Coalition of lawmakers seek “functional democracy” in Mass. House

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By State Rep. Thomas M. Stanley (D-Waltham, Mass.) 

A group of state representatives have come together to restore the balance of power in the membership in the Massachusetts House and ensure that issues receive both proper consideration and debate.  Our goal is to make the House a more open and transparent place so we have proposed a number of reforms to combat increasing power consolidation in the hands of the leadership in the House.

Over the past few years, power has been consolidated in the hands of the small leadership team, leaving the rest of the representatives increasingly at their mercy. This near-complete consolidation of power has been intensifying over years, making it more and more difficult to legislate on behalf of our districts and constituents. Our group knows that this is not the way to run a government, and has proposed a number of reforms to combat increasing power consolidation in the hands of the leadership in the House. These reforms will:

Ensure that home-rule petitions can be discharged from the Rules Committee in a timely fashion;

Make the state budget process in the House more transparent, and make the House operating budget specifics accessible to all members;

Provide a leadership election and committee appointment process that distributes more power to the members;  and

Provide legislators with greater control of the operating budgets for their offices and eliminate or narrow legislative exemptions to the open meeting law, public records law and purchasing standards.

We want the House to become a functional democracy. We want each bill deliberated in the committees and referred to the floor based on merit, where it will be fully debated.  A representative form of government is supposed to give us all a voice at the table so the interests of our constituents are adequately represented, but when all power is put in the hands of one person, it corrupts that process and opens the door to abuse.

To learn more, search for “Representatives for Reform” on Facebook.  Join us and contribute to the open and honest discourse to make real reforms within the House and improve the governance of Massachusetts.

 

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