the towns of Ware, Barre, Brookfield, Hardwick, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Petersham, Phillipston, West Brookfield, Spencer or Templeton, would you please join me in giving a big thank you to Anne by calling her office at 617-722-2210 or by email at HYPERLINK “mailto:[email protected][email protected].

Please extend a big thank you to these legislators also;

Rep. Robert A. DeLeo (D) Winthrop, House Speaker 617-722-2500

Rep. Brian S. Dempsey (D) Haverhill, House Ways and Means Chair 617-722-2990

Rep. Stephen Kulik (D) Worthington ,617-722-2380

Rep. George N. Peterson, Jr. (R) Grafton, 617-722-2100

Rep. John W. Scibak (D) South Hadley, 617-722-2240

Sen. Stephen M. Brewer (D) Barre, Senate Ways and Means Chair 617-722-1540

Sen. Benjamin B. Downing (D) Pittsfield, 617-722-1625

Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan (D) Leominster, 617-722-1230

Legislative notes: As our state legislature begins its 188th formal session we must take note of all that we learned during the past session. At the top of the list is the need to communicate and meet with our State Senators and keep them informed of all aspects of our SAM legislative agenda. It bears mentioning that Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D), Amherst, whose district includes a high percentage of snowmobilers, is now the longest serving state senator. With 21 years of service he was most recently awarded the honor of Dean of the Senate.

Hopefully, the future will continue to bring new success with our legislative program. It is perhaps not too early to begin thinking about some larger tasks such as increasing state funding for our trails. Thanks, again, to all those of you that wrote to your legislators, called your legislators or met with your legislators in the past session. And remember, Snowmobilers are Environmentalists.

Photo by Craig Warner

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