House rejects Mass. crime bill amendment
BOSTON (WHDH) -- The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly rejected Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed amendment to a bill barring parole for three-time violent felons, leaving the fate of the bill in doubt as the legislative session nears an end.
It's all on the governor. He can veto it now, after the legislative session ends or just let it go. But judging by how strongly he feels about it, letting go doesn't appear to be much of an option.
Lawmakers voting on a comprehensive crime bill are under the gun and pressure from Les Gosule, going door to door, pushing them to pass it in memory of thousands of victims, his daughter Melissa included.
She was 27 years old when a career criminal out on parole murdered her. The bill, known as Melissa's Bill, says anyone convicted of a heinous crime three times will not be eligible for parole.
"We're finally here. We’re at the one-yard line. We got two seconds left to go in the game, let’s punch it in, let’s get this bill passed for the sake of hundreds of innocent people and children who deserve to be protected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Gosule said.
The governor says he wants it passed too, but with his amendment giving judges some leeway.
"This is about having some limited discretion for those, by judges, for those circumstances that we can't anticipate, and there are always those circumstances," Governor Patrick said.
But the house speaker isn't buying it, claims the amendment guts the bill, and is concerned the legislative session will end before it's approved and the governor acts.
“My desire is that we get it back to him early enough today that he can veto early enough today so we can take it up tomorrow and override the veto,” said State Rep. Robert DeLeo, House Speaker.
Maggi Bish, whose daughter Molly was murdered while life guarding at a pond in Warren, says she can’t think of a circumstance that should allow a serial criminal back on the street.
“If the governor walked in our shoes, and he knew the horror that this does to a family, he would have to say that this would have to change,” said Maggi Bish.
If the governor does veto the bill after the session ends, it may come back into formal session just to override his veto and make the bill a law.