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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Revenue

Joint Committee on Revenue
State House, Boston 02133


Michael J. Rodrigues   Jay R. Kaufman
Senate Chair
Room 410
(617) 722-1206
  House Chair
Room 34
(617) 722-2320

Committee Rules for 2013-2014


Public Hearings

  1. All bills assigned to the Joint Committee on Revenue shall be scheduled for a public hearing, except as herein provided. The Committee Chairs may however, agree to discharge bills inappropriately assigned to the Committee.
  2. The Senate Chair and House Chair shall agree between themselves who will chair each hearing. In the absence of both Chairs, the Vice Chair present shall or a Committee member designated by a Chair shall conduct hearings.
  3. All persons testifying before the Committee shall furnish the following information to the Committee.

    a) Name b) Organization
    c) Address d) Telephone number
    e) Bill number and subject matter on which the person is testifying
    f) Whether proponent or opponent of the subject matter or bill

  4. 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.   Whenever possible, petitions involving similar subject matter may be heard as a group and petitions shall be heard in the sequence appearing on the Committee hearing calendar.
  5. The Chairs may create subcommittees as they may deem necessary and convenient and appoint the chairs and members of each subcommittee. Any such subcommittee may make such investigation or exercise such authority as is delegated to it by the Chairs.
  6. No one shall be allowed to speak at any meeting without first being recognized by the Chair. The Chair may limit oral testimony to three minutes per individual. All questions by members of the Committee to witnesses before the Committee shall be addressed through the Chair and shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee. The Chair may limit the number of questions and the amount of question time allowed each member.
  7. Each member of the committee will receive a schedule of the public hearings on legislation referred to the committee. The schedule will group legislation by category, noting the hearing date, time and location.  Each member of the committee shall be given adequate advance notice of any public hearing.  Adequate advance notice shall mean at least forty-eight hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
  8. The Chair must be notified and approve of the use of electronic recording devices at a committee hearing. Hearings may be videotaped by the Legislature’s broadcast service at the request of the Chairs.
  9. All testimony offered before the Committee shall be directly germane to the particular matter then before the Committee, and any Member present may object to the hearing of testimony on the grounds that it is not directly germane to the particular matter then before the Committee.  The Chair will rule on this objection and this decision shall stand. Those testifying on proposed changes to the Massachusetts tax laws should be prepared to provide a clear accounting of the anticipated costs and benefits of the proposed change.
  10. At the discretion of the chair, Members of the General Court or other officer of the Commonwealth may be taken out of turn, but, out of respect   for the public in attendance, Members and officers may be asked to limit  their remarks to three minutes and, to the extent possible, contact the chair in advance of the hearing to schedule a time certain to appear before the committee so that interruptions of public testimony will be as brief as possible.  The chair may set aside the first thirty minutes of each hearing for public testimony only; this will be noted on the public notice of hearings.

Executive Session

  1. Executive sessions may be scheduled after each public hearing and at other appropriate times. Whenever an executive session is held at a time other than on the day of a public hearing, each member of the Committee shall be furnished with adequate advance notice of the date, time, place and subject of such executive session in accordance with Joint Rule 1D.  Adequate advance notice shall mean at least forty-eight hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
  2. No executive session may be held in the absence of either Committee Chair, except by mutual agreement of both Chairs. The Chair presiding will have general supervision of the executive session.
  3. All executive sessions of the Committee shall be open to the public unless the Committee, in accordance with Joint Rule 1A, votes to close such sessions.
  4. The presiding Chair shall announce the bill for consideration by number and title, and shall, after opening the floor for discussion among Committee members on said bill, make, or request to be made, a motion to take a particular action or no action on said bill. Upon a second motion to take the same action or no action, a vote on said motions shall be taken forthwith.
  5. The members of the Committee shall vote upon each petition by choosing one of the following recommendations: a) Ought to pass; b) Ought to pass with amendments; c) Ought not to pass; d) Discharge to another Committee; e) Held for further consideration; f) Ordered to Study. 
  6. A majority vote of the members present at the executive session shall constitute the recommendations of the Committee.
  7. Any member of the Committee shall have the right to be listed as dissenting from, or abstaining from the Committee recommendation provided that the Committee Chairs have been informed of this desire by the end of the Executive Session.
  8. At the request of either Chairman in attendance at an executive session, a poll recording the vote of Committee members shall be taken to determine the recommendation of the Committee on any specific petition. The members of the Committee shall vote upon such petition in accordance with Rule 5. In the event that a poll is taken, the Chair(s) shall notify the State House office of each absent member that he/she may indicate his/her vote on the legislation. All records of polls shall be recorded and kept in the committee and be available for inspection.
  9. Action to be taken by the Committee on any bill may be reconsidered upon a motion by not less than two Committee members before the executive session during which the vote to take action or no action on the subject bill is closed. Such motion, upon being made and seconded, shall void the initial vote on the subject bill and cause the bill to be reconsidered during a future executive session in accordance with Rules 4, 5 and 6. Action voted to be taken on any bill shall be reconsidered not more than once.
  10. The Committee Chairs shall determine the branch of the Legislature to which a report or redraft shall be sent.
  11. The Committee must hold an executive session to take action on any bill.  In lieu of an executive session, both Chairs, by mutual agreement, may conduct an electronic or telephonic poll of each committee member to determine the recommendation of the committee on a petition.  Members shall be allotted twenty-four hours to record their votes in response to a poll.  A majority of the members participating in the poll shall constitute the recommendations of the Committee.

Adoptions, Amendments, and Suspensions

  1. The co-chairmen shall be responsible to the Committee for the administration of Committee work and the orderly conduct of public hearings, meetings, and executive sessions.
  2. The co-chairmen shall have wide latitude in the enforcement of these rules in the conduct of these obligations.
  3. In the absence of any other rules then the Joint Rules adopted by both branches shall control.