Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the information available changes in 24 hours. Yesterday afternoon on a way to an appointment I made a phone call to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, William F. Galvin’s office. The purpose of the call was to ascertain how many times Governor’s have declared an emergency to have legislation take effect immediately.
I was told by Brian McNiff the spokesman for Secretary Galvin, that he only had information for 2008 and 2007. I was told that in 2008 Governor Patrick did this one time on non-controversial legislation, and six times on non-controversial language. I then asked for copies of those letters and was told that I needed to look in the “annals of the State House” that the information was not available on-line. I was also told that the office had no information prior to that on letters sent to that office. I was also only given the MGL chapters that the legislation referred to not the bill numbers themselves.
What a difference a day makes. Today Secretary Galvin had the following to say to State House News:
Galvin said, “I don’t know how you’d have any suggestion that this was something novel.” Galvin said former Gov. Mitt Romney had exercised the authority 14 times. On May 31, 2006, Galvin said, Romney used the authority to speed a law increasing the speed limit for boating through the Narrows of Glen Echo Lake in Charlton.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth is the keeper of records. His office should be above politics, unfortunately he is not.
Note Galvin did not say if there was a vote of the legislature denying an emergency existed in any of those cases.