House plan would extend remote sessions through September

Boston Statehouse
Boston State House

Boston State House

BOSTON (State House News Service) – House Speaker Ron Mariano’s leadership team gave representatives just a few hours a few hours Tuesday to file amendments to newly proposed House rules, ahead of a debate that’s now scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

House Democrats teed up the rules package (H 3930) and adopted an order setting a 5 p.m. amendment deadline shortly before 1:30 p.m. Also on the docket for Wednesday’s session is an order (H 3929) extending the House’s emergency rules until 11:59 p.m. Oct. 1, or the adjournment of the Oct. 1 session, whichever is later. Those rules are set to expire July 15.

An emergency rules extension would mean remote voting and session participation could continue through September. Representatives usually debate proposed rules changes at the outset of each two-year session, but Mariano this year postponed debate for several months. The delay gave lawmakers more time to consider changes in the way the House operates, but at least one lawmaker objected to the short window for drafting proposed amendments.

“I now have 3 hours and 30 minutes to go through 115 pages of the new rules package,” Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven tweeted minutes after representatives voted on the deadline. ” … This is exactly how one of the least transparent legislatures in the country operates.”

Roll calls start at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. House Democrats will meet privately in a caucus at noon.

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