SECTION 1: Section 2A of Chapter 4 of the General Laws, as so appearing in the 2016 official edition, is hereby amended by striking out Section 2A in its entirety and inserting in place thereof the following new language:-
Unless otherwise provided, the provisions of this section shall apply to each special commission established to make an investigation and study of any matter.
If it is provided that members of the senate and house of representatives shall be members of such commission, such members shall be designated by the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, respectively.
Such commission (1) shall be provided with quarters in the state house or elsewhere; (2) may expend for expenses and for expert, legal, clerical and other assistance such sums as may be appropriated therefor; (3) may travel within the commonwealth; (4) may hold hearings; (5) shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerk of either branch; and (6) may report from time to time but shall file its final report not later than the last Wednesday in January in the following year, if it is established, continued, or revived and continued, in an odd-numbered year, or not later than the last Wednesday in December in the same year, if it is established, continued, or revived and continued in an even-numbered year.
Appointments to a special commission shall be reported to the boards and commissions office of the Commonwealth within 30 days of appointment as well as the appointed member’s appointing authority, and shall reference the date at which such term of appointment ends. The boards and commissions office shall, within 30 days thereafter, make this information publicly available online. Changes in commission appointments shall be reported within 30 days to the boards and commissions office.
Private or executive meetings of each special commission shall be open to the public unless a majority of the members of such commission shall vote otherwise. A notice of each such meeting shall be filed with the clerk of either branch, and the notice or a copy thereof, along with the agenda, shall be publicly posted in the office of such clerk at least twenty-four hours prior to such meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
If such commission is continued, or revived and continued, it shall continue to exercise and perform all the rights, powers and duties previously conferred or imposed on it.
A special commission established to make an investigation and study of any matter shall automatically be dissolved sixty days after submission of its final report to the recipients designated in its enabling statute. Such commissions may seek extensions of reporting deadlines through their appropriate enabling authority if additional time is needed to complete and submit their final report.
SECTION 2: Chapter 4 of the General Laws, as so appearing in the 2016 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following new section:-
Section 2B: Meeting agendas for open meetings of all commissions shall be filed with the clerk of either branch not less than 48 hours prior to the meeting or concurrently with the meeting notice. The commission shall be responsible for making the agenda publicly available online; provided, however, that the commission may designate the clerk of either branch as the party responsible for making such information publicly available online. Meeting minutes from commission meetings must be approved at the next subsequent meeting of the commission at which a quorum is present. The boards and commissions office shall be required to establish and maintain a website that allows the public at no cost to search for and obtain copies of the minutes of open meetings held by each commission. Minutes shall be posted on this website within 30 days after the commission has approved such minutes.
SECTION 3: Chapter 4 of the general laws, as so appearing in the 2016 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following new section:-
Section 2C: If the appointing authority for a seat on a commission, created either by statute or executive order, makes a written finding that the authority is unable, within 90 days after the creation of the commission or the development of the vacant seat, to locate any person in the Commonwealth who meets the requirements for such seat and who is also willing and suitable to serve, the appointing authority may be permitted to appoint a person for the seat who meets only some of the requirements enumerated in the enabling statute or executive order.
SECTION 4: Chapter 4 of the general laws, as so appearing in the 2016 official edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following new section:-
Section 2D: The boards and commissions office shall, on an annual basis, compile a list of active commissions that includes each commission’s members and each member’s appointing authority, commissions which have been dissolved, and commissions which need additional appointments.
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