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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Patricia D. Jehlen
Senate Chair
Paul Brodeur
House Chair

 Committee Rules for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session​

A.        General Rules

1.         All hearings of the Committee shall be open to the public.

2.         Except in an emergency, a notice and an agenda of each meeting of the Committee shall be sent to all Committee members to be filed with the Clerks of the Senate and House and made available, whenever possible, to each Committee member at least 72 hours, not including weekends or legal holidays, prior to the time of such meeting.

3.         The Committee shall maintain accurate records of its meetings, setting forth the date, time, place, roll calls and actions taken.  These records shall be available for public inspection.

4.         The Senate Chair and House Chair shall agree among themselves who will Chair each hearing.  In the absence of both Chairs, hearings shall be conducted by the Vice Chair present or a Committee member designated by a Chair.

5.         The presiding Chairs, or acting presiding member (hereafter "the Chair") shall use his or her discretion in scheduling the order in which proposals shall be heard at any public hearing or executive session of the Committee.

6.         All persons giving oral or written testimony before the Committee shall be required to furnish the following written information to the Committee Staff:

                        a.         Name
                        b.         Organization (if such testimony is purported to be representative of the opinions of the same group)                                                c.         Address
                        d.         Telephone number
                        e.         Bill number and subject matter on which person is testifying
                        f.          Whether proponent or opponent of subject matter or bill. 


8.         All persons intending to submit written testimony to the Committee shall furnish copies of such written testimony to the Committee staff no later than the day of the hearing at which such testimony is to be considered, unless otherwise requested or authorized by the Chairs. 

B.        Conduct of Hearings and Other Meetings

1.         The Chair may limit oral testimony to three minutes per individual.  The Chair may limit the number of questions and the amount of question time allowed each member.  All questions put to witnesses before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject          matter before the Committee.  No one shall be allowed to speak at any meeting without first being recognized by the Chair. 

2.         No electronic recording or transmission devices may be used in a Committee hearing or Executive Session without the prior approval of the House and Senate Chairs, who shall notify the members that such devices are being used.  This provision shall not apply to television coverage provided to the Legislature by contractual arrangement.

3.         Motions on any matter, including requests for recorded roll calls shall be entertained only if they are seconded by another member.  Upon said motion the vote on any bill shall be recorded.

4.         Hearings may be held in the absence of a quorum.  Executive sessions may be held in the absence of a quorum only when adequate advance notice has been given to members.  Adequate advance notice shall mean at least 72 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.   

C.        Adoption, Amendment and Suspension.

1.         These rules shall be adopted by a majority vote of the Members present and voting.

2.         Once adopted, these rules may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Senate members present and voting, and a two-thirds vote of the House members present and voting.

3.         Any rule may be suspended by a two-thirds vote of the Senate members present and voting, and a two-thirds vote of the House members present and voting.

D.        Executive Sessions. 

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 and subject of such executive session. 

2.         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 prior mutual agreement of the Chairs.  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 members to record their votes, and the deadline for recording votes shall be announced to each member.  All votes received, including electronic mail, 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. 

3.         The Senate or House Chair present and voting on the prevailing side shall sign the final draft of each favorable report of the Committee and shall determine which branch of the Legislature the favorable report shall be sent; provided, however, that any member may choose to dissent.  If the Chairs decline or dissent, another member may be designated by the Chairs to carry the report. Unless otherwise mutually agreed upon by the Chairs, legislation receiving a favorable report will be advanced to the chamber of the original sponsor.   

4.         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 first annual session. 

5.         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 prior to the adjournment of an executive session..  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 first annual session. 

6.         Subject to notification of all Committee members, the Chairs may, by mutual agreement, discharge any matter before the Committee to another committee.