“THERE OUGHTA BE A LAW

By Bob Katzen

The Friday, February 19 at 5 p.m. deadline for filing legislation for consideration during the 2021-2022 legislative session is fast approaching. Many late-filed bills are admitted to the Legislature following the deadline, but vast majority of proposals are filed by February 19.

Massachusetts is one of a handful of states that give citizens the “right of free petition”—the power to propose their own legislation. A citizen’s proposal must be filed in conjunction with his or her representative or senator or any other representative or senator. Sometimes a legislator will support the legislation and sponsor it along with the constituent. Other times, a legislator might disagree with the bill but will file it anyway as a courtesy. In those cases, the bill is listed as being filed “by request”—indicating that the legislator is doing so at the request of the constituent and does not necessarily support it. Citizens that are interested in filing legislation should contact their own or any other representative or senator.

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