Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Votes to Note: Changes to Criminal Sentencing and CORI

Today the Senate considered S.2210, which makes major changes to our state’s criminal justice system in the areas of sentencing for those who commit drug-related crimes and the reporting system for criminal histories known as CORI, or Criminal Offender Record Information.

There is significant consensus that some changes to the CORI System are warranted, but many of the bill’s impacts on small businesses remain in question.

Worse, the sentencing components of the bill, upon which there is no consensus, would allow drug crime offenders to be eligible for release from incarceration without requiring them to be subject to monitoring through systems such as the electronic bracelet or GPS tracking.

The bill before the Senate combined these two issues, and parliamentary procedures blocked many amendments that were offered to strengthen the criminal justice system from even being considered.

I offered an amendment to separate these distinct components of the bill (CORI changes and sentencing changes) so that members could vote on each of them independently. Despite bipartisan support, the amendment failed by a vote of 10-27. You can view the actual vote by clicking “Read more” below.

The bill itself was identified by the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association as “a threat to public safety” in a letter sent to every Senator which you can view below.

Given the problems identified by all of our state’s district attorneys, I argued in floor debate that it should be rejected in its present form, and such major and potentially dangerous changes should be reviewed with adequate time for their consequences to be fully understood.

Once again, legislators from both parties opposed the passage of the final bill, but it was approved on a vote of 26 to 12. That vote can be viewed by clicking the “Read more” below.


Roll Call Votes: Yea Nay

Steven A. Baddour yea
Frederick E. Berry nay
Stephen M. Brewer nay
Scott P. Brown yea
Stephen J. Buoniconti yea
Gale D. Candaras nay
Harriette L. Chandler nay
Sonia Chang-Diaz nay
Cynthia Stone Creem nay
Kenneth J. Donnelly nay
Benjamin B. Downing yea
James B. Eldridge nay
Susan C. Fargo
Jennifer L. Flanagan nay
Anthony D. Galluccio nay
Jack Hart nay
Robert L. Hedlund yea
Patricia D. Jehlen nay
Brian A. Joyce nay
Thomas P. Kennedy nay
Michael R. Knapik yea
Thomas M. McGee nay
Joan M. Menard
Mark C. Montigny nay
Michael O. Moore nay
Richard T. Moore yea
Michael W. Morrissey nay
Senate President Therese Murray
Robert A. O'Leary nay
Marc R. Pacheco yea
Steven C. Panagiotakos nay
Anthony Petruccelli nay
Stanley C. Rosenberg nay
Karen E. Spilka nay
Bruce E. Tarr yea
James E. Timilty nay
Richard R. Tisei yea
Steven A. Tolman nay
Susan C. Tucker nay
Marian Walsh nay


Senate Bill 2210

Roll Call Votes: Yea Nay

Steven A. Baddour nay
Frederick E. Berry yea
Stephen M. Brewer nay
Scott P. Brown nay
Stephen J. Buoniconti nay
Gale D. Candaras yea
Harriette L. Chandler yea
Sonia Chang-Diaz yea
Cynthia Stone Creem yea
Kenneth J. Donnelly yea
Benjamin B. Downing yea
James B. Eldridge yea
Susan C. Fargo
Jennifer L. Flanagan yea
Anthony D. Galluccio yea
Jack Hart yea
Robert L. Hedlund nay
Patricia D. Jehlen yea
Brian A. Joyce yea
Thomas P. Kennedy yea
Michael R. Knapik nay
Thomas M. McGee yea
Joan M. Menard yea
Mark C. Montigny yea
Michael O. Moore yea
Richard T. Moore nay
Michael W. Morrissey nay
Senate President Therese Murray
Robert A. O'Leary yea
Marc R. Pacheco nay
Steven C. Panagiotakos yea
Anthony Petruccelli yea
Stanley C. Rosenberg yea
Karen E. Spilka yea
Bruce E. Tarr nay
James E. Timilty nay
Richard R. Tisei nay
Steven A. Tolman yea
Susan C. Tucker yea
Marian Walsh yea


Massachusetts District Attorneys Association Letter