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November 3, 2006



With Veterans Day right around the corner, a shortfall in the account that pays a life insurance benefit to Massachusetts National Guard members was covered by Governor Mitt Romney today when he transferred funds from his own office account to make up the deficiency.


Romney took the action since the Legislature is not meeting in formal session and to ensure that National Guard members continue to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.


There is a $64,000 deficiency in the account that reimburses up to 50 percent of the cost of life insurance for National Guard members serving on active duty in the war on terror. The benefit was part of the Welcome Home Bill signed into law by Governor Romney last year. The deficiency occurred because of an increase in National Guard members due to recruitment efforts.


Romney said the transfer is possible because of the success in reducing spending with the Governor’s Office, freeing up funds for other purposes. Spending in the Governor’s Office has dropped from $5.6 million in FY02 to $4.6 million in FY06. Spending is anticipated to drop again in the current fiscal year.


“All of us in elective office recognize the service of our Massachusetts National Guard troops, and one of my greatest honors is to serve as their commander in chief. They have dealt with every dangerous assignment that we have given them, both at home and abroad. It is a privilege to be able to transfer funds from my office to avoid any interruption in benefits to our troops,” said Romney.

November 3, 2006


Files suit with SJC to prevent legislative incursion into executive authority


Governor Mitt Romney today filed suit with the Supreme Judicial Court to undo a legislative action that encroaches on the power of future governors to make executive appointments.


The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County, concerns legislation passed in April that gives the Legislature and private parties the power to appoint members of the Public Health Council, an executive panel that oversees the Department of Public Health. Currently, the Governor appoints all council members.


“By attempting to remove the power of appointment from the Executive Branch, the Legislature has overstepped its bounds as set forth in the Massachusetts Constitution,” said Brian J. Leske, the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel. “To continue the separation of powers that is crucial to our democracy and prevent a precedent that could diminish the role of future governors, it is necessary to counter this incursion into executive authority.”


The Legislature diminished the Governor’s power to appoint the Council’s members by inserting language into health care reform legislation enacted in April. Governor Romney vetoed that language, stating that the “appointment of these members as prescribed by the Legislature…is a violation of the separation of powers required by the Massachusetts Constitution.” Despite the Governor’s concerns, the Legislature overrode the veto.


The changes made by the Legislature do not affect Governor Romney, as they are scheduled to take effect on Feb. 1, 2007 when a new governor will be in office.


The Governor’s lawsuit challenges the Legislature’s action on several grounds, including that it violates the separation of powers provision of the Massachusetts Constitution. The Constitution forbids one branch of government from usurping the powers of another branch.


Currently, the Public Health Council consists of eight members and a chairman, who is the DPH commissioner. All eight members are appointed by the Governor.


Under the change in the law, the Council would grow to 17 members plus a chairman. None of the 17 members would be appointed by the Governor, although the chairman would still be the commissioner of DPH. Of the 17, five would be directly appointed by the Legislature and the remaining members would be selected as follows:




  • The Massachusetts Hospital Association would appoint one member;
  • The Massachusetts Extended Care Federation would appoint one member;
  • The Massachusetts Medical Society would appoint two members;
  • Health Care for All, Inc. would appoint one member;
  • The Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors, Inc. would appoint one member;
  • The Massachusetts Public Health Association would appoint one member;
  • The Massachusetts Community Health Worker Network would appoint one member;
  • The Board of Registration in Nursing would appoint two members who would be selected by a vote of registered nurses;
  • The Secretary of Veterans’ Services would appoint one member; and
  • The Secretary of Elder Affairs would appoint one member.

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