By Bob Katzen
The Senate 37-1, approved the set of rules by which the Senate will operate during the 2023-2024 session. Key rules include continuing the option, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allows senators to participate, debate and vote remotely in Senate sessions, at their owns discretion, from their homes or offices; allowing legislators and citizens to testify at hearings in person or from their home or other remote location; and requiring Senate committee votes to be posted on the Legislature’s website.
“The rules package released today takes the lessons learned during this unprecedented time and incorporates them into the Senate’s practices and procedures,” said Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem), Chair of the Temporary Senate Committee on Rules. “By continuing remote participation options for hearings, publishing committee votes and allowing public access to testimony, we can create better pathways for people across our commonwealth to access and participate in state government.”
“I am proud of the Senate for its commitment to increased transparency, inclusivity and equity as reflected in this rules package,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “We have learned the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this rules package ensures that operations in the Senate continue to reflect the reality of work and civic engagement in the digital age.”
“The Massachusetts Senate must be a place of transparency and accountability,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), the lone opponent of the rules package. “The people we represent deserve that type of Senate and our reform amendments demand that type of Senate. Showing up to vote, in-person, doing the people’s business during the light of day, stopping lobbying by those who corrupted the public’s trust and providing transparency in how a senator votes are reforms that can restore good governance to the Massachusetts Senate.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the rules package. A “No” vote is against it.)
Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes