Save Our State of Massachusetts
JIM LYONS, representing EVERYTHING a “Rep” should be!
An upstart freshman lawmaker’s threat to occupy his State House seat and stall approval of the $500 million supplemental budget bill bent the Patrick administration to his will, forcing an accounting of state benefits for illegal immigrants and out-of-staters.
Channeling Jimmy Stewart in the iconic “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Andover Republican Rep. Jim Lyons, 58, stood his ground for more than 24 hours starting Thursday afternoon, camping out in the House chambers to push for the numbers or force Democrats, some of whom had supported his demand in earlier tallies, to take a roll call vote.
“My taxpayers, my district is asking a very simple question, ‘Where are our tax dollars going?’ ” Lyons said.
After extracting a promise from state Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby last night, Lyons stepped aside and allowed final passage of the budget.
For months, Lyons said, he had been asking Gov. Deval Patrick for a breakdown of state human services spending, and administration officials repeatedly promised to turn it over.
But when it never showed, Lyons injected in the spending bill a requirement that the governor account for all benefits paid out, an amendment supported by a majority of House members.
The conflict arose when Lyons’ provision was not in the Senate bill, Senate Ways and Means Chairman Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre) said, and it did not survive the melding of the House and Senate versions.
“It was not a Senate priority,” Brewer said. “I think it needs further study.”
Lyons was able to hold off a vote on the budget because the House is meeting “informally” and cannot take action without unanimous consent. Even a single member’s objection can force a roll-call vote.
“If we weren’t here today, it’s my understanding, they would essentially gavel it through,” without a recorded vote, Lyons said.
Bigby spokeswoman Jennifer Kritz promised a quick response. “I would say days. Soon.”
Lyons said he was willing to end his protest, believing Bigby’s commitment. “It looks like people are starting to see it’s taxpayers’ money and not the bureaucrats’ ” he said.
Hillary Chabot contributed to this report.
How often do we have GOOD NEWS FROM BEACON HILL?
Representative James J. Lyons, Jr. (Republican-Andover) stood up to “business as usual” cronies and won a budget duel! PLEASE contact Rep. Lyons with a quick email/call/fax to thank him!
Phone: 617-722-2014 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting or 617-722-2014 end_of_the_skype_highlighting