Joint Transportation Chairmen Should Reveal Committee Vote Immediately Says Mass Citizens for Jobs
-Legislative Leadership Tries to Hide Committee Votes from Public-
Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs today called on Joint Transportation Committee Co-Chairmen William Strauss and Thomas McGee to immediately release the names of the legislators and how they voted in committee Monday on bill H. 3285, which would grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. According to the Boston Globe, Strauss refused to release information on how lawmakers voted:
“Of the 20 committee members, nine lawmakers voted to send the bill to study, another four opposed the measure, three voted in favor of it, and one abstained…Representative William Straus, cochairman of the committee and a Democrat from Mattapoisett, did not respond to requests for comment Monday. He also declined to immediately release the names of lawmakers and how they voted.” (“Lawmakers reject driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants,” by Maria Sacchetti 6-24-14)
“Chairmen Straus and McGee owe it to the public to be forthright and open about the legislative process and not keep committee votes secret,” said Andrew Goodrich Executive Director Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs (MCJ). “At every other level of government in Massachusetts this would be public immediately. In every other legislature in New England, this would be made public. Why does the Massachusetts Legislature proceed in secret?”
MCJ has previously lodged formal requests for committee votes from over 20 Joint Committees of the Massachusetts Legislature. Only certain committees have complied and publicly released their votes. MCJ will issue a comprehensive report shortly revealing which committees have complied and which are blocking transparency.
Despite the fact that many major policy decisions are made in committees, the Massachusetts Legislature is far behind other states in committee vote transparency. All New England states make committee votes public, with Vermont and Connecticut posting the votes online immediately. Maine even allows the public and media to listen live to committee hearings online or with apps for your iPhone and Android.
Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs is a 501c4 public policy organization dedicated to researching Beacon Hill to bring more transparency to the anti-jobs and anti-business sentiment prevalent in the State House. For more information, and to view a database of public information regarding legislators, the legislative process and state government visit www.masscitizensforjobs.org