3 In the House: Mass. Reps. Meet for 10 Minutes, More ‘Informal Session’ Showmanship

Three Mass. House Reps. conduct business, Jan. 22, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE ABOUT “INFORMAL SESSIONS” where typically less than 5 representatives show up in the chamber to conduct business: The Massachusetts Legislature doesn’t show up most days for work. Instead, despite the full-time pay, the many many committee bonus pay stipends, the travel stipends, etc., typically only 2-3 reps. will show up once or twice  a week, and conduct an “informal session,” seemingly passing anything they want, unless someone “challenges the quorum” – meaning, someone challenges that there is not a quorum, that the people’s business is being conducted in an empty chamber. Those challenges very rarely (once every few years?) occur.

By reps. taking turns showing up, it’s possible for a Democrat to only set foot in the statehouse a few times from August through January, for example. A rep. might get lonely for the building, perhaps drop in to collect the mail from their paid staffer or staffers, perhaps have a long lunch or attend a ceremony… but the people’s business? Very infrequently do most reps. show up. Not much heavy lifting here.

Another week, another example:

House Session Summary – Monday, Jan. 22, 2024

Reps Made Quick Work of Local Fare

The House was in and out Monday, taking care of a raft of local bills in a roughly 10-minute informal session to start the week. Representatives advanced legislation of local importance to North Andover, Lynnfield, Wenham, Reading, Middleborough, Bernardston, Haverhill, Weston and Lanesborough. On hand to watch the legislative process Monday morning were a group of Girl Scouts from Westminster and the state champion girls’ swimming team from Wellesley High School. The House will hold another informal session this week, planned for 11 a.m. Thursday. During that session, representatives could formally move Gov. Maura Healey’s fiscal year 2025 budget, due Wednesday, into the House Ways and Means Committee to kick off budget season. – Colin A. Young

CONVENES: Rep. Donato of Medford banged the gavel and called the House to order at 11:01 a.m. Reps. Wong of Saugus and Vieira of Falmouth were also on the rostrum.

PLEDGE: Members, staff and guests rose to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

WELCOME: Rep. Donato welcomed two groups of guests to the House of Representatives: Westminster Girl Scout Troop 74893, guests of Rep. Ferguson, and the Wellesley High School girls’ swimming team, which one its fourth consecutive Division II championship this fall. The team was visiting as guests of Rep. Peisch.

PETITIONS: The House referred a by-request petition of Rep. Jones (HD 4706) relative to the sale of chapter 40B properties purchased prior to the year 2010 to the Committee on Housing; a Rep. Jones petition (HD 4701)  for legislation to establish a special commission (including members of the General Court) to study the feasibility of joining the counseling compact to the Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery; and a joint petition of Rep. Cruz and Sen. Lovely (HD 4600) that the city of Salem be authorized to employ automated enforcement of speed limit violations in designated school zones within said city to the Committee on Transportation.

NORTH ANDOVER REVOLVING FUND: The House ordered to a third reading S 2454 establishing a special purpose revolving fund in the town of North Andover.

SICK LEAVE: The House ordered to a third reading S 2556 establishing a sick leave bank for Nicole Halal, an employee of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

LYNNFIELD WATER: The House ordered to a third reading H 3808 amending Chapter 336 of the Acts of 1939 concerning the establishment of the Lynnfield Center Water District.

SICK LEAVE: The House ordered to a third reading H 4250 establishing a sick leave bank for Jonathan Corey, an employee of the Suffolk county sheriff’s department.

WENHAM CLERK: The House enacted S 2524 changing the position of town clerk in the town of Wenham from an elected position to an appointed position.

READING AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The House enacted H 1341 authorizing the town of Reading to dissolve its Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

MIDDLEBOROUGH GAS AND ELECTRIC: The House enacted H 2092 to amend the charter of the town of Middleborough.

ORDERS OF THE DAY: After hearing no objection, the House began to take items up from the House Calendar.

BERNARDSTON FIRE CHIEF: The House engrossed H 4064 authorizing the town of Bernardston to continue the employment of fire chief Peter Shedd.

HAVERHILL FIREFIGHTER: The House engrossed H 4147 authorizing Brandon Fredette to take the civil service examination for the position of firefighter in the city of Haverhill notwithstanding the maximum age requirement.

LANESBOROUGH TRAINING: The House engrossed H 4158 relative to the town of Lanesborough employee training.

WESTON WINES: The House adopted a Rep. Walsh of Peabody amendment and then engrossed H 4190 authorizing the town of Weston to grant an additional license for the sale of wines at a food store.

ADJOURNMENT ORDER: The House adopted a Speaker Mariano order to meet next on Thursday at 11 a.m.

ADJOURNS: The House adjourned at 11:10 a.m. to meet next on Thursday at 11 a.m. in an informal session.

One Reply to “3 In the House: Mass. Reps. Meet for 10 Minutes, More ‘Informal Session’ Showmanship

  1. A gathering of pompous folks having a party on the taxpayers dollar. They are only concerned with giving illegal aliens a middle class lifestyle. When was the last time they even mentioned citizen taxpayers.? Once again, Texas has an economy and population larger than most nations. Yet, Texas completes its legislative business in 6 months. If arrogance and self serving were indicators of state’s size, then Massachusetts would be the largest state in the union.

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