MA: Winner-take-all bill is OK'd by state Senate

By Travis Andersen
Boston Globe
July 16, 2010

The state Senate approved a bill last night that would give all 12 of the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote, one of three key votes the chamber took during a busy night on Beacon Hill.

After the House, which passed a similar measure last month, and the Senate formally enact votes approving the bill, it will go to the governor for his signature, said a spokesman for Senate President Therese Murray. The Senate passed the legislation by a 28-10 vote last night.

The bill would take effect only if enough states adopted the legislation to combine for at least 270 electoral votes, the amount needed to win the presidency. Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland,and Washington have adopted the legislation, Murray’s office said.

Senator Thomas P. Kennedy, a Brockton Democrat who chairs the Joint Committee on Election Laws, said in a statement that the bill would protect the integrity of presidential contests.

“Today, the Commonwealth took a large step to ensure that the person who assumes the most powerful office in the world, the presidency of theUnited States, receives the majority support of the American voters,’’ Kennedy said.

Also last night, the Senate unanimously approved a bill to allow police to arrest reckless drivers at the scene of a deadly crash withouta warrant. The bill now goes to the House, Murray’s spokesman said.

Senator Stephen Brewer, Democrat of Barre, sponsored the bill on behalf of the family of Robert L. Martinelli, a 19-year-old college student who was killed in a head-on collision in Worcester in 2002.

The Senate also voted 34-2 to approve a bill to allow public collegesin the state to be called universities.

Under terms of the bill, six colleges would adopt the university moniker, becoming Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Salem State University, Westfield State University, and Worcester State University. In addition, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy would retain their names but join the state university system, Senate leaders said in a statement.

After the bill is formally enacted by the House and Senate, it will go to the governor for signing, according to Murray’s spokesman, David Falcone.