Rep. Birmingham opposed taking power away from the Boston City Council to grant permits, during a Jan. 22 hearing of the Legislative Committee on Legal Affairs (Boston Globe, Jan 23, 1929, p. 1, 8).
The committee was considering two bills that would take the power to grant permits for Sunday professional sports away from the City Council.
One bill, sponsored by Rep. A. B. Casson, would give the power for issuing permits to the mayor, Boston Police Commissioner, and the Chief Justice of the Municipal Court. The other bill, sponsored by Rep. George Gilman, would give the power to Boston Licensing Board with approval of the Police Commissioner.
Sen. Robert E. Bigney of South Boston spoke in opposition to the bills and commented on the so-called Sunday baseball scandal. “The chairman of the Boston Finance Commission deserves a vote of public censure for announcing the names of 12 men without any evidence to back up the charges. Such announcement branded them in the eyes of the public,” said Bigney.
Birmingham testified that he was opposed in principle to taking power from elected officials.
City Councilor Israel Ruby said: “The people, when they voted in favor of the measure, showed they desired to have the City Council make rules and regulations governing Sunday sports. It is not fair for the legislature to take away what they did not see fit to give the people at the last session. Why should Boston be discriminated against in this manner? There was no hue and cry when other communities failed to accept the act. We accepted the act,” he said.
Councilor John F. Dowd of Roxbury added that the people who voted for the referendum knew the council would issue the permits. “But now the legislature wants to step in and take away what little power is left.”
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