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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development

Senate Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 309
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-1625

House Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 195
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-2015

Committee Rules
2017-2018 Legislative Session

I. PUBLIC HEARINGS
  1. All public hearings shall be conducted by the Senate or House Chair (the “Presiding Chair”). The Chairs shall alternate in presiding over the public hearings and executive sessions in a manner agreed to by the two Chairs; provided that reasonable effort is made that each Chair preside over an equal number of public hearings.
  2. In the absence of both Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by the Senate or House Vice Chair, as determined by the Chairs. In the absence of both Chairs and both Vice Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by a member of the Committee as designated by the Chairs.
  3. The Presiding Chair shall have general supervision in all hearings before the Committee and shall preserve order and decorum. Committee members may question witnesses only when they have been recognized by the Chair for that purpose.
  4. Except in an emergency, a notice and agenda of every hearing and executive session of the Committee shall be sent to all committee members in electronic format and shall be filed with the clerks of both branches and publicly posted in such places as are designated in advance for such purpose by said clerks, at least 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, prior to that time of such hearing and executive session. The Chairs, by mutual agreement, shall determine the agenda for any given hearing and executive session.
  5. The Presiding Chair may use his or her discretion in scheduling the order of petitions to be heard at any public hearing or executive session of the Committee. However, as a general rule, petitions shall be heard in the sequence appearing on the Committee hearing calendar, except that petitions that involve a similar subject matter may be heard as a group.
  6. The Committee shall hold public hearings on each matter referred to it in each legislative session.
  7. Both Chairs must be notified prior to a Committee hearing or executive session of any intended use of electronic recording devices at such Committee hearing or executive session, and the Chairs, in turn, must notify the members of the Committee that such devices will be used during such hearing or executive session. The Presiding Chair may prohibit the use of any recording deemed to interfere, or to be likely to interfere, with the conduct of the hearing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, State House authorized web-streaming shall be permitted.
  8. Before each hearing, anyone intending to testify shall register the following information on a witness sign-up sheet: name, address, telephone number, email, organization and bill number.
  9. All testimony before the Committee shall be accepted in written and/or oral form.
  10. The Presiding Chair may limit the length of testimony and the time for questioning witnesses by each Committee member.
  11. All questions put to witnesses before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee. All questions of witnesses by Committee members shall be directed through the Chairs. The pertinence of the subject matter shall be determined by the Chairs.
  12. The Presiding Chair may ask persons testifying to summarize their written testimony. Persons testifying before the Committee shall limit their testimony to three minutes. The Chairs, at their discretion, may extend the length of oral testimony after giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for hearing and the length of time available.
  13. The Presiding Chair shall permit members of the General Court and may permit other public officials to testify out of order, and may call witnesses without reference to the presence or position of their names on the witness sign-up sheet. The Chair reserves the right to re-open closed portions of the hearing to permit testimony of any late arriving witnesses.
  14. Anyone may record a written opinion for the Committee and present the testimony to the Committee staff at the time of the public hearing or within 48 hours before an executive session on the matter.
  15. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off or silenced during hearings and executive sessions.
II. EXECUTIVE SESSIONS
  1. Executive sessions may be held after each public hearing and at other appropriate times. 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. The Chairs, by mutual agreement, shall set the agenda for all executive sessions. Adequate notice shall mean at least 48 hours excluding, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, prior to that time of such hearing or executive session.
  2. Every executive session shall be open to the public, unless the committee votes to close any such 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 quorum. A simple majority shall constitute a quorum.
  5. The Senate and House Chair by mutual agreement 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.
  6. All votes shall be recorded by noon the following business day. Said votes 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.
  7. Prior to a vote, at the request of either Chair, an informal poll of each committee member shall be taken to determine the inclination of the Committee on any specific bill.
  8. Any member of the Committee may be listed as “dissenting” on the report of the committee on any bill, provided such member notifies both Chairs before 5:00 pm on the day of the executive session on said bill.
  9. At the request of any committee member, a motion for reconsideration of an executive session committee recommendation may be made and must be seconded by another committee member. Written notice that such motion has been requested must be given to the Chairs of the committee on the same calendar day of the committee’s decision on said matter. Such motion for reconsideration shall be permitted for any petition. This rule may be waived by the Chairs upon mutual agreement in the case of a late filed bill or bills referred to the committee after the third Wednesday of February of the second annual session.
  10. In lieu of an executive session, the Senate and House Chairs, by mutual agreement, may conduct an electronic or telephone 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 members to record their votes, and the deadline for recording votes shall be announced to each Committee member. All votes received prior to the deadline 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.
  11. The Chairs may designate their respective Vice Chairs or any other committee member to manage the progress on the House or Senate floor of any bill which the committee reports favorably.
III. ADOPTION, SUSPENSION OR MODIFICATION OF RULES
  1. Adoption, suspension or modification of these rules shall be made by a majority vote of all members present and voting.
  2. The foregoing rules may be waived by the Committee Chairs, by mutual agreement, in the case of “late-file” bills or bills referred to the Committee after the deadline as outlined in Joint Rule 12. 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.