Citizens' Legislative Seminar

The Citizens' Legislative Seminar (CLS) is a citizen program, organized by the Senate Office of Education and Civic Engagement, which aims to better educate the public on the functions of the Massachusetts State Legislature. CLS was originally established in 1976 through a joint effort of the Massachusetts State Senate and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. This seminar is offered twice a year, Spring and Fall.

The curriculum includes the "History of the Legislature", "The Formal Legislative Process", "The Informal Legislative Process", "The Budget", "The Parliamentary Role of the Clerk of the Senate" and "The Future of the Legislature". The presentations are made by Senators and Senate staff.

Past Presenters have included:  Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Senate Clerk William Welch and Senators Jennifer Flanagan, Richard T. Moore, Michael Rush and Ben Downing.

Highlights of the two-day program are a simulated legislative hearing and a simulated Senate Session held in the Senate Chamber where participants use what they have learned to actively experience the legislative process.

Due to its popularity, participants in CLS, must be sponsored by their senator. (Please note that you must be able to attend both days of the seminar in order to participate.)

If you have questions or would like to know more about the Program, contact your Senator's office or the Senate Office of Education and Civic Engagement at (617) 722-1380.

SAMPLE: Citizens' Legislative Seminar Schedule

Day One
9:30-10:00 Welcome, Introductions and Logistics
10:00-10:45 History of the Legislature and the Formal Structure of the Legislative Process
10:45-11:30 The Budget
11:30-12:45 Lunch on your own
12:45-1:30 Legislative Process, Senate Rules, Calendars and Journals, Senate Clerk's Office
1:30-2:30 Simulated Joint Legislative Hearing
2:30-4:00 Historic State House Tour
Day Two
9:30-9:45 Overview of the Day
9:45-10:15 Role of the Senate Counsel
10:15- 10:50 Senate Chamber Protocol and Procedures
11:00-11:50 Simulated Senate Session
11:50 Citizens' Legislative Seminar Class Photo in the Senate Chamber
12:00-1:15 Lunch on your own
1:15-2:00 Outside Influences on the Legislature
2:00-2:45 The Informal Legislative Process
2:45-3:15 The Future of the Legislature
3:15-3:55 How to Stay Informed By Working with the Legislative Website
3:55-4:00 Wrap up and Presentation of Seminar Certificates