Representative Steven Howitt Maintains Perfect Voting Record
Boston – State Representative Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk, maintained a perfect voting record for the 2021-2022 legislative session, participating in all 286 roll call votes recorded in the House of Representatives between January 28, 2021 and August 1, 2022.
Representative Howitt compiled a 100% attendance record by casting votes on several major policy initiatives that were signed into law this session, including the ABC Mental Health Act (Chapter 177 of the Acts of 2022), which seeks to remove barriers to care for mental health services, as well as legislation to legalize sports betting (Chapter 173 of the Acts of 2022) and to promote equity in the state’s cannabis industry (Chapter 180 of the Acts of 2022).
Representative Howitt supported changes in the governance and leadership structure at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes (Chapter 144 of the Acts of 2022) to help ensure the delivery of quality services to the state’s veterans and to prevent another tragedy like the one that claimed the lives of 76 residents at the Holyoke veterans’ facility and 31 residents at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also voted for the passage of An Act relative to military spouse-licensure portability, education and enrollment of dependents (aka, the Veterans SPEED Act), which will make it easier for military personnel and their families to access education benefits and to meet professional licensure requirements (Chapter 154 of the Acts of 2022).
Earlier this year, Representative Howitt helped lead a bipartisan effort to divest the state pension fund from all Russian assets, in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The divestment language was included in a supplemental budget that was passed on a unanimous roll call vote and signed into law on April 1 as Chapter 42 of the Acts of 2022.
Representative Howitt also voted to support a student nutrition bill last fall to expand access to free school meals and to eliminate “meal shaming” policies that penalize students who are unable to pay (Chapter 62 of the Acts of 2021). The Fiscal Year 2023 state budget, which he also supported, contains additional language extending the School Meals for All program for the 2022-2023 school year, which will help ensure that 400,000 students will continue to have access to school meals.
Citing concerns about allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts drivers license, Representative Howitt voted against the Work and Family Mobility Act (Chapter 81 of the Acts of 2022). He also voted to sustain Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of the bill, which became law without his signature but now faces a possible repeal through a November ballot question.
Other key initiatives supported by Representative Howitt this session included proposals to:
• Establish a Women’s Rights History Trail to promote “education and awareness of the history of women’s rights in the Commonwealth” (Chapter 76 of the Acts of 2022);
• Ban child marriage in Massachusetts, which is considered to be a human rights abuse by the U.S. State Department, as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 state budget (Chapter 126 of the Acts of 2022);
• Implement strong penalties for sexting and revenge porn as well as protections for victims (House Bill 4498);
• Provide $100 million in municipal road assistance funding through the Winter Recovery Assistance Program (WRAP) as part of a Fiscal Year 2022 supplemental budget (Chapter 42 of the Acts of 2022);
• Increase funding for several transportation-related municipal grant programs by $150 million, including the Municipal Small Bridge Program and the Complete Streets Program (Chapter 89 of the Acts of 2022); and
• Allocate $5.2 billion in bond funding to assist with the maintenance and upkeep of state and municipal government facilities (Chapter 140 of the Acts of 2022)
Representative Howitt represents the Fourth Bristol District consisting of precincts one and two in Norton, Rehoboth, Seekonk, and precincts four and five in Swansea. He currently serves on the Committees on Transportation, Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and Export Development.
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