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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight

Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
State House, Boston 02133-1053

Kenneth J. Donnelly, Senator   Peter V. Kocot, Represenative
Senate Chair
Room 413D
(617) 722-1432
  House Chair
Room 23
(617) 722-2140

Committee Rules for 2013-2014

  1. General Rules for Public Hearings
    1. All public hearings shall be conducted by the Senate Chair or House Chair according to a schedule established by the Chairs.
    2. In the absence of both Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by the Vice-Chairs.
    3. In the absence of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by a member of the Committee designated by the Chairs.
    4. Except in an emergency, a notice and an agenda of each meeting of the Committee shall be sent to all Committee members and shall be filed with the clerks of both branches and publicly posted by said clerks in such places as are designated in advance for such purpose, at least 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, prior to the time of each meeting.
    5. All matters referred to the Committee in each Legislative session shall be given a public hearing. The Chairs shall use their discretion in scheduling the order of petitions to be heard at any public hearing or executive session of the Committee. Whenever possible, petitions involving a similar subject matter may be heard as a group and petitions shall be heard in the sequence appearing on the Committee hearing calendar.
    6. Both Chairs must be notified beforehand of any intended use of electronic recording devices at a committee hearing, and the Chairs must notify the members of the Committee that such devices will be used during such hearing or meeting.
    7. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off or silenced during hearings and executive sessions. Any use of a cell phone or pager during hearings and executive sessions, including calls, emailing and text messaging, is prohibited.

  2. Conduct of Hearings
    1. The presiding Chair shall have general supervision of all hearings before the Committee.
    2. All testimony before the Committee shall be accepted in written and/or oral form at the time of the hearing. All persons submitting written testimony shall furnish at least two copies of such testimony to the Committee.
    3. All persons testifying before the Committee shall furnish the following information to the Committee staff: name, organization, address, telephone number, and bill number upon which they are filing.
    4. The presiding Chair may permit Members of the General Court and other public officials to testify out of order. The presiding Chair may call persons testifying without reference to the position of their names on the sign-up sheet.
    5. Persons testifying can be asked to limit their time period and to summarize their written testimony at the discretion of the presiding Chair.
    6. Committee members may question persons when testifying when they have been recognized by the presiding Chair for that purpose. The presiding Chair, at his or her discretion, may limit the time of questioning by each member after giving due consideration to the extent to which the member has already asked questions of the person testifying, the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for a hearing, and the length of time available.
    7. All questions put to persons testifying before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee.

  3. Executive Session
    1. Executive sessions may be held after each public hearing and at other appropriate times as selected by the 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 and subject of such executive session. Adequate notice shall mean at least 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The Chairs shall set the agenda for all executive sessions.
    2. All executive sessions shall be open to the public unless the Committee votes to close any session pursuant to Joint Rule 1A.
    3. All executive sessions must be attended by both the Senate and House Chair, and no executive session may be held in the absence of either Chair. This requirement may be waived by mutual agreement of both Chairs.
    4. Executive sessions and hearings may be held in the absence of a quorum.
    5. The Senate and House Chair shall make an appropriate recommendation for each petition to be considered during the executive session. Each recommendation must be seconded by another Committee member. The Senate and House Chair shall then take a voice vote of all Committee members present and determine what shall constitute the final majority recommendations of the Committee. This rule may be waived by the Chairs in the case of bills referred to the Committee after the third Wednesday of February of the second annual session.
    6. Any Committee member present at the executive session, seconded by another Committee member, may request that a formal vote be taken on a particular petition. The Senate and House Chair shall then poll each individual member of the Committee. All votes shall be recorded by noon on the following business day. Said votes shall be kept in the offices of the Committee and shall be available for public inspection.
    7. In lieu of an executive session, the Senate and House Chairs, by mutual agreement, may conduct a poll of each Committee member to determine the recommendation of the Committee on any specific petition. A reasonable amount of time, as determined by the Chairs, shall be given for member to record their votes, and the deadline for recording votes shall be announced to each member. All votes received prior to the closing of the poll shall be announced to each member. All votes received prior to the closing of the poll shall be recorded on the appropriate form and the record of all such roll calls shall be kept in the offices of the Committee and shall be available for public inspection.
    8. Any committee member may dissent from the majority recommendation of the Committee, provided such member notifies both Chairs in writing by noon of the business day following the executive session at which the recommendation was made. This dissent shall be recorded on the appropriate form and deposited with the Senate or House Clerk.
    9. At the request of any Committee member present at an executive session, seconded by another Committee member, a motion for reconsideration of an executive session Committee recommendation may be made and must be given to the Chairs of the Committee on the same calendar day of the Committee’s decision on said matter. Such motion shall be taken up at the next regularly scheduled executive session, provided that only one such motion for reconsideration shall be permitted for any petition. This rule may be waived by the Chairs in the case of bills referred to the Committee after the third Wednesday of February of the second annual session.
    10. The Senate and House Chairs, by mutual agreement, may discharge a bill referred to this Committee to a more appropriate Committee without a public hearing.

  4. Copy of Rules
    1. A copy of these rules shall be made available to the public from the offices of the Senate and House Committee Chairs and at all public hearings of the Committee.

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