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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
State House, Boston, MA
(617) 722-2400


James T. Welch   Steven M. Walsh
Senate Chair
  House Chair
Room 416A   Room 236
(617) 722-1660   (617) 722-2430

Committee Rules for 2013-2014


I.    GENERAL RULES FOR PUBLIC HEARINGS AND MEETINGS

      A. Rules Relative to the Public

  1. All bills originally assigned to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing shall be scheduled for a public hearing.  The Chairpersons may, however, mutually agree to discharge bills which have been inappropriately assigned to the Committee. Additionally, the Chairpersons may mutually agree, at their discretion, schedule for hearing any bill referred to the Committee that had previously been referred to another committee, including bills heard by such other committee(s).
  2. All persons testifying before the Committee shall furnish the following information:
  3.                Name
                   Organization
                   Address (Email or street)
                   Telephone Number
                   Bill #
                   Position on Bill
  4. For bills referred to the Committee that were the subject of a public hearing held by another committee, only written testimony will be accepted unless the Chairpersons announce their intention to accept oral as well as written testimony when hearings are scheduled subject to the provisions of Rule I.A.1.
  5. The length of oral testimony of any witness shall be limited to three minutes or a reasonable time, to be determined by the Chair.
  6. The Chairpersons shall develop a schedule of hearings and executive sessions, determine the matters to be considered, and prescribe the order in which scheduled matters will be considered at any public hearing or executive session of the Committee.
  7. Legislators and other public officials wishing to testify on any matter scheduled for hearing may be recognized by the Chair and their testimony taken out of order.
  8. The Chair must be notified before any intended use of electronic recording devices at a committee hearing.  Only credentialed members of the popular press may record, videotape or film committee hearings, and only when they have received prior approval from the Chair(s).  Except with the prior approval of the Chair(s), members of the public, private and non-profit organizations and legislative agents are prohibited from videotaping or filming committee hearings.  Hearings may be videotaped by the Legislative Services Bureau at the request of the Chairs.
  9. All cell phones and pagers shall be turned off or placed on silent during public hearings.

      B. Rules Relative to the Committee

  1. The Chairpersons shall determine which of them will preside at each public hearing or meeting of the Committee.
  2. In the absence of both Chairpersons, the hearing or meeting shall be chaired by either Vice-chairperson.
  3. In the absence of both Chairpersons and both Vice-chairpersons, a member of the majority party shall be designated by the Chairpersons to chair the meeting. 
  4. The Chair shall have general supervision of all hearings before the Committee. Committee members may only question witnesses when they have been recognized by the Chair for that purpose.
  5. The Chair, at his or her discretion, may limit the time of questioning by each member after giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for hearing and the length of time available.

 II.  GENERAL RULES FOR EXECUTIVE SESSIONS

      A. Rules Relative to the Public

  1. All executive sessions shall, except as hereinafter provided, be open to the public and the media, except that the Committee may hold a private meeting in accordance with Joint Rule 1D.
  2. Except for the Committee members, no person shall address the Committee during an executive session unless specifically requested to do so by the Chairperson.
  3.       B. Rules Relative to Committee Members

    1. Each member of the Committee shall receive reasonable notice of the date, time, place and subject matter of executive sessions.
    2. Both Chairpersons must attend executive sessions and no such session shall be held if either is absent. This requirement may be waived by agreement of both Chairpersons.
    3. A quorum shall be presumed to be present at all Executive Sessions, unless doubted by a member of the Committee.
    4. Unless a poll of Committee members is requested on any matter by a member in attendance at an executive session, a majority vote of the members present shall constitute the recommendation of the Committee.  If such poll is requested, each member shall be so polled, in the manner prescribed by the Chairpersons, in order to determine the committee recommendation on any petition.
    5. Any member of the Committee shall have the right to be listed as dissenting to the Committee report, and may reserve his or her rights at the time of the executive session.
    6. The Chairpersons shall determine the branch of the Legislature into which a favorable committee report shall be filed and shall designate the member, if other than a Chairperson, who will carry such report.
    7. Executive Sessions may be waived by the Chairpersons, unless objection thereto is made by three or more members of the Committee, on petitions referred to the Committee after Joint Rule 10 has gone into effect pursuant to extension orders adopted in the Senate and the House of Representatives.  In any such instance, a poll of the members shall be conducted, in the manner prescribed by the Chairpersons, in order to determine the Committee’s recommendation.

    III.  GENERAL RULES FOR ELECTRONIC POLLING

    1. In lieu of an Executive Session, the Chairpersons may electronically poll the membership on matters before the Committee.  Electronic Polls must be released by mutual agreement of the Chairpersons.  A majority vote of the members participating in the poll shall constitute the recommendations of the Committee.
    2. Each member of the committee shall receive at least 24 hours to review the entire poll.
    3. Each Chairperson shall be responsible for ascertaining the vote of the membership from their respective branch. 

    IV. OTHER RULES

    1. Copies of these rules are on file in the offices of the Clerk of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives and shall be available at the offices of the Chairpersons of the Committee.

    V. ADOPTION, SUSPENSION, MODIFICATION PROVISION

    1. On motion of either Chair, adoption, suspension, or modification of these rules shall be made by a concurrence of 2/3 members present and voting.