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General Laws

Section 54. The state secretary shall cause to be printed and sent, in the manner provided in section fifty-three, arguments for and against every measure to be submitted to the voters of the commonwealth. No argument shall contain more than one hundred and fifty words. The secretary shall seek such arguments from the principal proponents and opponents of each initiative or referendum petition, legislative amendment, legislative substitute or other measure to be submitted to all the voters of the commonwealth and such arguments may be filed on or before the tenth day following the date that any such measure is finally received by the secretary for submission to the voters or within such further time as he shall designate. For purposes of this section, the principal proponents and opponents of a measure shall be those persons determined by the secretary to be best able to present the argument for and against the measure, respectively, at the time the measure is finally received by the secretary for submission to the voters, provided that the principal proponents of an initiative or referendum petition shall be the first ten signers of such petition, or a majority of them. In determining the principal proponents and opponents of a measure, the state secretary shall contact each nonelected political committee which is organized under the provision of chapter fifty-five and which is on file with the director of campaign and political finance to influence the outcome of such a measure. If no argument is received by the secretary from the principal proponents or opponents of a measure within the time allowed by this section, the secretary shall prepare such argument. All arguments filed with or prepared by the secretary under this section shall be open to public inspection.

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