The MA State House is broken, and we need your help to fix it.
The Massachusetts State House is one of the least transparent in the country. From backroom deals, to private votes, and an ever-increasing concentration of power, our democracy is in crisis. Bay Staters deserve a government that centers their voices - not one that bends over backwards to keep them out.
Together, we can make the State House the People’s House. Will you join us?
The Legislature starts every new session by writing their own rulebook. Every two years the legislature adopts anti-transparent rules that deliberately exclude the public from participating in the lawmaking process. Namely, the House and Joint rules do not require that votes taken in legislative committees be made public. This is disastrous for democracy; how can we hold our legislators accountable when we can't see how they're voting?Read more about why making public committee votes is so crucial.
Our aim is the adoption of an amendment to make all committee votes public. This is an exceptionally popular piece of legislation: since 2020, our non-binding ballot question for public committee votes received an average of 87% approval among the electorate. Despite an overwhelming mandate for public committee votes, the legislature has, until now, refused to show us how they vote.
That's where you come in.
Our strategy is to organize across the Commonwealth to hold as many grassroots lobby meetings with legislators as possible, but we can’t do it alone; we need leaders in every corner of the state to take point on organizing the campaign in their hometown. Transparency Captains work closely with Act on Mass staff to lead and grow the campaign team in their district. This is a low-commitment high reward leadership role for anyone looking to make a big difference for democracy in their own backyard. The next Rules vote will likely be in January of 2025, and we intend to use every second of the next two years to build our movement. Sign up now to learn more about becoming a Transparency Captain and get plugged into the organizing and base-building we’re doing in your area!
Writing an op-ed or a letter to the editor in your local paper is a powerful way to spread the word and let your community know about why you’re committed to fighting for transparency. It’s also a great way to let your Rep know what’s important to you, since reps and their staffers keep track of what’s going on in the district through local media!
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.
Sunrise Natick High
March For Our Lives Massachusetts
Harvard College Democrats
Social Justice Committee of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington
Mystic Valley Action for Choice
Milford Democratic Town Commitee
Holden Democratic Town Commitee