Massachusetts Secret Ballot for State Legislative Leadership Amendment (2010)

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The Massachusetts Secret Ballot for State Legislative Leadership Amendment did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Massachusetts.[1]

The proposed amendment would have implemented procedures for the House of Representatives and Senate, including requiring the Speaker of the House and the Senate President to be elected by secret ballot. Another part of the amendment would have prohibited the House and the Senate from exempting themselves from open meeting laws, also, both branches of legislature would have had to publish detailed line item budgets for its “operation”.

Summary

The official summary of the measure read as follows:[1]

This proposed constitutional amendment would set internal procedures for the state House of Representatives and Senate, to which both branches’ rules would have to conform.
The proposed amendment would require the Speaker of the House and the Senate President to be elected by secret ballot of their branch’s members. They could each then appoint their branch’s Majority and Assistant Majority Leaders, Speaker or President Pro Tempore, and Ways and Means Committee Chair. Minority party leaders in each branch would be appointed or elected at the discretion of party members in that branch.
Each branch would have to set up a Committee on Committees, with 11 members in the House and 7 in the Senate. The party affiliations of the members of each Committee on Committees would have to be proportional to the party affiliations of all members of that branch, except that 3 seats on the House Committee and 2 seats on the Senate Committee would be reserved for members from outside of the majority party. Each branch’s Committee would be elected by secret ballot of all members of that branch, except that minority party members would be elected by their party’s caucus. Except for the House Speaker, Senate President, and those leaders appointed by them, any member could run for a position on his or her branch’s Committee. Members of each Committee would elect the Committee’s Chair.
Each branch’s Committee on Committees would (1) draft the branch’s rules; (2) propose the members of every standing and joint committee and members to hold all remaining majority party leadership positions; and (3) recommend a formula, to be applied fairly and consistently, to determine members’ staff and office budgets. These recommendations would be promptly referred to the floor for a vote and could not be amended except by a 75% vote. The Committee on Committees would also assign all committee rooms and member offices.
Once appointed, all standing and joint committees in each branch would be required to elect their chairs, keep records of their proceedings and of each member’s vote on all legislation, and make such records readily available to the public.
The proposed amendment would prohibit the House and Senate from exempting themselves from state open meeting laws. Each branch would also have to publish detailed line item budgets for its operations.

See also

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References