The People's House

A Campaign for Rules Reform by Act on Mass, Sunrise Boston, Mijente Boston Asamblea, Indivisible Mass Coalition, & Our Climate

The Massachusetts State House is one of the least transparent in the country. When decisions about what bills will pass are made in backroom deals with a small handful of people, that’s not democracy. Bay Staters deserve a government that centers their voices - not one that bends over backwards to keep them out.

We’re fighting to change the broken, anti-democratic rules. Together, we can make the State House the People’s House. Will you join us?

We're on the ballot in 20 districts across the state!

Our non-binding ballot question asking voters if they support public committee votes will be on the November 8th ballot in 20 state house districts. These non-binding ballot questions (also referred to as “policy questions”) don’t become law if passed, but rather serve as a way for constituents to directly and publicly tell their representative how they want them to vote on an issue. And, frankly, our movement has a lot to say.

The question: "Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote in favor of changes to the applicable House of Representative rules to make each legislator’s vote in that body's Legislative committees publicly available on the Legislature's website?"

Download and share our campaign flyer here

See where we're on the ballot, and as what question number, here:

Question 5Question 6Question 8
8th Essex — Rep. Ehrlich4th Barnstable — Rep. Peake3rd Plymouth — Rep. Meschino (HINGHAM ONLY)
19th Worcester — New District2nd Berkshire — Rep. Farley-Bouvier
1st Essex — Rep. Kelcourse
2nd Franklin — Rep. Whipps
8th Hampden — Rep. Wagner
12th Hampden — Rep. Puppolo
4th Middlesex — Rep. Gregoire
14th Middlesex — Rep. Gouveia
25th Middlesex — Rep. Decker
33rd Middlesex — Rep. Ultrino
34th Middlesex – Rep. Barber
35th Middlesex — Rep. Donato
3rd Norfolk — Speaker Mariano
3rd Plymouth — Rep. Meschino (COHASSET AND HULL)
12th Suffolk — Rep. Fluker-Oakley
13th Suffolk — Rep. Hunt
15th Suffolk — Rep. Elugardo
12th Worcester — Rep. Kilcoyne

The House voted on the Rules on July 7!

Join the Campaign

Sign up here to join your District Team and get plugged into the organizing happening in your area.

The Massachusetts State House is Broken

As Massachusetts residents, we know that our state house is not working for us. Year after year, policies that the majority of people in this state support and need in order to thrive are voted down without a public vote, or stalled indefinitely. This is true of vital legislation such as immigrant protections, Medicare for All, increasing voting access, ending wage theft, and so much more.

Why is it that, despite a Democratic supermajority, the State House fails to pass widely popular and desperately needed legislation?

State House

The Problem: The People Have Been Locked Out

We elect representatives to represent our interests, but the truth is, most of the time we don’t even know how they vote on our behalf. In fact, Massachusetts has one of the least transparent state houses in the country. For ordinary residents, this means that:

  • It's difficult to know what's going on in the State House, and advocate for the bills we care about.

  • Our representatives are more accountable to corporate lobbyists and the Speaker of the House than to their districts.

    Democracy only works if everyday people are able to access and influence their government.

The Solution: Build Constituent Power to Change the Broken Rules

Constituents are united behind the need for a more transparent and accessible State House. By activating this support to call for transparency, accountability and shared power in the State House rulebook, we can win a State House that truly works for all of us.

Our strategy is to model the representative democracy we’d like to see in our state by empowering thousands of constituents to organize their communities, meet with their representatives, and lobby for changes to the House Rules. Together, we’re calling for three common sense reforms that will allow constituents to have a voice in the government that shapes our daily lives:

3 rules we are suggesting: Make all committees vote public, ensure all bills are public 72 hours before a vote, reinstate term limits for the speaker

History behind the campaign

In November of 2020, Act on Mass launched the Transparency is Power campaign. In April, we joined in coalition with Sunrise Boston, Mijente Boston Asamblea, Indivisible Mass, and Our Climate to form The People's House. Between November and July, over 4000 constituents in all 160 districts across the state and over 60 advocacy organizations joined our movement for a more transparent state house. We organized and built momentum in anticipation of key Rules debates in the House. In both the Joint Rules vote in February and the House Rules vote in July, House Leadership made a major concession in their proposal in direct response to the public pressure generated by the campaign. Because of our grassroots movement, "no" votes in Joint and House committees will be available online. While our three amendments were voted down, we successfully changed the landscape of this issue here in Massachusetts. This partial victory is a huge step towards a State House that is transparent, accessible, and accountable to the people. But there is more work to be done! Join us as we continue our campaign for a healthy democracy.

Reps supporting the campaign

Mike Connollygreen check
Mike Connolly (D)
26th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2, 3
Kip Diggsgreen check
Kip Diggs (D)
2nd Barnstable
Amendment 1
Carol Dohertygreen check
Carol Doherty (D)
3rd Bristol
Amendments 1, 2
Nika Elugardogreen check
Nika Elugardo (D)
15th Suffolk
Amendments 1, 2
Brandy Fluker-Oakleygreen check
Brandy Fluker-Oakley (D)
12th Suffolk
Amendments 1, 2
Tami Gouveiagreen check
Tami Gouveia (D)
14th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2, 3
Natalie Higginsgreen check
Natalie Higgins (D)
4th Worcester
Amendments 1, 2
Russell Holmesgreen check
Russell Holmes (D)
6th Suffolk
Amendments 1, 2, 3
Vanna Howardgreen check
Vanna Howard (D)
17th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2
Patrick Kearneygreen check
Patrick Kearney (D)
4th Plymouth
Amendments 1, 2
David LeBoeufgreen check
David LeBoeuf (D)
17th Worcester
Amendments 1, 2
Jack Lewisgreen check
Jack Lewis (D)
7th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2
Rady Momgreen check
Rady Mom (D)
18th Middlesex
Amendment 2
Steve Owensgreen check
Steve Owens (D)
29th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2
John Rogersgreen check
John Rogers (D)
12th Norfolk
Amendments 1, 2
Adam Scanlongreen check
Adam Scanlon (D)
14th Bristol
Amendments 1, 2
Dan Senagreen check
Dan Sena (D)
37th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2
Paul Tuckergreen check
Paul Tucker (D)
7th Essex
Amendment 1
Erika Uyterhoevengreen check
Erika Uyterhoeven
27th Middlesex
Amendments 1, 2, 3

Endorsements

Coalition Partners

Act On Mass

Sunrise BostonSunrise Boston

Mijente Boston AsambleaOur ClimateIndivisible Mass Coalition

Endorsing organizations

Our Revolution MA350 MassBoston DSAProgressive MassMass Peace ActionMassCareOur Revolution MaldenResonant EnergyBerkshires DSAPHENOM

Sunrise ArlingtonSunrise Arlington

NOFAIndivisible Acton AreaFCCPREnd Workplace AbuseGrassroots Central MassZero Debt MAWaltham Black Future FundGreen NewtonWorcester DSA

Sunrise Natick HighSunrise Natick High

March For Our Lives MassachusettsMarch For Our Lives Massachusetts

Harvard College DemocratsHarvard College Democrats

Mass Political CooperativeDefound NPDSommerville DemocratsRegeneration Massachusetts

Social Justice Committee of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington

Mystic Valley Action for Choice

Milford Democratic Town Commitee

Holden Democratic Town Commitee

Media