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Beacon Hill Roll Call

Only 17 of the Senate's 40 members have 100 percent roll call attendance records, including Sen. Eileen Donoghue.


BAN EXCESSIVE NOISE (H 720) - In Room A-2 on November 12 at 10 a.m., the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on a bill prohibiting anyone from making any unreasonable or excessive noise in any residential area in Massachusetts between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The measure prohibits sound above 50 decibels or sounds that can be heard within 300 feet.

NO MORE COAL (H 2974) - Also on the committee's November 12 agenda is a bill that would ban the use of coal burning in the production of electricity after January 1, 2017.

TRACK PURCHASERS OF PREPAID CELL PHONES (H 2912) - The Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy's October 8 hearing will be in Room A-2 at 10 a.m. One of the bills on the agenda would require retail sellers of prepaid cell phones to request and copy one or more forms of identification, including the name and address of the purchaser of the phone. Customers who purchase prepaid phones are not required to have a credit card or to sign long-term contracts. Under these prepaid plans, a customer opens an account and can pay cash upfront for a specific amount of airtime. When the customer runs out of minutes, he or she can either buy additional minutes or simply end the arrangement and not be under any further obligation. The customer does not have to return the phone, which has become known as a "throwaway" phone.

Another provision would punish any customer who purchases more than three prepaid cell phones in a 24-hour period by imposing up to a $200 fine or six-month prison sentence. Supporters say the sale of prepaid cell phones is not sufficiently regulated and noted that these untraceable, throwaway phones have been used by terrorists.

Opponents say the requirement is unnecessary and is another example of government intrusion in the name of safety.

Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at

Groton Herald

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