January 24, 2006

Romney may veto religious funds bill

Boston Globe

By Frank Phillips, Globe Staff | January 24, 2006

Governor Mitt Romney signaled yesterday that he is likely to oppose a bill requiring religious institutions to disclose their finances, creating a major hurdle for advocates of the legislation who must gain a veto-proof vote in the House to guarantee that it becomes law.

The governor's comment caught supporters of the bill off guard, particularly since Romney had appeared to support the measure last August. Romney's comment also comes as supporters engage in a fierce political struggle on Beacon Hill over the legislation with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and other religious denominations. Opponents say the measure violates religious freedoms and puts undue financial burdens on churches, particularly smaller denominations. ...

Some lawmakers and lay Catholics have demanded more information about the financial health and holdings of the Boston Archdiocese as it settled civil suits from the clergy sexual abuse crisis and launched a sweeping reconfiguration of parishes.

The bill is scheduled to be considered by the House tomorrow. After Romney's remarks, sponsors of the bill, sensing a shift in the political dynamics around the measure, immediately asked for a meeting with the governor. Supporters of the bill say they believe they have a majority of representatives, but not the necessary two-thirds to override a gubernatorial veto. The Senate passed the bill by a wide margin last fall.

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2006 07:37 AM