Boston- Today the Senate Republican Caucus was successful in passing a Senate rule that would require the posting of roll call votes on the General Court website within 48 hours of the vote being taken. The measure was passed unanimously by a vote of 39-0, and will take effect no later than May 1st of this year.
“This is a step in the right direction of transparency,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). He went on to say “This rule change will provide the public with the opportunity to see how exactly members are voting in a timely fashion.”
Unfortunately, some of the rules offered by Tarr, Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Senate Minority Whip Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), and Michael Knapik (R-Westfield), the Ranking Republican on Senate Ways and Means, did not generate the needed support from the members of the majority party.
Those proposed rules included:
• The television broadcasting of informal and formal sessions online and making a digital copy of the sessions available to public access television;
• posting filed bills on the internet;
• requiring a unanimous vote of all the members present to allow Senate business to proceed beyond the hour of midnight;
• mandating that any measure that proposes an increase in taxation by available in print and posted on the Senate website at least 7 days prior to consideration;
• directing the Senate Ways and Means Committee to include in its executive summary of the state budget any federal revenue source, non-recurring funding, and off-budget spending that alters an existing appropriation; and
• pairing of votes only in cases where a senator is absent from the chamber due to military service or physical incapacity.
“While an opportunity has been lost today, the Minority Party will continue to explore every option possible to promote transparency within the legislative process,” said Tarr.