Every session in the legislature is two years. The legislative process can take 14 months plus. If bills are not passed in the two years, they need to be re-filed in the next session. The legislative process includes filing a bill, supporting a bill, co-sponsoring the bill, having a public hearing for the bill. Decisions are then made as to whether or not the bill can advance even further. And that’s before all Representatives have a chance to vote on it.
ADVOCATING FOR FUNDING FOR PARTICULAR PROGRAMS (“THE BUDGET”)
Every year, however, the legislature needs to pass a budget. That process can start as early as January, with the Massachusetts House of Representatives voting on a budget at the end of April, and the State Senate voting a month later. After the House and Senate each vote for their own budget, a conference committee with Representatives and Senators will meet to resolve differences and come to agreemnent on a single identical budget to send to the Governor. The Governor will either accept and enact the budget into law, or can veto specific programs. In the latter event, the legislature can decide to override the Governor’s vetos with another vote. The budget funds state government and programs for one year. Every legislative session is two years, and in each session two annual budgets will be passed.
SHARING YOUR SUPPORT FOR – OR OPPOSITION ON – LEGISLATION AND BUDGET ISSUES
You are always welcome to e-mail, phone or otherise contact Rep. Domb and let her know your views on legislation, your concerns and your challenges. Some basic information to include:
— Please make sure you include your residential address so we can confirm that you are a resident in the 3rd Hampshire District.
— If you’re writing about a particular issue or bill, please make sure to include the bill number that you’re interested in for reference, why you’re concerned about it (your personal experience is important), what you want me to do.
— If you’re writing about a budget issue or funding for a particular program, please make sure to include the name of the program, the budget line number if you have it, and again why you are concerned about this particular program.
Include your opinion, personal experience (if applicable), facts, your ask (what do you want Rep. Domb to do, for example: co-sponsoring a bill, voting for or against legislation, submitting a letter in support of a bill or administration action, etc.).
HOW TO CONTACT MINDY
— Email at email@example.com
— Call my office at (413) 335-1362
— Send mail to PO Box 3215, Amherst, MA 01004-3215
PUBLIC HEARINGS AND PUBLIC COMMENT
Every bill in Massachusetts is assigned to a committee, and every bill receives a public hearing where members of the public can submit their opinions on it. Committee hearings are open to the public and a terrific opportunity for the public to offer comment, insight, expertise and experience on proposed legislation. It’s your turn to weigh in on whether the bill should advance through the legislative process. Your comments are needed and wanted.
As of now, public hearings in the State House will be hybrid, and conducted virtually. You may be able to participate in the hearing in person (in Boston) or virtually. Information on how to participate virtually can be found on the hearing page of the state legislature’s website.
TIPS FOR PUBLIC COMMENT AND TESTIMONY
Your advocacy on bills can take the form of written comment or oral testimony. You can direct and e-mail your comment to the Chairs of the particular Committee. You can also email your statement to Rep. Domb’s office and we will deliver it to the correct Committee Chair. Testimony before the committee is similar to advocating directly with the Representative. Let them know what issue you’re concerned about, the bill number, why you are concerned about it, what problem you believe it addresses and why you agree with the solution included in the bill and/or your suggestions. Make sure to include your ask, and in this case it may be to advance the bill or put it to study.
The hearing information page will often include specific instructions on how to submit testimony. If you want to testify in person, the page will provide you with information on how to pre-register and deadlines for doing so. Pre-registration will also trigger a process where you will receive a link to join the hearing. If you want to submit testimony in writing, the hearing information page will share e-mail addresses to do so.
These tips may be helpful in writing your comment on legislation:
- Provide your name, residential address, town
- Address the Chairs of the Committee as well as the members
- Identify the bill you’re writing about (by number and description)
- State your position (support/oppose) on the bill
- Describe your reason for your interest in the bill (for example: the need you experience or have identified and why you care about this issue)
- Describe the impact of the proposed legislation on you or those in your community (for example: how the bill would remedy or address the need)
- State the action you’d like on the bill (for example: “I urge you to advance the bill and report it out favorably.”)
- Thank the Chairs for their consideration
You can track the progress of the bill here.
REACH OUT TO OUR OFFICE
Please feel free to reach out and ask us how you can connect to the legislative process.
ARE THESE TIPS HELPFUL? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org