Senate adopts budget amendment deadline

Political News

Massachusetts State House

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Senate on Friday rejected proposals to give senators three to six additional hours to file budget amendments, sticking with a deadline proposed by Senate leadership after Democrat Sen. Diana DiZoglio criticized “a manipulation tactic.”

Senators adopted an order (S 2445) requiring amendments to the Ways and Means Committee’s upcoming fiscal 2022 spending bill to be filed by 2 p.m. on Friday, May 14. On voice votes, they turned down DiZoglio’s calls to change the deadline to either 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. next Friday.

DiZoglio on Thursday objected to the original order, raising concerns that senators were not given any advance notice of the amendment deadline before the order was offered.

At Friday’s session, DiZoglio — a Methuen Democrat who has been a vocal critic of her chamber’s leadership — said she admires and respects her colleagues while also warning about the perils of “groupthink” and “gaslighting.”

“I’ll say this: trying to convince members that they’ve all been inconvenienced because a colleague simply desires to read a bill and offer an amendment, blaming, trying to use peer pressure to get a dissenting voice to step into line so that business as usual on Beacon Hill can continue, unquestioned, without the annoyance of somebody raising their hand and asking for an opportunity to be part of the process is a manipulation tactic that we should all not only understand is behavior associated with scapegoating and gaslighting, but strongly reject,” she said.

Senate President Karen Spilka’s office declined to comment Friday. At the start of Friday’s session, Ways and Means Chairman Sen. Michael Rodrigues called the order “a standard, procedural step we adopt each year” that is typically negotiated between the Senate President and Senate minority leader.

His committee plans to release its annual budget plan at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, giving senators 73 hours to read it and propose changes. Rodrigues listed the number of hours between budget release and the amendment deadline for each fiscal year since 2012, all of which were fewer than will be offered this year.

“The proposed deadline not only gives members and their staff ample time for filing, but also provides Ways and Means Staff critical hours to begin evaluation and review of all the amendments that were filed,” Rodrigues said.

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