Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance Welcomes Increase in Senate Transparency

New Rules Changes Will Enhance Accountability

Boston, MA: The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to promoting better government and right-of-center fiscal and economic policy solutions, today noted that the organization is very pleased with many of the changes made to the Senate’s rules as passed today.

“The unanimous decision to put nearly all Senate committee votes online within 48 hours is particularly welcome, given that this issue has long been one of our top priorities,” said Paul Craney, the group’s executive director. “It’s a basic matter of good government that citizens should be easily able to determine how their legislators are voting, whether in committee or on the floor.”

Other significant changes adopted by the Senate included an outline for a formal procedure to audit Senate accounts on an annual basis and to provide links to the relevant bills and/or amendments when roll call documents are put online. Two other amendments, one to allow members at least 4 hours to consider committee polls and another requiring the Committee on Ways and Means to make the connection between revenues and spending more explicit, were unfortunately both rejected. In addition, a proposal to put stream committee hearings live online was withdrawn due to concerns raised during debate; similar proposals have also been a longstanding priority of the organization.

“Now that Senate has passed its rules with many new changes promoting better, more accountable government, we hope that the House will do the same when it debates its rules in the coming weeks, and that both branches will act in the same spirit during the joint rules debate next month,”  Craney concluded.

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