Massachusetts State Senate
|Massachusetts State Senate|
|Partisan control:||Democratic Party|
|2015 session start:||January 7, 2015|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Stanley Rosenberg (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Harriette Chandler (D)|
|Minority Leader:||Bruce Tarr (R)|
Democratic Party (34)
Republican Party (6)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Ch 1, Massachusetts Constitution|
|Salary:||$61,133/year + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 4, 2014 (40 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016 (40 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Massachusetts legislature has control|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Redistricting
- 5 Senators
- 6 Standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
As of May 2015, Massachusetts is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.
The Massachusetts Constitution contains provisions regarding when the Massachusetts General Court, which the Senate is a part of, is to meet. This subject has been the focus of several amendments to the Constitution. Originally, Chapter 1 of the Massachusetts Constitution called for the General Court to convene on the last Wednesday of May. Then, Amending Article X called for legislative sessions to convene yearly on the first Wednesday of January. Later, Amending Article LXXII called for the General Court to meet once every two years, but Amending Article LXXV repealed that amendment. Therefore, the rules that currently govern when the General Court is to meet are in Amending Article X.
Article X calls for the General Court to convene its regular session on the first Wednesday of January. The session does not dissolve until a new regular session convenes in the next year. Article X specifies that it does not prevent the General Court from meeting at any time that it judges necessary.
- See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions
In 2015, the General Court is projected to be in session from January 7 through December 31.
Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include the state budget deficit.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the General Court was in session from January 14 through August 1.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the General Court was in session from January 2 to December 31.
Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included revenue shortfalls, transportation financing, gun control, and health care costs.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session formally from January 4 through July 31.
Leading the agenda was a crackdown on abuses at special education collaboratives in the state. Other issues included controlling health costs and a sentencing bill that would bar parole for prisoners convicted of more than two violent crimes.
In August 2012, a list was released by the Beacon Hill Roll Call stating that through 179 votes in 2012, a total of 13 members had perfect attendance.
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 5 to November 16.
Role in state budget
- See also: Massachusetts state budget and finances
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
- State agencies submit their budget requests in September.
- Agency hearings are held in August and September.
- The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the fourth Wednesday in January.
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.
The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Massachusetts was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.
Ethics and transparency
Following the Money report
- See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Massachusetts received a grade of A- and a numerical score of 90.5, indicating that Massachusetts was "leading" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
Open States Transparency
The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Massachusetts was given a grade of F in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election was held on September 9, 2014, and a general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was June 3, 2014.
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate were held in Massachusetts on November 6, 2012. A total of 40 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was May 29, 2012 and the primary date was September 18, 2012.
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Massachusetts State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|First Essex District||Kathleen A. O'Connor Ives||12.3%||79,287||Shaun Toohey|
|Plymouth and Barnstable District||Therese Murray||16.3%||85,499||Thomas Francis Keyes|
|Third Middlesex District||Mike Barrett||21.2%||81,216||Sandra Martinez|
|Bristol and Norfolk District||James Timilty||25.1%||75,687||Jeffrey Bailey|
|Middlesex and Worcester District||James Eldridge||29.5%||81,719||Dean Cavaretta|
|Second Essex and Middlesex District||Barry Finegold||30.4%||68,110||Paul Adams|
|Second Worcester District||Michael Moore||35.9%||71,558||Stephen Simonian|
|Fourth Middlesex District||Kenneth Donnelly||36.3%||82,310||Gerry Dembrowski|
|Plymouth and Norfolk District||Robert Hedlund||36.7%||90,265||Genevieve Davis|
|Second Essex District||Joan B. Lovely||41.5%||79,273||Richard Jolitz|
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate were held in Massachusetts on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 4, 2010, for partisans and August 3, 2010, for independents. The primary election was held on September 14, 2010.
During the 2010 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $8,982,549. The top 10 donors were:
|2010 Donors, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Massachusetts Democratic Party||$400,290|
|Wolf, Daniel A||$262,839|
|Rudnick, Charles S||$154,577|
|Moore, Richard T||$41,433|
|Wilson Jr., John||$36,000|
|Addivinola Jr., Frank J||$32,511|
|Didomenico, Salvador N||$27,400|
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 16, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.
During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $7,993,572. The top 10 contributors were:
|2008 Donors, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Massachusetts Democratic Party||$237,431|
|Massachusetts Republican Party||$33,314|
|Retired Public Employees||$31,800|
|Professional Fire Fighters Of Massachusetts||$30,575|
|Bank Of America||$24,581|
|Sheet Metal Workers Local 17||$23,800|
|Massachusetts Association Of Realtors||$23,200|
|Martinez, Sandra B||$20,105|
|Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union||$19,500|
|Massachusetts Federation Of Teachers||$18,800|
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 19, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.
During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $7,948,867. The top 10 contributors were:
|2006 Donors, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Massachusetts Democratic Party||$72,385|
|Obey, Douglas E||$49,275|
|Tisei, Richard R||$35,500|
|Retired Public Employees||$31,900|
|Cmte For A Democratic Senate Of Massachusetts||$29,000|
|Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union||$25,750|
|Massachusetts Association Of Realtors||$25,500|
|Hodgkins, Christopher J||$25,275|
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 14, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.
During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $12,267,971. The top 10 contributors were:
|2004 Donors, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Massachusetts Republican Party||$890,685|
|Massachusetts Democratic Party||$456,567|
|Duncan, Timothy E||$251,000|
|Thibault, John C||$218,114|
|Lese, Gail Bronwyn||$159,206|
|Novak, Lawrence P||$118,200|
|Wasserman, Gerald A||$77,794|
|Clark, Katherine M||$48,267|
|Tisei, Richard R||$45,000|
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 17, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.
During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $6,865,146. The top 10 contributors were:
|2002 Donors, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Massachusetts Democratic Party||$29,258|
|Retired Public Employees||$25,000|
|Boston Police Patrolmens Association||$23,050|
|Operating Engineers Local 4||$20,900|
|Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 537||$18,500|
|Professional Fire Fighters Of Massachusetts||$18,375|
|No Detail Provided||$17,650|
|Ironworkers Local 7||$17,500|
Elections for the office of Massachusetts State Senate consisted of a primary election on September 19, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.
During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $8,944,038. The top 10 contributors were:
|2000 Donors, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Operating Engineers Local 4||$44,550|
|Fargo, Susan C & Foster M||$40,900|
|Painters District Council 35||$37,574|
|New England Regional Council Of Carpenters||$35,525|
|Ironworkers Local 7||$29,675|
|Norton Sr, James & Maureen J||$26,049|
|Ironworkers District Council Of New England||$23,450|
|Retired Public Employees||$23,400|
|Massachusetts Republican Party||$22,802|
Article LXXI of the Massachusetts Constitution states: Every representative, for one year at least immediately preceding his election, shall have been an inhabitant of the district for which he is chosen and shall cease to represent such district when he shall cease to be an inhabitant of the commonwealth.
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the chamber, a special election must be conducted to fill the vacant seat. The election must be held on the next regularly scheduled date on the election calendar. Local governments who conduct special elections receive reimbursement from the State Treasurer's office for all costs incurred.
- See also: Redistricting in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the state legislature has control over the redistricting process. In 2011, the General Court adopted a Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, which includes seven senators and 21 representatives. The partisan composition was 23 Democrats and five Republicans.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Massachusetts experienced a 3.1 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2010. Specifically, the population rose from approximately 6.35 million to 6.55 million. However, the nation as a whole saw a population increase of 9.7 percent, a much faster rate than Massachusetts, and Massachusetts lost a Congressional seat as a result of the relatively slow growth.
The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting was generally recognized as a relatively open process compared to past redistricting efforts. Some towns petitioned for having one representative, rather than being split between two state legislative districts. Other citizen groups expressed strong interests in having more minority-majority districts. In October 2011, the Committee produced and approved a map that increased the number of minority-majority districts in the state Senate from two to three, and split the town of Winchester into two Senate districts.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Massachusetts General Court are paid $61,133/year. Legislators receive between $10/day to $100/day per diem, depending on distance from the state house. Compensation is vouchered and set by the legislature.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2015|
When sworn in
Massachusetts legislators assume office the first Wednesday in January after the election.
|Current members, Massachusetts State Senate|
|Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden||Benjamin Downing||Democratic||2007|
|Bristol and Norfolk||James Timility||Democratic||2004|
|First Bristol and Plymouth||Michael Rodrigues||Democratic||2011|
|Second Bristol and Plymouth||Mark Montigny||Democratic||1993|
|Cape and Islands||Daniel Wolf||Democratic||2011|
|First Essex||Kathleen O'Connor Ives||Democratic||2013|
|Second Essex||Joan Lovely||Democratic||2013|
|Third Essex||Thomas McGee||Democratic||2002|
|First Essex and Middlesex||Bruce Tarr||Republican||1995|
|Second Essex and Middlesex||Barbara L'Italien||Democratic||2015|
|First Hampden and Hampshire||Eric Lesser||Democratic||2015|
|Second Hampden and Hampshire||Donald F. Humason, Jr.||Republican||2013|
|Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester||Stanley Rosenberg||Democratic||1991|
|First Middlesex||Eileen Donoghue||Democratic||2011|
|Second Middlesex||Patricia Jehlen||Democratic||2005|
|Third Middlesex||Mike Barrett||Democratic||2013|
|Fourth Middlesex||Kenneth Donnelly||Democratic||2009|
|Fifth Middlesex||Jason Lewis||Democratic||April 2014|
|First Middlesex and Norfolk||Cynthia Stone Creem||Democratic||1999|
|Second Middlesex and Norfolk||Karen Spilka||Democratic||2004|
|Middlesex and Suffolk||Sal DiDomenico||Democratic||2010|
|Middlesex and Worcester||James Eldridge||Democratic||2009|
|Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex||Richard Ross||Republican||2010|
|Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth||Brian Joyce||Democratic||1998|
|Norfolk and Plymouth||John Keenan||Democratic||2011|
|Norfolk and Suffolk||Michael Rush||Democratic||2011|
|Plymouth and Barnstable||Vinny deMacedo||Republican||2015|
|First Plymouth and Bristol||Marc Pacheco||Democratic||1993|
|Second Plymouth and Bristol||Thomas Kennedy||Democratic||2009|
|Plymouth and Norfolk||Robert Hedlund||Republican||1990|
|First Suffolk||Linda Dorcena Forry||Democratic||2013|
|Second Suffolk||Sonia Chang-Diaz||Democratic||2009|
|First Suffolk and Middlesex||Anthony Petruccelli||Democratic||2007|
|Second Suffolk and Middlesex||William Brownsberger||Democratic||2012|
|First Worcester||Harriette Chandler||Democratic||2001|
|Second Worcester||Michael Moore||Democratic||2008|
|Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex||Anne Gobi||Democratic||2015|
|Worcester and Middlesex||Jennifer Flanagan||Democratic||2008|
|Worcester and Norfolk||Ryan Fattman||Republican||2015|
The Massachusetts Senate has 11 standing committees:
- Bills in the Third Reading
- Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets
- Global Warming and Climate Change
- Intergovernmental Affairs
- Personnel and Administration
- Post Audit and Oversight
- Steering and Policy
- Ways and Means
Partisan balance 1992-2013
During every year from 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Massachusetts State Senate. The Massachusetts State Senate is one of 16 state senates that were Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992 and 2013. During the last seven years of the study, Massachusetts was under Democratic trifectas.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state Senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Massachusetts state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Massachusetts had a period of divided government between 1992 and 2006 before electing a Democratic trifecta in 2007. Between the years 1992 and 2004, Massachusetts remained in the top-10 in the SQLI ranking, hitting its highest spot (3rd) in 2000 under divided government. The state had its lowest ranking (24th) in 2006, also under divided government. During the years 2005 and 2006, Massachusetts fell eleven spots in the SQLI ranking under divided government, which was its largest drop in the ranking during the period of the study. The state has never had a Republican trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 14.17
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 7.20
- Massachusetts House of Representatives
- Governor of Massachusetts
- Massachusetts State Legislature
- Massachusetts Constitution
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001
- State House News Service, "DeLeo, Rosenberg won't rule out tax increases in face of budget deficit," January 8, 2015
- The Washington Post, "Massachusetts session preview: A full policy plate for 2014," January 9, 2014. Accessed January 14, 2014
- The Boston Globe, "Minimum wage battles are shifting to the states," January 13, 2014. Accessed January 14, 2014
- Boston.com, "Mass. formally opens legislative session," January 2, 2013 (dead link)
- Washington Examiner, "Mass. lawmakers to weigh bill on special ed groups," January 4, 2012 (dead link)
- Massachusetts Legislature, "Events Archive," accessed July 21, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Massachusetts 2010 - Candidates," accessed July 21, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Massachusetts 2008 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Massachusetts 2006 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Massachusetts 2004 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Massachusetts 2002 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Massachusetts 2000 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Massachusetts General Court, "General Laws," accessed May 22, 2014 (Referenced Section Chapter 50, Section 6A)
- Massachusetts General Court, "General Laws," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Section Chapter 3: Section 10A)
- Beacon Hill Roll Call, "Senate approves redistricting commission," February 11, 2011
- U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Massachusetts Profile," 2011
- Belmont Citizen-Herald, "Census preparing to deliver redistricting data to states," January 13, 2011
- Boston Globe, "Census begins fight on districts," March 23, 2011
- Boston Herald, "Lawmakers launch Mass. redistricting process," March 16, 2011 (Archived)
- Wicked Local Randolph, "Officials push for only one state rep for Randolph," January 27, 2011
- Eagle Tribune, "Proposal would create Latino-heavy legislative districts — and make targets out of Baddour and Finegold," June 26, 2011 (Archived)
- Boston Globe, "Advocates seek boost in Mass. minority voter clout," October 5, 2011
- Mass Live, "Massachusetts legislators release maps of proposed new seats for state Senate, House," October 18, 2011
- Wicked Local Winchester, "Redrawn legislative map makes Lexington one House district," October 19, 2011
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Secretary of the Commonwealth, "Massachusetts Facts - Part One: Concise Facts," accessed July 2, 2010
- Massachusetts General Court, "Legislative Leadership," accessed July 21, 2014
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