The State ‘Glass’ House
As a lifelong citizen of Massachusetts, why should I (or anyone, for that matter) be surprised or dismayed at the failure of the Massachusetts Legislature to pass legislation that promised to at least alleviate some of the the financial constraints on its citizens (”A chaotic ‘finish’ and a pledge,” Page A1, Aug. 2)? That body excels at promoting self aggrandizement and importance, yet routinely fails at critical points during the year, knowing their schedule, to effectively support and pass bills in a timely fashion which are designed to help the general population of the state. And they then proceed to blame (why would they ever accept any blame?) a law from the 1980s for the problem? Sounds like elected officials are not doing their homework or demonstrating due diligence. Don’t worry about transparency in government, either — because if such a thing existed, why would the legislators have to work feverishly at the last minute into the wee hours, to hurry and complete their agenda? One could conclude that they are too comfortable in their positions to worry about the general public. And they want us to believe their “promise” that they will come back to the issue later? Why should anyone believe them? Legalization of sports betting is a higher priority than fiscal relief for the state’s citizenry. Let’s allow the people to gamble their money away instead!
How sad it is to see those who “represent” the voters of this state hide behind a cloak of secrecy and excuses when a frantic closure results at the end of almost every session. They know their schedule and cannot keep to it. How would they fare in the private sector if they couldn’t maintain a schedule? And then, they have the gall to excoriate everybody’s favorite whipping boy, the MBTA. Pathetic.
I hope none of them live in glass houses.
The legislative process is far more thoughtful than ‘chaotic’
Having had the privilege to serve as a staff member in the Massachusetts Legislature for five years, I take issue with the characterization of “a chaotic formal legislative session.” Legislative work in the Commonwealth proceeds methodically over a 19-month period with bill filings, public hearings, committee bill redrafts, amendments, votes by legislators, and action by the governor. The countless hours of consultation, consideration, and deliberation that lead up to deadlines can feel exhaustive and exhausting, but this year at least they led to legislation that mitigated the impacts of climate change, improved mental care, and made major infrastructure investments. The Legislature can and should do better in future sessions, but the legislative outcomes from the 192nd General Court resulted from processes far more thoughtful than chaotic.
Mark S. Sternman
Legislators did a disservice to the residents who elected them
Our legislators should hang their heads in shame. In a marathon session that has become typical for the Legislature, the narrow interests of the sports betting constituency and the marijuana industry took precedence over the needs of the rest of the population struggling to deal with the highest inflation in decades.
By failing to pass an economic development package that would have provided assistance to millions of Massachusetts residents, members of the Legislature did a disservice to the residents who elected them. Various parts of this package would have provided some help to renters, seniors, and the majority of residents needing relief from the economic pressures that are currently affecting us all.
The discussions to suspend or ignore the 1986 law, passed by the voters, is even more outrageous.
Massachusetts has one of the least transparent legislative bodies of any state in the country. It’s time to pull back the curtain and let taxpayers see the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that has become the norm for the Legislature. Open meetings and access to legislative debate should be the norm, not the exception.