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
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Special Features