The House Just Voted Down Three Important Transparency Amendments. How Did Your Rep Vote?

Former Sierra Club lobbyist Phil Sego was once quoted as saying, “Don’t mistake what happens in [the Massachusetts State House] for democracy.” Our legislative process is deeply flawed and designed to avoid public accountability.

Yesterday, your representative had a chance to take the first step toward changing that. Amendments were introduced that would have required:

  • Representatives be given a reasonable amount of time to read the final language of any bill they’re voting on
  • Representatives be given a reasonable amount of time to read any amendment submitted on the floor that they’ll be voting on
  • Hearing testimony (for/against) a bill and all votes taken in committee to be publicly available.

All three amendments were filed by progressive stalwart Rep. Jon Hecht (D-Watertown). We explained why they're all so important here.

The first amendment would have ensured reps have at least 72 hours to read a bill before they have to vote on it. It failed 55-103. (Quick guide: To find out how your rep voted, look at the Y = yes, N = no, or X = absent to the left of their name). 

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The second amendment would have ensured that reps have 30 minutes to read any amendment filed on the floor before having to vote on it. It was voted down 47 to 111.

Rules2.jpg

NB: The text of both amendments would have allowed the House to waive the requirement for a 2/3 vote. So if something was non-controversial, it wouldn't be creating unnecessary delay (the unnecessary delays being all too often of House Leadership's own making).

Finally, the third amendment would have required the publication of hearing testimony (for/against a bill) and any roll call vote taken in committee. It was voted down 49-109.

Rules3.jpg

We should all be able to agree on these commonsense measures. In fact, Mass Fiscal Alliance supported this amendment along with Progressive Mass – probably the only time we’ve agreed on anything.

We have to wonder what the representatives who don’t support such obvious transparency and accountability requirements are hiding.

Let Your Rep Know You're Watching

Please send an email to your rep now. If they voted yes, a message of thanks will serve as reassurance that this was the right decision. If your rep is a no vote, they deserve to hear your opinion on that. Receiving this positive or negative feedback will be a factor in their decision making when the next vote comes up.

Find Your Rep's Email Address, Phone #, and Social Media Handles Here.

If they voted yes.....

"Thank you for voting in favor of amendments #1 through #3 to the House Rules yesterday. Transparency is the bedrock of democracy, and your support for a more transparent State House matters a lot to me and other constituents."

Email your rep now.

If they voted no...

"I was very disappointed to see that you voted against amendments #1 to #3 to the House Rules yesterday. These common sense measures would have brought much-needed transparency to the State House and made sure constituents--and legislators--feel empowered to be a part of the democratic process."

Email your rep now.

 

 

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Showing 2 reactions


commented 2019-02-13 16:00:46 -0500 · Flag
Rep.Denise Povost always takes the high road. So proud of my Rep.
commented 2019-02-01 00:56:52 -0500 · Flag
My Rep Dan Carey voted in favor of both. Proud of him!
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