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July 16, 2024 Clouds | 74°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies 192nd (2021 - 2022)




Rules of Operation for the

2021-2022 Legislative Session


A.    General Provisions for Committee Meetings


1.     The House and Senate chairs of the committee shall alternate in presiding over the public hearings and executive sessions in a manner agreed to by the two chairs; provided, that reasonable effort is made that each chair shall preside over an equal number of public hearings and executive sessions.

2.     In the absence of both chairs at a hearing, that hearing shall be conducted by the House or Senate vice-chair present or a committee member designated by the presiding chair.

3.     Except in an emergency, a notice of each meeting of the committee, including executive sessions, shall be sent to all committee members at least 72 hours prior to the time of such meeting.

4.     The chairs shall jointly establish a public hearing schedule and agenda through mutual agreement. For the purpose of expediting the hearing process, groups of similar bills shall be called together, except the bills relative to sports betting which may require multiple days of hearings.

5.     The committee shall maintain accurate records of its meetings setting forth the date, time, place, roll calls and actions taken, if any.

6.     The committee shall hold all meetings in accordance with the Joint Rules of the Senate and House of Representatives. The chairs have the discretion to decide where the meetings and hearings will be held.

7.     If either chair is unable to perform the duties of the chair, or in the case of a chair vacancy, the vice-chair shall assume the duties and responsibilities of the chair as it relates to hearings and executive sessions until such time as the chair is able to discharge his or her duties.

B.    Conduct of Public Hearings

1.     All persons giving testimony before the committee may be required to furnish the following information to committee staff: (a) whether the person is testifying as an individual or part of a panel; (b) name; (c) organization and group represented, if any; (d) contact information; (e) bill number and subject matter on which the person is testifying; and (f) whether the person is testifying as an opponent or proponent of the bill.

2.     Oral testimony shall be received in the order posted on each hearing sheet unless the presiding chair determines that circumstances warrant a change in such order. No person may, without the permission of the presiding chair, read from prepared remarks. Committee staff shall distribute any materials to members of the committee when presented. The presiding chair shall make special provisions regarding the application of this provision for persons with disabilities.

3.     The presiding chair shall use discretion in limiting the amount of time allotted for testimony and may limit the number of questions allowed each member. All questions put to witness before the committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter at hand. No one shall be allowed to speak at any meeting without first being recognized by the presiding chair. Before concluding the public hearing, the presiding chair shall make a final call for all persons who wish to testify.

4.     All cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off or silenced during hearings and executive sessions. The chairs must be notified in advance and may approve the placement and use of electronic recording devices at a public hearing or executive session.

C.    Executive Sessions

1.     Executive sessions of the committee may be scheduled jointly by the chairs. Unless waived pursuant to a joint agreement by the chairs, no executive session of the committee shall proceed unless both chairs are present.

2.     The Senate and House chairs shall determine what matters will be before the committee in an executive session. The Senate and House chairs shall further make a recommendation for each matter to be considered during the executive session.

3.     Unless a committee member in attendance at an executive session moves that a poll be taken on a petition under consideration, and the motion is seconded and carried by a majority of those present and voting, a majority vote of the members present shall constitute the recommendation of the committee.

4.     If such a poll is requested, each member shall be so polled, in the manner prescribed by the chairs, to determine the committee’s recommendation. A majority vote is required to establish the recommendation of the committee. Only those votes received prior to the deadline set by the chairs shall be included in the tally. In the event of a tie vote, the petition shall remain in committee and the Senate or House chair, seconded by another committee member, may move to take up the matter at a later executive session.

5.     Executive sessions may be waived by the agreement of the chairs on any matter referred to the committee. In any such instance, a poll of the members shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by and agreed to by both chairs, in order to determine the committee’s recommendation.

6.     The chairs may use electronic forms of communication, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, to distribute committee information including, but not limited to, bill summaries, polls, and other related materials.

7.     When petitions are being referred to a study commission by the committee, any petition filed in the Senate shall be included in an order filed with the Senate and any petition filed in the House shall be included in an order filed with the House.