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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Joint Committee on Elder Affairs

Senate Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 109-E
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-1612

House Contact

24 Beacon St. 
Room 167
Boston, MA 02133
Phone:
(617) 722-2810

JOINT COMMITTEE ON ELDER AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE RULES

 A. GENERAL RULES AND CONDUCT OF PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. All bills assigned to the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs shall be scheduled for a public hearing by the Committee Chairs except as herein provided. Upon mutual agreement, the      Committee Chairs may agree to discharge bills assigned to the Committee, or otherwise dispose of bills assigned to the Committee, by electronic or voice poll.
2. The House & Senate Chairs shall be responsible for determining the schedule of all public hearings. Whenever possible, bills that are referred to the Committee should be scheduled according to subject matter. 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.
3. In the absence of both Chairs, the hearing shall be conducted by the Senate or House Vice-Chairperson.
4. 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.
5. Each member of the committee shall receive a schedule of the public hearings on legislation referred to the committee. The schedule shall group legislation by category, noting the hearing date, time and location. All dates, times and locations are subject to change at the discretion of the Committee Chairs. Each member of the Committee shall receive an information packet at least 24 hours prior to the public hearing, listing the bill number and title and summary of each bill.
6. 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.
7. The Chairs shall use their discretion in scheduling the order in which proposals shall be heard at any public hearing of the Committee.
8. All persons intending to submit written testimony to the Committee shall furnish copies of    such written testimony to the Committee staff.
9. All persons testifying orally before the Committee shall furnish the following information to the Committee staff before each hearing:

Name
Organization
Address
Telephone number
Email
Bill number and subject matter on which the person is testifying
Whether they are a proponent or opponent of the subject matter of the bill

10. While ensuring that every person who wishes to testify has the opportunity to do so, 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.
11. All questions put to witness before the Committee shall be pertinent to the subject matter before the Committee. The pertinence shall be determined by the Chair.
12. Public hearings may be held in the absence of a quorum.
13. As far as is practical and with respect to the public, the Chairs shall give priority to members of the General Court, the Judiciary, and the Executive Branch who testify before the Committee.
14. Agencies are asked to submit their written response to the proposals affecting their agency two full work days before the scheduled hearing to the Committee staff. In addition, a representative of the agency is requested to prepare oral testimony for the day of the hearing and be available to answer questions at the public hearing or Executive Session.
15. 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 scheduled 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 (1A) .
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 Presiding Chair will announce each item appearing on the agenda, explanation may be provided by staff, and discussion will follow by the members. Following any discussion, the Senate and House Chairs 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 for 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 first Wednesday of February of the second annual session.
7. Records of written testimony submitted at hearings and all recorded votes or polls shall be maintained as public records in the Committee offices, at least until the end of the biennial legislative session in which the action transpired.
8. Matters reported by the Committee shall be sent to the branch of the legislature in which the matter originated, unless the Chairs agree otherwise.
9. A vote of the committee shall be conducted by a roll call upon request of two committee members present at the committee meeting.
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. 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.

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 48 hours 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 except for part B, #3.
4. As provided in the Joint Rules the Committee Chairs may initiate and form subcommittees regarding the subject matter of any legislative matter or any other subject matter under the jurisdiction of the committee. Such subcommittee shall make a report of its findings and recommendations to the Committee Chairs prior to the end of the biennium or at a date to be determined by the Committee Chairs.