Just last month, Senator Brian A. Joyce introduced Amendment #548 to the Senate. This amendment would require a full ban on the shocks used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The Amendment was successful and is now on its way to Conference Committee. The Committee (which will include three individuals from the Senate and three from the House of Representatives) was supposed to be named this past week, but was not. However, there has been much speculation on who will be on the committee based on the requisite formula concerning its make-up which requires two Chairs of Ways and Means, two Vice Chairs and the ranking minority members (GOP) on each committee. Speculation leads to the following best guess:
Chair of Senate Ways and Means: Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre)
Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Means: Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Ranking Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means: Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)
Chair of House Ways and Means: Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill)
Vice Chair of House Ways and Means: Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Ranking Minority Member of House Ways and Means: Rep. Viriato Manuel deMacedo (R-Plymouth)
Concerns with this potential make-up are substantial, as it is almost identical to the Conference Committee that rejected the same proposal last year. Additionally, most individuals in this group are geographically distant from Canton and the center's strongest advocate is in the House. However, working strongly in its favor is the increasing amount of attention and outcry from the press and the general public.
For the full text of the amendment click here.
We will post more as soon as we know the actual make-up of the committee, including suggested ways to support the passing of the Amendment!