Gov. Joseph Ely signed his first bill as chief executive, his own emergency unemployment bill that providers for $330,700 for immediate expenditures by state agencies (Boston Globe, Jan. 16, 1931, pp. 1, 6).
During the Jan. 15 signing ceremony, Ely was flanked by Senate President Gaspar G. Bacon, House Speaker Leverett Saltonstall, House Democratic Floor Leader Leo Birmingham, and Rep. Dexter A. Snow of Westfield.
The bill was passed expeditiously by both houses of the state legislature Jan. 15 without division or debate, record time for action on legislation proposed by a new governor, the newspaper reported.
The governor had proposed the legislation in his inaugural address the preceding week. He held a Jan. 13 breakfast meeting at the Copley-Plaza hotel to discuss the legislation. In attendance were Bacon, Saltonstall, Birmingham, and Sen. Democratic Floor Leader John Buckley of Charlestown (Boston Globe, Jan. 13, 1931, p. 15).
The previous day, Ely met with James J. Phelan, chairman of the Massachusetts Emergency Committee on Unemployment, who presented the governor’s with a report on the committee’s activities
The governor had proposed the legislation in his inaugural address the preceding week. The bill was introduced into the legislature accompanied by a message from the governor. It made it through the committees, passed by both branches of the legislature, and signed by Ely in the span of 26 hours, the newspaper related.
The money for the works program will come from current revenue. The jobs will involve repairs and minor improvements that could be started immediately under suspension of the civil service rules.
Additional public works planned to be undertaken as part of the governor’s annual appropriates bill considered by the legislature in the course of normal legislative business.