Top 10 Excuses You’ll Hear for Why Your Legislator Voted Against Transparency

Last week, the Massachusetts House voted down three common sense transparency amendments to its rules package.

These amendments were simple good government proposals, requiring that...

  • 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.

Yet they all failed, as most rank-and-file Democrats voted with House Leadership against them.

If you've reached out to your representatives since, they've probably given you a number of excuses. Spoiler: They're not very good ones.

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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.
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If You Want a Different Outcome, You Need to Change the Rules of the Game

The Massachusetts General Court is the second oldest deliberative body of the world. It’s time for it to start living up to such a stature.

Opaque processes and procedures are the standard operating procedure in the Legislature, leaving the public—and even many legislators—in the dark while monied interests exert sway behind closed doors. And an over-centralization of power encourages a culture of quiescence and retaliation, discouraging open debate on major issues—a problem especially acute in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Real reform will be impossible without changes to both rules and norms.

And with the MA House set to vote on its rules for the 191st legislative session tomorrow, we have a few good ideas about measures the House could adopt.

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Take Action: Our 2019-2020 Legislative Agenda

The 191st legislative session in the MA State House has started. Join us in the fight for progressive policy.

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What New Progressive Actions Will You Be Taking in 2019?

What New Progressive Actions Will You Be Taking in 2019?

This is a new year and there is so much we can begin to accomplish! Join Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale to learn about progressive issues and actions you can take during the new year.
On January 23, Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale will have an open meeting to discuss topics affecting our communities the local political environment.
• Preview the City Council elections and Issues
• Announce Progressive Mass' 2019-20 Legislative agenda for shared prosperity, social & racial justice, good government and sustainable infrastructure & environment
• Get inspired & active to make progressive change
This meeting will be at 7:00-8:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway, Roslindale
Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale is a Chapter of Progressive Massachusetts, a statewide, diverse grassroots organization committed to a bold, progressive agenda for the Commonwealth that believes in fighting for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice in all forms.
A Kent Harnois
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2018: House Scorecard in Review

A scorecard tells a story. So what story does our 2018 scorecard of the House tell? : A guide to the 2018 Scorecard (View Spreadsheet here, website here) -- All numbers refer to the spreadsheet.

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2018: Senate Scorecard in Review

A scorecard tells a story. So what story does our 2018 scorecard of the Senate tell? : A guide to the 2018 Scorecard (View Spreadsheet here, website here) -- All numbers refer to the spreadsheet.

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Taking Stock of the 190th Legislative Session

In January of 2017, Progressive Massachusetts unveiled our legislative agenda for the 190th legislative session -- 17 items for 2017 (and 2018). As we near the end of the year -- and the start of the next legislative session, it’s the perfect time to take stock of how the various bills fared.

 

Clear Victories

Reproductive Rights

The ACCESS bill, which updates MA’s contraceptive coverage equity law to require insurance carriers to provide all contraceptive methods without a copay, passed overwhelmingly in the Legislature and was signed by the Governor.

Democracy

Massachusetts became the 13th state to adopt Automatic Voter Registration. In this reform pioneered by Oregon in 2015, eligible voters who interface with select government agencies (here, the RMV or MassHealth) are automatically registered to vote unless they decline. With more than 700,000 eligible citizens in MA unregistered, AVR will increase the accuracy, security, and comprehensiveness of voter rolls.

The bill also enrolls Massachusetts in Electronic Registration Information Center, a coalition of states founded by the Pew Research Center that enable states to synchronize their voter rolls. ERIC has increased the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the voter rolls in participating states.

[Note: The original bill included smaller social services government agencies as well. The final bill allows for their later inclusion but focuses on the two largest sources of possible new registrants.]

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Turn the Clocks Back and MA Forward

This weekend marks Daylight Savings Time, when we will be turning the clock backwards an hour.

It's also the most important weekend of the year for turning our state forward: GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV) weekend, the last days up and including Election Day on Tuesday, November 6th.

 

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What are you doing to help move our state forward? Here are some ideas.

 

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2018 Ballot Questions: Why We're a YES - YES - YES2

Ballot Questions

On November 6, Massachusetts voters will see three questions on their ballot. Progressive Massachusetts recommends YES-YES-YES.

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