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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Elder Affairs

Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development
State House, Boston, MA


Patricia Jehlen   James J. O’Day
Senate Chair
  House Chair

Committee Rules for 2013-2014

A. GENERAL RULE AND CONDUCT OF PUBLIC HEARINGS

1.  All public hearings shall be conducted by either the Senate or House Chairs.  The Chairs shall determine which of them will preside at each public hearing or meeting of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. 

2.  In the absence of both Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by the Senate or House Vice Chairperson.

3.  In the absence of the Chairs and Vice Chairs, the hearings shall be conducted by the ranking senior member of the majority party, as determined by years of service in the General Court. 

4.  The Chairperson shall have general supervision of all Committee hearings and shall preserve order and decorum.  Committee members may question witnesses only when they have been recognized for that purpose by the Chair.  All Committee members’ questions shall be directed through the Chair.  The Chair may limit the time for questioning witnesses after giving due consideration to the importance of the subject matter, the number of petitions scheduled for hearing, and the length of time available. 

5.  The Chairs shall use their discretion in scheduling the order in which proposals shall be heard at any public hearing of the Committee.

6.  All persons intending to submit written testimony to the Committee shall furnish copies of such written testimony to the Committee staff.

7.  All persons testifying orally before the Committee shall furnish the following information to the Committee staff before each hearing:

                   1.  Name
                   2.  Organization
                   3.  Address
                   4.  Telephone number
         
8.  The testimony of any witness shall be limited 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.   

9.  All questions put to witnesses before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee.  The pertinence shall be determined by the Chair.

          10.  Public hearings may be held in the absence of a quorum.

11.  As far as is practical, the Chairs shall give priority to members of the General Court, the Judiciary, and the Executive Branch who testify before the Committee.

12.  The Chair must be notified in advance and may approve the use of electronic recording devices at a public hearing and, if so approved, must inform the members of the Committee and witnesses of the use of such device.

B.      EXECUTIVE SESSIONS

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 on a public hearing day, each member of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs shall be furnished with adequate notice of the date, time, and subject of such Executive Session.

2.  All Executive Sessions shall be open to the public, except that the Committee may hold a private meeting in accordance with Joint Rule 1D.
 
3.  All Executive Sessions shall be attended by the Senate and House Chairs, and no Executive Session may be held in the absence of either Chairperson.  This requirement may be waived only by mutual agreement of both Chairs.

          4. Executive Sessions may be held in the absence of a quorum.

5. Except for Committee members, no person shall address the Committee during an Executive Session unless specifically requested to do so by the Chairs.

6. 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.
 

7.  Any member of the Committee shall have the right to be listed as “dissenting” on the report of the Committee on any bill provided such member notifies either of the Chairs within 24 Hours of the Committee’s decision on said matter.

8.  The Senate and House Chairs by mutual agreement shall determine the branch of the Legislature to which a favorable report shall be sent.

9.  In lieu of an executive session, the Senate and House Chairs, by a majority vote of the members of the Committee or 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 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.

10. 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.

C. MISCELLANEOUS

1.  Whenever possible, a notice and agenda of every public hearing of a Committee subject to these rules shall be filed with the Senate and House Clerks and publicly posted in such places as are designated in advance for such purpose by said Clerks, at least one week prior to the time of such meeting.  The notice shall be printed in easily readable type and shall include the date, time, and place of such meeting.  Such filing and posting shall be the responsibility of the Chair calling such meetings.

2.  A copy of these rules shall be on file with the Senate and House Clerks and shall be available to the public from the offices of the Senate and House Committee Chairs and at all public hearings and Executive Sessions of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.

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