Difference between revisions of "Massachusetts State Senate"

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==Ethics and transparency==
===Open States Transparency===
{{Transparency card|State=Massachusetts|Grade=F}}
{{Transparency card|State=Massachusetts|Grade=F}}

Revision as of 11:57, 9 July 2013

Massachusetts State Senate

Seal of Massachusetts.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 session start:   January 2, 2013
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Therese Murray, (D)
Majority Leader:   Frederick Berry, (D)
Minority Leader:   Bruce Tarr, (R)
Members:  40
   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 6, 2012 (40 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (40 seats)
Redistricting:  Massachusetts legislature has control
The Massachusetts Senate is the upper house in the Massachusetts Legislature. On average, each Senatorial district serves 158,727 inhabitants. There are 40 members of the Massachusetts Senate. As of 20010, 35 are Democrats and five are Republicans. Each Senator represents a different district which is identified by number. Senators serve two-year terms, according to Article LXIV of the Massachusetts Constitution, and without term limits. Each member represents an average of 163,691 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 158,727 residents.[2] The most recent election was held on November 4, 2008.

As of April 2015, Massachusetts is one of 7 Democratic 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 Later, Amending Article LXXII called for the General Court to meet once every two years, but Amending Article LXXV repealed that amendment.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 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the General Court will be in session from January 2 to a date to be determined.

Major issues

As lawmakers settle in for the legislature's 188th session, they'll address revenue shortfalls, transportation financing, gun control, and health care costs.[3]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session formally from January 4 through July 31.

Major issues

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.[4]


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 through a date not yet decided by the Legislature. [5]


In 2010, the Senate convened its session on January 6th, and it remained in session throughout the 2010. [6]

Ethics and transparency

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

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.[7]



See also: Massachusetts State Senate elections, 2012

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 is set for September 18, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Massachusetts State Senate elections, 2010

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 for Independents. The primary election day was on September 14, 2010.

In 2010, the candidates running for state senate raised a total of $8,982,549 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: [8]


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.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures

If there is a vacancy in the Senate, 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[9]. Local governments who conduct special elections receive reimbursement from the State Treasurer's office for all costs incurred[10].


In Massachusetts, the state legislature has control over the redistricting process. In 2011, the state legislature adopted a Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, which includes seven senators and 21 representatives. The partisan composition was 23 Democrats and 5 Republicans.[11]


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.[12][13][14]

The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting was generally recognized as a relatively open process compared to past redistricting efforts.[15] Some towns petitioned for having one representative, rather than being split between two state legislative districts.[16] Other citizen groups expressed strong interests in having more minority-majority districts.[17][18] 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.[19][20]



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.[21]

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 34
     Republican Party 6
Total 40

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Massachusetts State Senate.PNG


The Senate elects its President, who then appoints majority floor leaders and whips. The minority party elects its leaders in a party caucus.[22][23]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Massachusetts State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Therese Murray Electiondot.png Democratic
President Pro Tempore Stanley Rosenberg Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader Frederick Berry Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Joan Menard Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Whip Marian Walsh Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Majority Whip Steven Tolman Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Whip Richard Ross Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Minority Whip Vacant Ends.png Republican

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Massachusetts legislators assume office the first Wednesday in January after the election.

Current members

Current members, Massachusetts State Senate
District Representative Party Assumed office
Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Benjamin Downing Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
Bristol and Norfolk James Timility Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
First Bristol and Plymouth Michael Rodrigues Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
Second Bristol and Plymouth Mark Montigny Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
Cape and Islands Daniel Wolf Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
First Essex Kathleen A. O'Connor Ives Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
Second Essex Joan B. Lovely Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
Third Essex Thomas McGee Electiondot.png Democratic 2002
First Essex and Middlesex Bruce Tarr Ends.png Republican 1995
Second Essex and Middlesex Barry Finegold Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
Hampden James Welch Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
First Hampden and Hampshire Gale D. Candaras Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
Second Hampden and Hampshire Michael Knapik Ends.png Republican 1994
Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester Stanley Rosenberg Electiondot.png Democratic 1991
First Middlesex Eileen Donoghue Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
Second Middlesex Patricia D. Jehlen Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
Third Middlesex Mike Barrett Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
Fourth Middlesex Kenneth Donnelly Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
Fifth Middlesex Katherine Clark Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
First Middlesex and Norfolk Cynthia Stone Creem Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
Second Middlesex and Norfolk Karen Spilka Electiondot.png Democratic 2004
Middlesex and Suffolk Sal DiDomenico Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
Middlesex and Worcester James Eldridge Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex Richard Ross Ends.png Republican 2010
Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth Brian Joyce Electiondot.png Democratic 1998
Norfolk and Plymouth John Keenan Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
Norfolk and Suffolk Michael Rush Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
Plymouth and Barnstable Therese Murray Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
First Plymouth and Bristol Marc Pacheco Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
Second Plymouth and Bristol Thomas Kennedy Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
Plymouth and Norfolk Robert Hedlund Ends.png Republican 1990
First Suffolk Linda Dorcena Forry Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
Second Suffolk Sonia Chang-Diaz Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
First Suffolk and Middlesex Anthony Petruccelli Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
Second Suffolk and Middlesex William Brownsberger Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
First Worcester Harriette Chandler Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
Second Worcester Michael Moore Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex Stephen Brewer Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
Worcester and Middlesex Jennifer Flanagan Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
Worcester and Norfolk Richard T. Moore Electiondot.png Democratic 1996

Standing Senate Committees

The Massachusetts Senate has seven standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Massachusetts’’
Partisan breakdown of the Massachusetts legislature from 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 was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. 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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Massachusetts state government(1992-2013).PNG

External links


  1. Population in 2010 of the American states
  2. Population in 2000 of the American states
  3. Boston.com, "Mass. formally opens legislative session," January 2, 2013
  4. Washington Examiner, "Mass. lawmakers to weigh bill on special ed groups," January 4, 2012
  5. General Court Events
  6. 2010 session dates for the Massachusetts legislature
  7. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  8. Follow the Money: "Massachusetts Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
  9. Massachusetts General Court "Massachusetts Election Law"(Referenced Section Chapter 50, Section 6A)
  10. Massachusetts General Court "Massachusetts Election Law"(Referenced Section Chapter 3: Section 10A)
  11. Beacon Hill Roll Call "Senate approves redistricting commission," February 11, 2011
  12. U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Massachusetts Profile," 2011
  13. Belmont Citizen-Herald "Census preparing to deliver redistricting data to states," January 13, 2011
  14. Boston Globe "Census begins fight on districts," March 23, 2011
  15. Boston Herald "Lawmakers launch Mass. redistricting process," March 16, 2011
  16. Wicked Local Randolph "Officials push for only one state rep for Randolph," January 27, 2011
  17. Eagle Tribune "Proposal would create Latino-heavy legislative districts — and make targets out of Baddour and Finegold," June 26, 2011
  18. Boston Globe "Advocates seek boost in Mass. minority voter clout," October 5, 2011
  19. Mass Live "Massachusetts legislators release maps of proposed new seats for state Senate, House," October 18, 2011
  20. Wicked Local Winchester "Redrawn legislative map makes Lexington one House district," October 19, 2011
  21. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  22. Secretary of the Commonwealth, "Massachusetts Facts - Part One:Concise Facts, " retrieved July 2, 2010
  23. Leadership of the 186th General Court