Sen. DiZoglio Vows to Fight On for Continuing Restaurant Protections After Amendments Fail

State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, left, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, walk up Essex Street in downtown Haverhill with Rep. Andy X. Vargas just behind them. (WHAV News photograph.)

Sen. Diana DiZoglio is vowing to fight on for restaurant protections during the post-COVID-19 era despite the Senate shooting down her efforts in a series of voice votes this week.

DiZoglio filed budget amendments that would extend takeout cocktail and caps on the fees that delivery apps charge restaurants, along with other measures involving pay for legislative staffers.

“I’m pushing non-stop until it’s done,” DiZoglio told WHAV Wednesday. She explained she will next try to add it to the June 3 bill in response to Gov. Charlie Baker lifting his state of emergency. “Whatever it takes,” she added.

The Methuen Democrat spoke in favor of each of her amendments, and no other senators spoke either in support or opposition before the votes.

In one of her measures, DiZoglio also sought to set the salary floor for full-time, entry-level legislative employees at $55,000, grant staffers an “equity adjustment” of a “lump sum additional compensation equaling 6%” of what they’ve earned since March 13, 2020 to account for remote work expenses and to tie House and Senate staff salary increases to increases in the state’s median income.

Legislative leaders said Monday that staffers in both branches received 6% cost-of-living adjustments in their paychecks this month, plus a one-time $500 stipend to defray costs of working from home. On the floor, DiZoglio said those measures weren’t enough, pointing to survey responses tallying staffers’ expenses. “The legislature has priced diversity and equity out of the building.” she said.

DiZoglio also filed a successful amendment calling for the Group Insurance Commission to study impacts of the waiting period for new state employees signing up for health insurance.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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