The Beacon Hill sausage-making process is painfully slow and not pretty, but some worthy measures made it through.
In a vote that is of particular importance to the Berkshires, the Legislature easily overrode Governor Baker's veto of more than half of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's $14 million budget. With state Representative "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lenox in the lead and the rest of the Berkshire delegation offering strong support. advocates made an overwhelming case for full funding of the MCC.
Given the emphasis the governor places on results it is difficult to comprehend his lack of respect for the MCC and the cultural community. In the Berkshires and across the state, cultural tourism creates jobs, and relatively modest MCC funding helps leverage grant funding and other revenue sources. We urge the governor to take note of the strong support for MCC funding from often divided legislators and the constituents who lobbied them to restore funds.
The pay equity bill signed Monday by Governor Baker actually got through the Legislature in late July before the last weekend rush and shouldn't go unnoticed. Among other provisions, the law allows employees to openly discuss and compare salaries without employer retribution. The law, thought to be the first of its kind in the nation, casts light on a system that has led to women being paid 82 percent of what male counterparts make for comparable work.