The House of Representatives loses its appetite for vote-taking

(BOSTON)—The number of votes taken on Beacon Hill in 2015 plummeted over decades past, according to a study commissioned by the watchdog group Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and in conjunction with Insta Track.

A mere 41 significant votes were cast in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, significant votes being all roll call votes which are not unanimous, veto overrises, or procedurally mandated. The number is miniscule when compared with the 149 significant roll calls taken in 2013, the 115 in 2014 or the 20-year average of 110.

A study of voting behavior based on a partial year conducted in September indicated a trend of legislative inaction, but watchers had hoped the House might mend its ways and thus end the year on a high note.


Paul Craney, executive director of MassFiscal, noted a marked drop in vote taking immediately following the Alliance’s large scale advocacy campaign in which over 2 million pieces of literature were sent into 21 legislative districts. “Our advocacy was effective,” Craney said. “This is an unintended consequence of opening up the goings on of Beacon Hill to public scrutiny.”

“How the business of governing will change as the House loses its institutional memory of voting behavior is something we’re studying carefully,” Craney added. “The House not voting, or rarely voting, is as odd as seeing a circus without animals.”

MassFiscal advocates for fiscal responsibility, transparency, and accountability in state government and increased economic opportunity for the people of our Commonwealth.

For a complete list of the House data since 1995, click here


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