House Passes Rules Legislation
Rules Aimed at Increasing Transparency, Efficiency
(BOSTON) – State Representative Christopher M. Markey joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in unanimously passing House rules designed to promote accountability, transparency and efficiency.
“These rules signal our continued commitment to making the House a more transparent, effective body,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “The rules, which drew bipartisan support, will help facilitate the legislative process while ensuring that we conduct the people’s business in an open manner.”
“The new legislative session got under way in a rather positive fashion today with a spirited rules debate and a good show of bipartisanship,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. “Though I would have liked to see a few more of our proposals adopted, I think several positive steps were taken today in making the House a more transparent body.”
“I feel that these rules are an important progression from what we passed as a body two years ago and I am pleased that we have gone even further in openness, transparency, and efficiency regarding the legislative process,” said Representative John J. Binienda. “I especially applaud Speaker DeLeo for taking action in improving the manner in which the House will conduct audits of its financial accounts going forward.”
“I believe the House has drafted a set of Rules for the upcoming session that provides all members with the opportunity to influence the legislative process and to create public policy that is beneficial for the entire Commonwealth,” said Representative Garrett Bradley.-
“Today, we were able to show the public, in more than a symbolic gesture, that there will be more transparency in the workings of the legislature. These reforms are real and will allow common citizens to know we understand their concerns of having an effective and transparent legislature,” said Representative Christopher Markey of the Ninth Bristol District.
The rules include a provision requiring a comprehensive procurement process for any House procurement in excess of $50,000. The bill also allows for public review of any House procurement or contract in excess of $5,000.
The rules also state that the House’s financial accounts will be subjected to an independent audit at the end of each fiscal year. Another provision requires that roll calls remain open for a minimum of five minutes if the roll call coincides with a committee hearing.
This session’s rules build on last session’s landmark rules reform package – enacted at the onset of Speaker DeLeo’s speakership – which limited the Speaker’s term to a maximum of eight years, instituted mandatory ethics training and allowed the Speaker to unilaterally remove a member from a leadership position or committee if they receive a criminal indictment.