On June 28th, the Massachusetts joint conference committee (made up of three Senators and three Representatives) announced that they had failed to pass Amendment #548 which would have lead to a complete ban on shocks and other aversives used at the Judge Rotenberg Center.Unfortunately, those seeking to know which conference committee members voted for against the amendments are likely to be disappointed, as the votes are typically kept secret. However, when challenged on the decision, Senator Jennifer Flanagan did say, "I have continued to support the banning of this practice... In fact, the Senate passes to ban it every year. Unfortunately, it did not make it through the Conference Committee." One can only presume, from her remarks, that she was amongst those who voted to pass #548.
This was not a huge surprise to advocates who have seen similar proposals struck down in past years. However, a somewhat greater surprise was that the committee also failed to pass Amendment #555. Amendment #555 was seen as a compromise effort, seeking only to codify regulations passed in the previous year which prevented new students from being shocked.
Other members of the committee include Senators Knapik and Brewer and Representatives DeMacedo, Kulik and Dempsey. You can find their contact information here.
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