State Reps Reject Proposed Transparency Rules

 by TWIW StaffJuly 7, 2021

The Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected three amendments to its rules on Wednesday, July 7, that were supported by transparency advocates and Act on Mass, a non-profit organization which campaigned for the rules changes.

Speaker of the House Term Limits

Amendment Two to the House rules proposed establishing term limits for the Speaker of the House.

Former Speaker Robert DeLeo, the longest serving Speaker in Massachusetts history, served in the position for twelve years until the end of 2020.

The Speaker of the House holds significant power inside the chamber, including controlling appointments to legislative committees.

The vote to establish amend the rules failed by a vote of 35 to 125.

On Amendment Two, the following representatives in the Worcester districts voted yes: 1st Kimberly Ferguson, 5th Berthuiame, 6th Durant, 8th Soter, 9th Muradian, 11th Kane, 18th McKenna.

7th Frost did not vote.

Rep. James O'Day of West Boylston, representing the 14th Worcester District spoke in opposition to establishing term limits for Speaker of the House.

O'Day voted against all three amendments all three amendments supported by transparency advocates.

Make Committee Votes Public

Amendment Sixteen to the rules proposed public disclosure of the vote of each House committee member, including on study orders.

A bill is “sent to study” by a committee when representatives want more information before going on the record about a bill. Critics say representatives misuse the process to avoid difficult votes.

When a committee votes to send a bill to study, there is no public disclosure of the vote of each representative.

The vote on the amendment failed by a vote of 41 - 117.

On Amendment Sixteen, the following representatives in the Worcester districts voted yes: 1st Ferguson, 5th Berthiaume, 6th Durant, 7th Frost, 9th Muradian, 11th Kane, 18th McKenna.

All representatives in Worcester districts voted.

Rep. Erika Uytherhoeven of Somerville sponsored the amendment.

Rep. Daniel Cahil of Lynn spoke in opposition.

48 Hours to Review Bills before a Vote

Amendment Seventeen to the rules proposed that the text of any must be available to the public for at least 72 hours before brought up for a vote in the House.

The amendment received no vote after being ruled out of order. Rep. Uytherhoeven also sponsored this amendment.

Amendment Three to the rules, which set a minimum 48 hours for lawmakers to review bills before a vote held, was  previously rejected earlier in the session.

The house rejected Amendment Three by a vote of 39 - 119.

Of representatives in Worcester districts, the following voted Yes on Amendment Three: 4th Higgins, 5th Berthuiame, 6th Durant, 8th Soter, 9th Muradian, 11th Kane, 17th LeBoeuf, 18th McKenna,

Ferguson in the 1st and Frost in the 7th district did not vote.

Rep. Christopher Markey of Dartmouth sponsored Amendment Three.

Rep. Sarah Peake of Provincetown spoke against the amendment.

Rep. Erika Uytherhoeven of Somerville also spoke in favor of the amendment.

Note: This article was updated on Friday, July 7, at 7:30 PM to correct the time for review period in Amendment Seventeen at to add video of speeches.

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