NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 26, 2013

Tarr seeks rules changes in state Senate

BOSTON — As the state’s two legislative chambers prepare to debate tax increases, new gun laws and additional spending on transportation and education in the new session, a local Republican state senator and other Republicans are once again seeking to wrest some of the lawmaking power from Democrats through proposed changes to the rules.

House Republicans have proposed a bevy of amendments to House rules and joint rules, which the Democratic leadership submitted without any changes from last session. Amendments to the proposed Senate rules are due at noon on Wednesday. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, whose district includes Newbury, Rowley, Georgetown, Groveland and West Newbury, is leading the effort in the Senate.

Some of the Republican proposals reflect the party’s ideology, suggesting changes to make it more difficult to raise taxes and requiring a full explanation of earmarks.

The Republican suggestions also reveal the party’s frustration as the minority party working with an overwhelming majority of Democrats whose method of legislating is often done outside of public view. House Republicans want to ban Speaker Robert DeLeo from voting, except in cases where he can break a tie, to theoretically prevent lawmakers from taking their cues from the speaker’s votes.

“Historically, I would say most of our proposals aren’t embraced by the majority,” House Minority Leader Brad Jones told the News Service. “In past years, some have. We’ll see if the majority’s willing to embrace some of these proposals. That would be great.”

The rules are also malleable in a way that laws aren’t. Hardly a session goes by without the House or Senate suspending one rule or another.

Amendments suggested by Jones include a requirement for a 24-hour period between when a bill is released by a committee and when it reaches the floor for an up-or-down vote, and opening up all formal sessions to audio and video recording for commercial and public radio and television.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Special Features