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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Education

Senate Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 111
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-1673

House Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 473G
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-2070

JOINT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
RULES OF PROCEDURE 2017-2018 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

  1. All public hearings shall be conducted by the House or Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education (hereinafter referred to as the “Committee”) according to a schedule established by the Chairs.
  2. In the absence of the Committee Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by the House or Senate Vice-Chair of the Committee with permission of the Committee Chairs.  Where neither Committee Vice-Chairs nor Committee Chairs are present, the hearing shall be conducted by such other Committee member as the Committee Chairs may determine.    
  3. The Committee Chairs shall develop a schedule for hearings and executive sessions and determine a list of the matters and the order in which they will be considered at any public hearing or executive session of the Committee.  Except in the case of emergencies, such lists shall be written or electronic and distributed to Committee members 48 hours prior to the hearing, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays not included.  This list shall also be made available at the hearing to attendees.
  4. Each person testifying before the Committee shall furnish his or her name, organization (if applicable), and address.  The presiding Committee Chair or acting presiding member (hereinafter referred to as the “Chair”) shall follow the order in which petitions shall be heard at the hearing or executive session established by the Committee Chairs, unless the Chair determines that circumstances warrant a change in such order.  No one shall be allowed to speak at any hearing without first being recognized by the Chair.
  5. While ensuring that every person who wishes to testify has the opportunity to do so, the Chair may limit the time available to each witness after giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for hearing, and the length of time available.  Any person may submit testimony in writing to the Committee at the time of the hearing or within such time as the Committee Chairs determine. 
  6. In hearing testimony, the Chair may alternate testimony from the public with testimony from legislators in order to ensure that the general public will have adequate time to address the Committee.  Testimony from legislators and other public officials may be taken at any time at the discretion of the Chair. The Chair shall have general supervision of the Committee hearing and shall preserve order and decorum.
  7. Committee members may question witnesses only when they have been recognized for that purpose by the Chair.  All committee members’ questions shall be directed through the Chair.  The Chair may limit the time for questioning witnesses after giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for a hearing, and the length of time available.  All questions put to witnesses before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee. 
  8. Audio and video recording of committee hearings is permitted in accordance with Joint Rule 1D.
  9. The Chair shall be notified in advance of any intended use of electronic recording devices at a Committee hearing, and he/she, in turn, shall notify the members of the Committee that such devices will be used during such hearing.  Each person making such electronic recordings at a Committee hearing shall furnish his or her name, organization (if applicable), and address to the Committee staff.
  10. All cellular telephones and pagers must be turned off or silenced during hearings and executive sessions of the Committee.

EXECUTIVE SESSIONS

  1. Executive sessions of the Committee shall be called by the Committee Chairs.  An executive session may be held after a public hearing.  Each Committee member shall receive adequate notice of the date, time, location, and subject matter of each executive session. 
  2. All executive sessions shall be open to the public and the media, except that the Committee may hold a private session in accordance with Joint Rule 1D.
  3. Both Chairs shall be notified beforehand of any intended use of electronic recording devices at an executive session, and they, in turn, shall notify members of the Committee that such devices will be used during executive session. Each person making such electronic recordings at an executive session shall furnish his or her name, organization (if applicable), and address to the Committee staff.
  4. Except for Committee members, no person shall address the Committee during an executive session unless specifically requested to do so by the Chair.
  5. No executive session may be held in the absence of either Committee Chair, except by mutual agreement of both Committee Chairs.
  6. The presiding Committee Chair shall determine which member shall sign each report of the Committee. Committee reports, including negative reports and study orders, shall be filed in the chamber in which their underlying petitions were introduced. Any member of the Committee shall have the right to be listed as dissenting from the Committee recommendations.
  7. Motions on any matter, including requests for recorded roll calls, shall be entertained only if they are seconded by another member.
  8. The Chair may accept a motion for referral from any Committee member present at the executive session.  Motions must take the form of one of the following recommendations:
  9. Ought to pass – referred to House of Representatives for further consideration
  10. Ought to pass – referred to the Senate for further consideration
  11. Ought to pass, as redrafted, - referred to House of Representatives for further consideration
  12. Ought to pass, as redrafted, - referred to Senate for further consideration
  13. Ought not to pass
  14. Study order
  15. Discharge to (insert committee)
  16. Unless a poll of Committee members is requested by a member in attendance at an executive session, a majority vote of the members present at the executive session, including the Senate and House Chairs, shall determine the recommendation of the Committee.
  17. At the request of a member in attendance at an executive session or on their own initiative, the Committee Chairs may poll the Committee members to determine the recommendation of the Committee on any specific action.  Such poll shall be conducted at the direction of the Committee Chairs.  Polls conducted by the Committee shall remain open for 24 hours or until such time as all members have responded to the poll, whichever is sooner.  In the case of an emergency, as determined jointly by the Committee Chairs, a shorter deadline for responding to the poll may be established and communicated to the members by the Committee Chairs.  Only those votes received prior to the deadline set by the Chairs shall be included in the tally.
  18. At the request of any member of the Committee, a motion for reconsideration of any Committee recommendation may be made.  Notice, either written or oral, that such motion will be made must be given to a Committee Chair by 5:00 p.m. on the same day such recommendation is made.  Such motion shall be taken up at the next executive session; provided, that only one such motion for reconsideration shall be permitted for any recommendation of the Committee.

LATE-FILE BILLS

  1. The foregoing rules may be waived by the Committee Chairs in the case of “late-file” bills or bills referred to the Committee after the deadline as outlined in Joint Rule 12.
  2. After the deadline as established in Joint Rule 10 for making final reports, all such late-file bills shall be placed in a study order upon the expiration of the twenty-ninth day following its referral to Committee, unless the Committee in executive session takes prior alternative action.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

  1. Either Chair, in anticipation of an extended absence, may delegate his or her duties to the Vice Chair for the period of that Chair’s absence.
  2. Records of the business of the Committee, including written testimony submitted at hearings and all recorded votes or polls, along with dates and times, shall be maintained in the Committee’s office, at least until the end of the biennial legislative session in which the action transpired.
  3. The Committee Chairs by mutual agreement may discharge a bill referred to the Committee to a more appropriate committee without a public hearing or executive session. 
  4. Any Committee rule may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the members of each branch voting and present.
  5. Executive sessions and hearings may be held in the absence of a quorum.
  6. Copies of these rules shall be available to the public from the offices of the House and Senate Committee Chairs and at all public hearings of the Committee.  Copies shall also be transmitted to the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Senate.