Author: Michael Clark

Senator Lesser Calls for Congress to Abolish the Electoral College

Senator Eric P. Lesser announced today that he has filed a resolution calling on Congress to abolish the Electoral College and allow for the direct election of the President and Vice President by the popular vote of all citizens of the United States. A copy of the resolution, Senate Docket 2748, is below.

Senator Lesser released the following statement: “It has now been twice in 16 years, and five times total in American history, that a president and vice president have been elected by winning a majority of the Electoral College, despite the fact that they lost the national popular vote. Given the importance of empowering voters to believe every vote counts in a presidential election, the repeal of the Electoral College merits a thorough discussion and examination. My hope is that this Resolution contributes to such a discussion.”

Abolishing the Electoral College requires a Constitutional amendment, which is governed by Article V of the Constitution. Article V calls on the United States House of Representatives and Senate to each pass a proposed amendment by a two-thirds vote. The amendment would then be sent to the states for ratification, either by state legislatures, or conventions within the states, by a three-fourths vote of the states. Under Article V, two-thirds of states can also pass legislation petitioning Congress to call for a constitutional convention.


Resolutions calling on Congress to abolish the Electoral College and allow for the direct election of the President and Vice President by the popular vote of all citizens of the United States
WHEREAS, the Electoral College was established by Article II, Section One of the United States Constitution whereby states are directed to appoint electors who then meet and cast votes for president and vice president of the United States; and

WHEREAS, voters who cast ballots in the presidential election every four years delegate their votes to one of 538 electors, rather than voting directly for their preferred candidate; and

WHEREAS, on five different occasions throughout history, including twice in the last sixteen years, the president and vice president of the United States lost the national popular vote but were elected by winning a majority of the Electoral College; and

WHEREAS, the method of electing the president and vice president of the United States contradicts the principle of “one person, one vote,” which the United State Supreme Court established in Reynolds v. Sims under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause; and

WHEREAS, the method of electing United States Senators and Representatives, state governors and legislators, and local officials are selected by popular vote of the people within the corresponding state or district; and

WHEREAS, the voters of Massachusetts have been disenfranchised and left to feel like their vote does not count; and

WHEREAS, abolishing the Electoral College requires a Constitutional amendment, governed by Article V of the Constitution, which calls for both houses of the United States Congress to pass by a two-thirds vote a proposal that is subsequently sent to the states for ratification, either by state legislatures or conventions within the states, by a three-fourths vote of the states; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Massachusetts Legislature calls on the United States Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing the Electoral College and allowing for the direct election of the President and Vice President by the popular vote of all citizens of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Clerk of the Massachusetts Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from Massachusetts in the United States Congress.

Senator Lesser Announces Funding for New Dr. Seuss Museum

Senator Eric P. Lesser was joined by President of the Springfield Museums, Kay Simpson, Senator James Welch, Representative Carlos Gonzalez, and Mayor Domenic Sarno to announce a $200,000 legislative appropriation for the completion of a bilingual literacy exhibit at the new Dr. Seuss Museum. Senator Lesser sponsored the funding in the FY’17 budget.

The event also included members of the Springfield Museums’ Board of Directors and Greg Liakos, Communications Director for the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

“This funding will allow even more people to enjoy and learn from this iconic new museum, magnifying the Dr. Seuss Museum’s impact both as an educational center, and a region-wide driver of tourism and economic development,” Senator Lesser said. “This bilingual exhibit will make the museums even more accessible and connect future generations of children to one of our city’s most famous residents.”

Senator Lesser is the chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. In this role, Senator Lesser has been a champion of the arts and culture; he has worked to secure increases in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which provides grant funding for several arts organizations throughout Springfield, including the Community School of Music, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and the Springfield Museums.

Photos: Senator Lesser can be seen with Senator James Welch, Representative Carlos Gonzalez, Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Greg Liakos of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Senator Lesser and Representative Puppolo Announce Funds for Fountain Park

Senator Eric P. Lesser and Representative Angelo Puppolo joined members of the Wilbraham Nature and Cultural Council to announce $50,000 in new legislative appropriations for Wilbraham’s Fountain Park.

The funding will enable the Wilbraham Nature and Cultural Council to continue their efforts to provide science education, live music, and cultural performances at the park. The funding will also further the WNCC’s mission to develop, improve and expand agricultural, nature preservation and recreational opportunities and Town programs for the residents of the Town of Wilbraham

“Fountain Park is a special place for residents of Wilbraham and our broader region” Senator Lesser said. “Having a space to enjoy cultural programming, recreation, and other activities is important for any community, Wilbraham is lucky to have this asset, and I’m honored to support the work of the WNCC to make the park a place for future generations to enjoy.”

Senator Lesser is the Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. In this role, Senator Lesser has been a champion of the arts and culture; he has worked to secure increases in funding for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which provides grant funding for several arts organizations in Wilbraham and the broader region, including the Community School of Music, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and the Springfield Museums.

 

Senator Lesser Announces Economic Development Capital Funds for Belchertown High School

Senator Eric P. Lesser joined Superintendent Karol Coffin at Belchertown High School on Wednesday September 21, 2016 to announce a legislative authorization for capital funding to develop a new engineering program at Belchertown High School.

The funding announcement comes after Senator Lesser sponsored a $100,000 amendment to the state’s Economic Development Bill to authorize the establishment of the engineering program and to purchase robotics kits and other supplies. The funds will now need to be released by the Baker Administration.

“Belchertown Public Schools has a reputation for excellence, and a new engineering and robotics program will continue this regional leadership, offering even more opportunities to Belchertown’s high school students,” Senator Lesser said. “Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are among the fastest growing fields in Western Massachusetts, and this program will give students the tools and exposure they need to succeed.”

Senator Lesser first learned about the Belchertown Public School’s need for funding during an appearance before the Belchertown School Committee last school year.

“Through the efforts of Senator Lesser and his staff, State funding has been granted for the development of an engineering robotics programming and coding program at Belchertown High School,” said Belchertown Superintendent of Schools Karol Coffin. “This lab, which would not be possible without extra funding, will be in conjunction with a comprehensive STEM lab complete with possibilities for 3-D graphic design, green engineering, computer science and other opportunities not available through regular school funding. We are very grateful to Senator Lesser as he continues to be an active advocate for our public schools.”

Since taking office, Senator Lesser has focused on further expanding job and skill training programs in high schools and local community colleges, spearheading funds for a manufacturing program at the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, the expansion of skill training

grants through the Regional Employment Board, and capital funding authorizations for expanded carpentry and metal working programming at Chicopee Comprehensive High School.

Senator Lesser Announces Economic Development Capital Funds for Belchertown High School

Senator Eric P. Lesser joined Superintendent Karol Coffin at Belchertown High School on Wednesday September 21, 2016 to announce a legislative authorization for capital funding to develop a new engineering program at Belchertown High School.

The funding announcement comes after Senator Lesser sponsored a $100,000 amendment to the state’s Economic Development Bill to authorize the establishment of the engineering program and to purchase robotics kits and other supplies. The funds will now need to be released by the Baker Administration.

“Belchertown Public Schools has a reputation for excellence, and a new engineering and robotics program will continue this regional leadership, offering even more opportunities to Belchertown’s high school students,” Senator Lesser said. “Jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are among the fastest growing fields in Western Massachusetts, and this program will give students the tools and exposure they need to succeed.”

Senator Lesser first learned about the Belchertown Public School’s need for funding during an appearance before the Belchertown School Committee last school year.

“Through the efforts of Senator Lesser and his staff, State funding has been granted for the development of an engineering robotics programming and coding program at Belchertown High School,” said Belchertown Superintendent of Schools Karol Coffin. “This lab, which would not be possible without extra funding, will be in conjunction with a comprehensive STEM lab complete with possibilities for 3-D graphic design, green engineering, computer science and other opportunities not available through regular school funding. We are very grateful to Senator Lesser as he continues to be an active advocate for our public schools.”

Since taking office, Senator Lesser has focused on further expanding job and skill training programs in high schools and local community colleges, spearheading funds for a manufacturing program at the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative, the expansion of skill training

grants through the Regional Employment Board, and capital funding authorizations for expanded carpentry and metal working programming at Chicopee Comprehensive High School.

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Senator Lesser Announces Funding for Chicopee Boys and Girls Club

Senator Eric P. Lesser visited the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club on Monday, September 12 to announce $30,952 in in new legislative appropriations for the Chicopee club.

The funding announcement comes after Senator Lesser secured a $200,000 increase in the state’s FY’17 budget for the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. Senator Lesser has successfully championed funding increases for the clubs throughout his first term in office.

“The Chicopee Boys and Girls Club is an anchor for our community and an invaluable resource and support network for our families,” Senator Lesser said. “I’m proud to champion Boys and Girls Club funding in the State House, especially given the important work these clubs are doing to promote literacy, encourage health and wellness, and combat the opioid crisis.”

“We thank the Senator for once again making the time in his schedule to visit the Club. His commitment to the youth of Chicopee is evident in the time he makes to speak with our members when he visits,” said Jason Reed, Director of Marketing and Development for the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club.

The increased funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs is made available through the Youth-At-Risk Matching Grants program. This grant provides matching grants to non-profits for a range of programs that address gang violence, sexual violence, teen dating issues, bullying and suicide through activities designed to promote the development of positive behaviors and social skills.

Senator Lesser Announces Funding for Randall Boys and Girls Club

Senator Eric P. Lesser visited the Randall Boys and Girls Club on Wednesday September 14 to announce $30,952 in new legislative appropriations for the Ludlow club.

The funding announcement comes after Senator Lesser secured a $200,000 increase in the state’s FY’17 budget for the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. Senator Lesser has successfully championed funding increases for the clubs throughout his first term in office.

“The Randall Boys and Girls Club is an anchor for our community and an invaluable resource and support network for our families,” Senator Lesser said. “I’m proud to champion Boys and Girls Club funding in the State House, especially given the important work these clubs are doing to promote literacy, encourage health and wellness, and combat the opioid crisis.”

“On behalf the Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys & Girls Club I would like to thank State Senator Eric Lesser and State Representative Thomas Petrolati who have time and again demonstrated their commitment to the Boys & Girls Club mission, through not just their words, but their actions as well,” said Jennifer Aldworth, President and CEO of the Ludlow Community Center Randall Boys and Girls Club. “I’d also like to thank State Senator Lesser for being the lead sponsor for the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Club budget amendment. He helped push through a much needed $200,000 increase over last year’s allocation to support all of the Clubs in our State.”

The increased funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs is made available through the Youth-At-Risk Matching Grants program. This grant provides matching grants to non-profits for a range of programs that address gang violence, sexual violence, teen dating issues, bullying and suicide through activities designed to promote the development of positive behaviors and social skills.

Senator Lesser Announces Funding for Ludlow Veterans Memorial

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Senator Eric P. Lesser was joined by Representative Thomas Petrolati, Ludlow Selectmen Derek DeBarge, and Veterans Service Officer Eric Segundo to announce $20,000 in state funding for improvements to the Town of Ludlow’s Veterans Memorial on Wednesday September 7, 2016.

The funding was announced following Senator Lesser’s successful amendment to the FY’17 state budget, which was signed into law by Governor Baker in August.

“Ludlow’s men and women have proudly answered the call to serve throughout our nations history. These funds will ensure the town’s veterans memorial is well maintained and honors Ludlow’s sacrifices for our freedom,” Senator Lesser said. “I’m particularly thankful for the efforts of Eric Segundo who has worked tirelessly on behalf of all of Ludlow’s veterans.”

“I would like to personally thank Senator Lesser and Representative Petrolati on their efforts to acquire funding to complete our Veterans Memorial here in Ludlow,” said Ludlow Veteran Service Officer Eric Segundo. “We continue to honor the service and sacrifice of our heroes who have served our country honorably”

The funding will enable the Town of Ludlow to complete the installation of name-plates and benches for quiet reflection. The memorial will also feature several decorative plantings.

Senator Lesser serves on the Joint Legislative Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. During this legislative session, Senator Lesser was a co-sponsor of the Stolen Valor Act which created a criminal penalty for the false impersonation of a military officer. Senator Lesser has also led efforts in the Senate to preserve veteran’s monuments around Massachusetts.

Senator Lesser Visits Friends of Granby’s Elderly Summer Picnic

Granby COASenator Eric P. Lesser visited the Friends of Granby’s Elderly Annual Summer Picnic on Wednesday, September 7. During the picnic, Senator Lesser met several residents of Granby and discussed issues ranging from health insurance to senior center funding.

“Granby has a wonderful Council on Aging that provides valuable services to seniors in our area,” Senator Lesser said. “I always enjoy visiting Granby, learning about residents concerns, and advocating for senior issues at the Statehouse.”


Senator Lesser is a member of the Legislature’s Elder Affairs Committee and has supported funding increases for local Councils on Aging and property tax relief for senior citizens living on fixed incomes.

 

Senator Lesser and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg Host Municipal Roundtable with Local Leaders

Muni Roundtable

Senator Eric P. Lesser and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg hosted a roundtable with Boards of Selectmen, Town Councilors, and Town Administrators and Managers from across the First Hampden and Hampshire District on Wednesday August 17, 2016 at Longmeadow High School. Representatives from the towns of Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Granby, Longmeadow, Ludlow and Wilbraham participated in the event.

The roundtable focused on the needs and pending issues that each community faces, including infrastructure funding, unfunded mandates, and long term liabilities including pensions and health insurance.

“The discussion we had was highly informative and gives us a good basis for ways we can provide additional support and relief to our communities in the next session,” Senator Lesser said. “Supporting the communities I represent is my top priority in the Senate, and these types of conversations are essential to collect useful feedback I can bring back to the State House with me.”

“The insights we gained from these municipal leaders are invaluable. They’ve given us a priority list for next actions. We look forward to working with them to advance as many as we can,” said Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

“Holding this event not only allowed the Senate President to directly hear the individual challenges faced by each town, but it also allowed the towns to hear their shared concerns, especially the mounting costs associated with pensions, healthcare, aging roads and buildings, as well as offer some potential solutions to some of these budgetary problems such as regionalization of services,” said Ludlow Selectman Carmina Fernandes.

“The Longmeadow Select Board is grateful for the opportunity to meet with President Rosenberg and Sen. Lesser, as well as the representatives from our neighboring communities, to discuss important municipal issues,” said Select Board Chairman Marie Angelides.

“The dialogue was productive and yielded specific ideas that the Senate can consider on issues including the new open records law, the Chapter 90 formula, and local option revenue. We look forward to working with Sen. Lesser and the rest of our legislative delegation on advancing those ideas.”

Governor Baker recently signed the Municipal Modernization Act into law, which reforms several state requirements impacting municipalities including updated procurement laws and simplifying financial reporting requirements. A recent report by the Office of the State Auditor’s Division of Local Mandates reviewed 1,560 statutes enacted between 2011 and 2015 and identified 97 statutory provisions that have had a significant impact on cities and towns.