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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities

Senate Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 312-D
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-1230

House Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 146
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-2011

JOINT COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Committee Rules for 2017-2018 Legislative Session

A.  Public Hearing Procedures:

  1. All bills assigned to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities shall be scheduled for a Public Hearing, except that the Chairs may agree to    
    discharge bills inappropriately assigned to the Committee.

     

  2. Whenever possible, bills that are referred to the Committee should be scheduled according to subject matter. The House and Senate Chairs shall be responsible for determining the schedule for all Public Hearings and Executive Sessions, and for determining the agenda for each Public Hearing and Executive Session. The House Chair, in consultation with the Senate Chair, shall be responsible for notifying the Committee members and keeping all records of Committee activity.
  3. At least 48 hours in advance of any Public Hearing or Executive Session, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, all members of the committee shall receive by electronic message an official notice including copies of bills and summaries. An electronic message should also be sent to all members informing them of the date, time, location and agenda. Notice shall be distributed to the House and Senate Clerks at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. The Chairs may suspend the 48-hour requirement in an emergency pursuant to Joint Rule 1D.  

B.  Public Hearing Conduct:

  1. The House or Senate Chair, as determined by said Chairs prior to each hearing, shall serve as the Presiding Chair and conduct the order of business for the public hearings. In the absence of the House or Senate Chair, a Vice-Chair shall preside.
  2. Committee members may question individuals testifying before the Committee only after being recognized by the Presiding Chair. All questions shall be pertinent to the subject
    matter.

     

     

  3. At the discretion of the Presiding Chair, legislators and other elected public officials wishing to testify may be recognized at any time during the public hearing.
  4. Oral testimony will be accepted on all matters before the Committee as they appear on the agenda.
  5. Unless waived by the Presiding Chair, all persons testifying before the Committee shall furnish and state the following information prior to testifying:
  6. Bill number and title
    Name
    Title (if applicable)
    Organization (if applicable)
    Address
    Telephone Number

  7. Written statements should be submitted to the Committee no later than the hearing date and not read during the public hearing unless allowed by the Presiding Chair.
  8. After giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, number of bills, number of witnesses and the length of time available, the Presiding Chair may reasonably limit the length of questioning by each member and the testimony of witnesses.
  9. At the discretion of the Chairs, agencies may be asked to submit their written responses to proposals affecting their agency no later than the scheduled hearing date. In addition, a
    representative of said agency may be requested to prepare oral testimony for the day of the hearing and to be on hand to answer questions at the Public Hearing and the Executive Session.

    C.  Executive Sessions:

    1. Executive Sessions shall be held after each public hearing or at other appropriate times as determined by the House and Senate Chairs. Whenever an Executive Session is held at a time other than after a Public Hearing, each member of the Committee shall be furnished with adequate advance notice of the date, time, location, bill numbers and subject of such
      session. Notice shall be distributed to the House and Senate Clerks. Adequate advance notice shall mean at least 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal
      holidays.
    2. All Executive Sessions shall be open to the public, unless a majority of the Committee  members present votes to close such session in accordance with Joint Rule 1D.  In  
      addition, the public may not comment at an Executive Session unless specifically questioned by the presiding Chair.

       

    3. All Executive Sessions must be attended by both the Senate and House Chair. This
      requirement may be waived by mutual agreement of the Senate and House Chairs.
    4. The members of the Committee may appropriately discuss each bill and vote by choosing one of the following recommendations:

                              1. Ought to pass.
                              2. Ought to pass with amendment(s).
                              3. Ought to pass - Committee redraft.
                              4. Ought to pass - accompanied study order.
                              5. Ought to pass - accompanied similar petition.
                              6. Ought not to pass.

      The vote of a majority of the members present, including the House and Senate Chairs, shall constitute the recommendation of the Committee.

    5. Any member of the Committee shall have the right to be listed as approving of, dissenting from, or reserving his/her rights on any report, provided such member notifies the House and Senate Chairs before 4:45 p.m. on the day of the Executive Session or, if the vote occurred after 4:45 p.m., then before 9:15 a.m. of the next business day.

       

    6. Bills reported by the Committee shall be sent to the branch of the Legislature in which the matter originated, unless the Chairs determine otherwise.
    7. Any member of the Committee present at an Executive Session may move for reconsideration of an Executive Session vote after such session has closed, provided that written notice is given to the House and Senate Chairs before 4:45 p.m. on the same day as the Executive Session or, if the vote occurred after 4:45 p.m., then before 9:15 a.m. of the next business day. Only one such motion for reconsideration shall be permitted for each bill. At the discretion of the Chairs, the vote for reconsideration may be taken at the same session or at a later Executive Session.
    8. There are three instances in which a poll may be conducted to determine the recommendation of the Committee on any specific bill:
      1. A poll shall be conducted on a bill that has had a hearing, should two members of the Committee request it. The two members so requesting a poll must make such request, in person, at the Executive Session during which the Committee's vote originally was to have been determined. 
      2. A poll may be conducted on a bill that has had a hearing, with the consent of both Chairs. A copy of the bill and a summary thereof shall be distributed to each member of the Committee, together with a memorandum containing the subject of the poll and a deadline for responding. 
      3. A poll may be conducted in regards to a bill that has not had a hearing, with the consent of both Chairs. A copy of the bill and a summary thereof shall be distributed to each member of the Committee, together with a memorandum containing the subject of the poll and a deadline for responding. 
      4. In both of the above-mentioned instances, the House and Senate Chairs may waive the 48-hour notice requirement for polls. The votes shall be recorded on appropriate forms
        and the record of all such roll calls shall be kept in the office of the Committee. The votes of a majority of those members responding to the poll shall constitute the official
        recommendation of the committee.

    D.  Miscellaneous:

    1. A notice and agenda of every public hearing of the Committee shall be filed with the Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the House and publicly posted in such places as are designated in advance for such purpose by said Clerks, at least 48 hours prior to the time of such meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. The notice shall include the date, time and place of such meeting.
    2. A copy of these rules shall be on file with the Senate and House Clerks and shall be made available to the public at the offices of the Senate and House Committee Chairs and at all public hearings and Executive Sessions of the Committee.
    3. Pursuant to Joint Rule 3A, all matters requiring legislation shall be founded upon petition, excepting that the Committee on Children and Families acting concurrently, upon written
      and signed report of two-thirds of the members of the Senate and two-thirds of the members of the House appointed to the Committee, may report a bill or other form of legislation without said petition, provided however, that matters so reported shall be germane to the subject matters regularly referred to said Committee, and the Committee shall hold a public hearing on such bill or other form of legislation before it is reported.
    4. Any rule contained herein may be amended upon written and signed report of two-thirds of the members appointed to the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Any rule contained herein may be suspended by two-thirds of the members present and voting at any meeting of the Committee.