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Latest updates from Act on Mass and the fight for transparency in the State House
‘Damning lack of transparency’ on Massachusetts sports betting vote in Senate raises skepticism law will get on the books this session
Erin Tiernan and Alison Kuznitz
Apr 30, 2022
"State Sen. President Karen Spilka and her counterpart in the House, Speaker Ronald Mariano, wield 'huge influence' on what legislation ultimately succeeds due to the fact that they control staffers’ salaries and committee appointments that come with lucrative stipends for lawmakers, Ella McDonald of legislative watchdog group Act on Mass said. 'That combined with the general lack of transparency means representatives and senators more accountable to the speaker or senate president than they are to the voters,' she said."
Advocacy group seeks transparency ballot question in Pittsfield district of Massachusetts House
The Berkshire Eagle
Apr 6, 2022
"Act on Mass, a left-leaning group that has led the pursuit of transparency-minded reforms, wants Pittsfield voters to weigh in on whether they want their representative to vote in favor of making committee votes public."
Transparency measures disappear in conference darkness
Feb 8, 2022
"The biennial bill-reporting deadline came and went last week, but an 11-month legislative disagreement means the public may never know how their representatives and senators voted in deliberations over whether proposals should advance or fall short. The House and Senate each supported some form of pulling back the curtain on how panels vote, but Democrats couldn’t agree on a reform plan and existing legislative rules do not require joint committees to publish any breakdown of where members stand on bills they report."
Same-day voter registration left out of House election bill
Jan 26, 2022
"Ella McDonald, communications director for Act on Mass, said House lawmakers have a vested interest in resisting anything that would boost turnout among populations that could challenge their grip on their seats. 'I think it's important to look critically at the fact that in a state that has a ton of protections for incumbents and one of the lowest rates in the country of primary challengers winning elections, it's really telling that we're not able to get same-day voter registration,' McDonald said."
Progressive group slams House for lack of professionalism, transparency
Nov 16, 2021
"Ella McDonald of Act on Mass said progressive groups have come to understand the importance of transparency in areas like committee votes. 'If we can’t see how our legislators are voting, we can’t hold them accountable to any of issue we care about, and it’s causing lack of action on nearly every progressive issue,' she said."
Ella McDonald and Maya Mudgal on Boston Public Radio
Nov 15, 2021
After 600 days, the Massachusetts State House remains closed to the public. It appears to be the only state capitol still shut on this continent
Nov 14, 2021
"Some advocates say the near total reliance on phone calls or Zoom meetings has handicapped their ability to engage lawmakers. Act on Mass, a nonprofit that’s lobbied lawmakers to make their rules more transparent, said when lawmakers don’t respond to requests for Zoom meetings, it leaves few, if any, other options. 'That’s a pretty unique challenge in this completely online advocacy space,' said Ella McDonald, the group’s spokeswoman."
Democratic platform demands more legislative transparency
Sep 28, 2021
"'Massachusetts, as progressive as we are, has been ranked by good government groups as the least transparent in the nation,' \[Sen. Diana] DiZoglio said, according to her prepared remarks. 'I know you all agree that is unacceptable and we as Democrats need to push our Democratic-controlled Legislature to step it up and adopt these measures.'"
Boston City Council passes resolution urging action in the MA state legislature to uphold the values of transparency
Act on Mass
Jul 21, 2021
"'We’re excited that the Boston City Council, with leadership from Councilor Mejia, has chosen to stand with the people of Boston in support of transparency and accountability' said Gabriel Mireles, an organizer with Mijente Boston Asamblea. 'This is the kind of leadership we need to see inside the State House and we’re grateful to the Boston City Council for their courage and their commitment to transparency.'"
Should you get to see how Statehouse members vote? Boston City Council, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton say yes
The Berkshire Eagle Editorial Board
Jul 21, 2021
"The Boston City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass a resolution 'urging action in the Massachusetts Legislature to uphold the values of transparency and accessibility to the people’s business.' Moulton, a Salem resident who represents the 6th Congressional District, wrote in a July 14 tweet that 'government works for the people' as he shared a Boston Globe editorial condemning the House for rejecting the changes."
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