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?
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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?
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.
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:
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