IMMEDIATE ACTION ALERT – ACT NOW – TODAY – for Government Transparency in MA

UPDATE: This did not pass. There are still going to be times when we don’t know how our OWN reps vote, and there will still be bills allowed to DIE in committee. We will support the effort to fix this next time around, in 2 yrs, at the beginning of the next session.

Please take a minute today, USE YOUR VOICE, tell your State Representative you want her/him to support these rules changes for more transparency in our State House of Representatives. Leave a comment or send us an email to telling us who you contact and what, if anything, they said.  Everything you need is here:

The Mass. State House is about to vote on its rules for the next two-year session, either Tuesday or Wednesday. Please take a few minutes right now to call your state rep to DEMAND THAT THEY VOTE FOR AMENDMENTS TO SUPPORT TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. (To find your rep’s contact info, check here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator)

Here’s the quick background, followed by a sample script (or email):

As it is now, the Massachusetts State House operates in the dark – that’s bad for democracy and for the average citizen, no matter which side of an issue you may be on.

  • Committee votes are not recorded, so we the people don’t know where our legislators may stand.
  • Legislation can be changed between the time it has been reported by a Committee and before it reaches the House floor, based on meetings that Committee leadership and staff have with lobbyists and interest groups that are not disclosed to other members of the House or the public.
  • On the floor of the House, members often have less than 24 hours to see the final text of a bill and less than 30 minutes to see the text of amendments.

The results of these rules:

  • Our legislators often don’t know what they’re voting on.
  • The House leadership holds an iron grip on legislation, and individual Representatives have relatively little ability to represent us.
  • Lobbyists and interest groups can not have have undue influence.

A group of Representatives is proposing a few simple rule changes to address these problems and improve our state-level democracy.  These simple, common-sense changes include:

  • Publish recorded votes taken in committee online
  • Create reader-friendly summaries of bills
  • Publish testimony from supporters and opponents of bills
  • Identify the changes made to bills in committee
  • Provide ample time to read bills and amendments before voting

WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW: ASK YOUR REP TO SUPPORT THESE CHANGES

Sample Script

Hi, this is _________. I live on ___________ Street in ___________, in Rep. _______’s District.

Please let Rep. ____________ that I want him/her to vote for transparency and accountability in the vote on the House Rules.

The House has been operating behind closed doors for too long. I want Rep. _____, as my elected representative, to make informed decisions, to have the time to read bills and amendments, and to be notified who has testified for and against it bills. And we as voters ought to know how representatives vote in committee

These are common sense and a bare minimum of what’s needed.

o Publish recorded votes taken in committee online
o Create reader-friendly summaries of bills
o Publish testimony from supporters and opponents of bills
o Identify the changes made to bills in committee
o Provide ample time to read bills and amendments before voting

WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW: ASK YOUR REP TO SUPPORT THESE CHANGES

Sample Script:

Hi, this is _________. I live on ___________ Street in ___________, in Rep. _______’s District.

Please let Rep. ____________ that I want him/her to vote for transparency and accountability in the vote on the House Rules.

The House has been operating behind closed doors for too long.   I want Rep. _____, as my elected representative, to make informed decisions, to have the time to read bills and amendments, and to be notified as to who has testified for and against legislation.  As voters, we ought to know how representatives vote in committee

I understand that some brave legislators will be offering some amendments on these issues and I want Rep. ____________ to support them.

These are common sense changes, and just a bare minimum of what’s needed.

I know it takes some backbone to stand up to the House Speaker, but that’s what we elected Rep. _________ to do.

(script and info provided by MA Indivisible)

useyourvoice



(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)

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