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The 190th 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 William Welch presents a session on the Office of the Senate Clerk and the Massachusetts Legislative Process.  Senate Counsel Jennifer Grace Miller 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
9:30-10:00Welcome, Introductions and Logistics
10:00-10:45History of the Legislature and the Formal Structure of the Legislative Process
10:45-11:30The Budget
11:30-12:45Lunch on your own
12:45-1:30Legislative Process, Senate Rules, Calendars and Journals, Senate Clerk's Office
1:30-2:30Simulated Joint Legislative Hearing
2:30-4:00Historic State House Tour
Day Two
9:30-9:45Overview of the Day
9:45-10:15Role of the Senate Counsel
10:15- 10:50Senate Chamber Protocol and Procedures
11:00-11:50Simulated Senate Session
11:50Citizens' Legislative Seminar Class Photo in the Senate Chamber
12:00-1:15Lunch on your own
1:15-2:00Outside Influences on the Legislature
2:00-2:45The Informal Legislative Process
2:45-3:15The Future of the Legislature
3:15-3:55How to Stay Informed By Working with the Legislative Website
3:55-4:00Wrap up and Presentation of Seminar Certificates

Citizens' Legislative Seminar Media Gallery