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Bills

In a two-year session of the Legislature, thousands of bills are filed, some of which result in legislation producing the laws of  our Commonwealth.  The parliamentary process used by the Massachusetts Legislature is based on the colonial-era British Parliament.  Both legislative branches - the House of Representatives and the Senate - have rules that govern their respective chambers, in addition to a set of joint rules agreed upon by both branches.  These rules allow an open, thoughtful and deliberative process by which bills may become law. 

Tips & examples

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Bills Search Help

A basic search requires only one field to be filled in, but you may

  • Enter a keyword alone
  • Enter a Bill Number alone or with keyword

Bill Number Syntax: You can use

  • Just a number (ex: 1496) or
  • Prepending "H" or "S" to search for House- and Senate-specific bills (ex: H234, or S.123).
    The system does not distinguish between S.123 and S123.

Multiple Bill Numbers: Multiple bills can be found by

  • separating them with commas (ex: H2003, 1395, 2345)
  • or indicating a numerical range (ex: H345-H445, or 998-1000)
  • or using a combination of both commas and ranges (ex: H345-H445, 7865, 1286, H22)

Note: These Bill Number searching methods currently do not work in the Keyword field. Multiple specific Bill Numbers can only be found using the Bill Number field.

Search Results

Click on a result to view its details (whole result highlights in blue when you hover), or you may browse to the Bill or Bill Sponsor  on the left side of the results table (in the "Found In" column).

Refining and Filtering: Pare the results down using the refiners on the left panel of the Search Results page. The results present all results by default. Narrow down results by checking the checkboxes (the number of results for each type are shown at right of the checkbox and label). If a refiner set has more than 5 refiners available, you can choose more refiners by clicking the "Show More Refinements" link, and a dialogue box will pop over the results page. Clicking a refiner replaces the original results with only the results from the checked refiners (note: checking all refiners is the same as getting the whole original result set). Get back to the original set of results by clicking the Reset "X" icon.

Keyword Search Tips

  • To find either horse OR bicycle (or both, not necessarily together as a phrase) simply separate words by spaces, or type this: horse OR bicycle )
  • To find both elementary AND education in the same result, type: elementary AND education
  • To get results with the exact phrase higher education use quotes to surround the phrase, as in: "higher education"
  • To search for taxi but not return results that also have taxicabs or licenses, use: taxi NOT taxicabs NOT license (or simplify as: taxi -taxicabs -licenses)

House of Representatives Chamber
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House of Representatives Chamber

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