Frequently Asked Questions!
Doesn’t the Legislature make their votes public?
No. Not usually.
The vast majority of all votes the legislature takes are a “voice vote” where there’s no record of how individuals vote. That might be good for moving fast, but it’s bad for letting you know how your Rep voted. Even if there’s a recorded “Roll Call” vote, the House only published them online if they happened on the floor. Most important votes happen in committee, where votes are often either not held at all, or never published on the website – you have to go to downtown Boston during office hours and request a copy of the vote from the committee.
Isn’t video of the Legislature broadcast online?
Some. For “Formal” sessions of the State House, there is video put online. But most sessions are “informal” and aren’t broadcast online.
Besides, it can be hard to figure out where in a 6 hour session video the important votes are, and it can be tricky for first time views to figure out just what is going on during a complicated Roberts’ Rules Debate. Only someone who knows where to look on the website or what documents to ask for will be able to follow along productively.
Isn’t the problem our Republican Governor?
Governor Charlie Baker often doesn’t support progressive legislation, but Democrats hold 79% of the seats in both houses of our legislature. In states where the republican party holds smaller majorities, they have voted to strip powers from the governor and pass their conservative agenda over Democratic objections.
Like the boy who cried wolf, Democratic legislators like to claim their hands are tied, but Democrats can lose the votes of 20 conservative Democrats and still have a 2/3rds supermajority in the House.
You haven’t heard about the Governor vetoing legislation very much, because he doesn’t have to. Usually progressive legislation is killed in the legislature before it even comes before the Governor. We can change that.
Why aren’t you focused on the State Senate?
The State Senate generally does a better job about transparency and enacting progressive legislation than the State House. The Senate publishes committee roll call votes on its website, the House does not. The Senate unanimously passed full public school funding, the House did not. The State Senate has a more collaborative leadership style that places less power in the hands of one person like the House does.
We will track aspects of the State Senate, but do not plan to provide the same level of coverage as we do for the House.
Is phonebanking really effective?
Most of us have busy lives and if we think about politics, we’re worried about the Presidential elections or whatever latest thing the President has said.
The best way to reach people is to talk to them one - on - one about the issues they care about, and phonebanking is an easy way to do that.
Most people don’t know there’s a problem, so we need to reach out first.
How do you work with advocacy groups?
We support many of same bills as other progressive advocacy groups, and we’re not trying to replace other progressive groups (nor could we). We support policies that have a clear consensus among the progressive community as the right thing to do. If you think we’re missing a policy or bill, feel free to contact us and let us know!