House and Senate Roll Call to Suspend Rules Shows How Opaque Legislature Has Become

Warning to Public – Last Week of Session Will Shock You

Following last week’s House and Senate roll call votes to suspend legislative rules and empower Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka to introduce and pass their climate bill all in just a few short hours, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance is warning the public that State House leaders may invoke more opaque suspensions to pass more controversial bills leading up to the end of session on Sunday night. In the recent past, some left-wing lawmakers have joined Republicans to vote on new rules during the start of the legislative session that would bring about more transparency at the State House. Now, those same left-wing lawmakers are voting with leadership to suspend the same rules they once championed.

“You can easily say you support more transparency at the State House when you are running in a primary. You can easily vote in support of those transparency rules at the start of the legislative session. However, it’s clear after last week’s roll call votes that it is much more challenging to uphold those rules when they are put to the test. Unfortunately, many lawmakers who championed these transparency measures in their primaries or during the beginning of session did a complete 180 degree shift last week to rush through a very controversial and costly climate bill. With days to go, the public should be prepared to see more of the same this week from these opaque and cowardly lawmakers,” stated Paul Diego Craney, spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

During the rules debate of last year, state Representatives Erika Uyterhoeven (D-Somerville), Mike Connolly (D-Somerville), Tami Gouveria (D-Acton), Chris Markey (D-Dartmouth), and Adam Scanlon (D-North Attleboro) voted in support of an amendment which called for no conference committee report to be filed after the hour of 5:00 p.m. and provided for 72 hours to review of a report before a vote is taken on it. In the senate, Senators Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), John Keenan (D-Quincy) and Walter Timilty (D-Milton) voted in favor of an amendment last year that called for all conference committee reports to be made available at least 72 hours in advance of consideration by the Senate. A copy of the House vote may be found here and the Senate vote found here.  In a sharp turn, they voted in favor of suspending the transparency rules already on the books in order to rush through the climate policy legislation last week.

“No one should have any faith in these lawmakers or the institution as a whole. They have proven that when they are challenged to do the right thing, they will do the wrong thing. The ends justify the means. For these left-wing lawmakers who publicly declared they championed transparency at the State House, their words are cheap. For the rest of us, it’s still not too late to consider running for office if your district still doesn’t have an opponent. Serious people need to run on stickers and be their party’s nominee after this primary season,” continued Craney.

“These lawmakers pass rules just so they can break them through suspension of the rules. This type of bad behavior at the State House must be held accountable and one way to hold these people accountable is to run against them,” concluded Craney.

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