Special to the Journal
On January 12, 2021, ten constituents of the 16th Suffolk district met with newly elected Rep. Jessica Giannino requesting her support for increased transparency in the State House. Over the course of the meeting, three constituents offered personal stories about their frustrations at the lack of transparency at the State House and their desire to be more directly involved in the lawmaking process.
This meeting was organized and held as a part of the Act on Mass Transparency is Power campaign. Act on Mass is the leading organization advocating for transparency and accountability in the Massachusetts State House. Since its launch in November, the Transparency is Power campaign has organized over 2500 volunteers, spanning over 100 districts, behind three amendments to the House rules:
• Rule 1: That all votes and testimony held in legislative committees are publicly disclosed on the Massachusetts State House website
• Rule 2: That bills are made public for 72 hours prior to a final vote
• Rule 3: That the threshold for a floor vote to be publicly-recorded in the House of Representatives is reduced from 16 state representatives to 8 state representatives
These amendments have been endorsed by dozens of advocacy organizations and several local Democratic committees. The Revere Democratic City Committee was slated to vote Tuesday evening on whether to endorse the campaign. In Revere’s 19th district, Ballot Question 4, which asked if voters support making all committee votes publicly available, had the support of over 83% of voters.
While Rep. Giannino expressed general support for transparency during the meeting, she would not commit to voting in favor of the three amendments before conducting further research.
Constituents are holding a follow up meeting with Rep. Giannino on February 2 in advance of the rules vote, which is anticipated to occur in early or mid February.
To learn more about Act on Mass’ Transparency is Power campaign, please visit www.actonmass.org/the-campaign. To join the 16th Suffolk team and attend the February 2 meeting, contact [email protected]