Addressing the Legislative Bottleneck

2019 was a strong year for the Massachusetts State House, with the passage of a handful of major, meaningful bills. However, with over 7,000 bills filed each legislative session, we need to be better at sending bills that can greatly benefit our Commonwealth to the Governor’s desk. Too many bills – from small municipal changes to larger statewide reforms – are stopped in their tracks by archaic legislative rules, being sent to study, and more, which need to change to make our legislature more effective and efficient.

 

My fifteen years at the State House have given me a thorough understanding of our state’s government which I can use to navigate the intricacies of the legislature and work within the system to effect meaningful change. It takes hard work and dogged determination to get a bill passed, and because of my deep involvement in the process, I understand what can be changed to improve our legislative framework. As a full-time representative, it will be a mission of mine to make changes that will create a more efficient legislative approach to improving our communities and the Commonwealth.

 

As your State Representative, I will work to:

  • Draft proposals to change the rules of the House to make it more transparent, efficient, and effective.

  • Fast-track municipal changes that require legislative approval.

  • Bring more bills to the floor for full and open debate, not just bills that are expected to pass with 140+ votes in a 160-member House.

 

I would advocate for the following specific rules changes:

  • House Rules

    • Currently, the House Committee on Steering, Policy, & Scheduling has a 30-day deadline to take action on a bill; at the end of the 30 days, if no action is taken by the committee, the bill automatically moves forward in the process to the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading (BTR).

      • Many people don’t realize that under the House Rules, BTR has the same 30-day deadline to take action on a bill, but there is no enforcement mechanism on the tail end like in Steering & Policy, the result of which is bills dying in Third Reading from inaction.

    • Add an enforcement mechanism which ensures that once a bill hits its 30-day deadline, it must move to the floor of the House for action.

  • Joint Rules of the Legislature

    • If a bill garners a majority of cosponsors in both chambers (81 in the House, 21 in the Senate), that bill shall not be allowed to be sent to study or “accompanied by a study order”; it must receive a favorable, favorable with an amendment, or negative report.

    • Said bill must receive said report no later than two months prior to the deadline created by Joint Rule 10.

      • This gives the committee of jurisdiction an incentive to hear the bill early and take action on the bill in a time frame which gives said bill more time to get through the rest of the legislative process.