72 HOUR SENATE AMENDMENT NOTICE REJECTED


By Bob Katzen

The Senate 5-34, rejected an amendment that would require senators to receive 72 hours notice before a bill is considered unless the three-day notice requirement is suspended by a unanimous vote, or a two-thirds vote in the event of an emergency.

Current law only requires 24 hours notice and can be suspended for both an emergency and non-emergency by a two-thirds vote.

“We must be given sufficient time to review matters presented for consideration, to reach out and feel the pulse of our communities, to ascertain how proposed legislation may affect those we represent, to hear the concerns and reconcile them with the support,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “This amendment would increase transparency of the actions of the Senate and further better the performance of our jobs.”

Amendment opponents said the one-day notice has worked well and the Senate leadership often gives member more than 24 hours to read the bills.

(A “Yes” vote is for requiring the 72-hour notice. A “No” vote is against it.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen No

GIVE TWO MORE DAYS TO READ BUDGET (S 10)
Senate 4-35, rejected an amendment that would increase from five to seven the number of days senators and the public would be given to read the state budget before the Senate votes on it. The Senate version of the state’s fiscal 2021 state budget was 331 pages long and had a price tag of $46 billion.

Amendment supporters said this would simply give members and the public an additional two days to read, digest, understand and draft amendments to the most important bill the Legislature considers annually.

Amendment opponents said the five-day period is sufficient and has worked well. They noted that the additional two days would tie the hands of the Ways and Means Committee and prevent quick action when it is needed as it was with the most recent budget that was delayed for months because of the COVID pandemic.

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