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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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 Karen Spilka, Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler, Senator Michael Rush, Senator John Keenan, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Anne Gobi and Senator Patrick O'Connor.   Senate Clerk Michael Hurley presents a session on the Office of the Senate Clerk and the Massachusetts Legislative Process.  Senate Counsel explains the Role of the senate Counsel

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

9:30-10:15                  Introductions and Logistics

10:15-10:25                Senate Welcome

10:30-11:00                The State Budget

11:00-11:30                The Informal Legislative Process

11:30- 12:15               History of the Legislature

12:15 -1:20                 Lunch on your own

1:20-2:00                    The Formal Legislative Process: 

2:00-2:30                    What Influences The Legislature...How To Be Heard

2:30- 3:30                   Simulated Joint Legislative Hearing:

3:30- 4:00                   Preparation for Simulated Senate Session

                                                              Day Two

9:30-10:00                 Preparation for Simulated Senate Session

10:15-10:50                Simulated Senate Session:

10:50- 10:55              CLS Class Photo

11:00-11:30               Role of the Senate Counsel

11:30-12:45               Lunch on your own

12:45- 1:45                Historic State House Tour-

1:45-2:15                   The Role of the Minority Party

 2:20-3:00                  The Future of the Legislature

3:00- 3:55                   How to Stay Informed

4:00                             Certificates- Close of Seminar


Citizens' Legislative Seminar Media Gallery