BOSTON (WWLP) – This past November, some Bay Staters were asked to vote on more than just four questions. Residents in 20 House districts voted to have their representatives committee votes made public.
Voters in the 2nd Berkshire, 8th Hampden and 12th Hampden voted on this measure. It passed in the 2nd Berkshire with 86% of the vote, in the 8th Hampden with almost 75% of the vote and in the 12th Hampden with 78% of the vote.
This was a non-binding question, but the goal of Act on Mass, the group that put the question forward, is to make the State House more transparent and accessible to the public. The question passed in every district in which it was on the ballot.
Executive Director of Act on Mass, Erin Leahy, told 22News, “Having committee votes be public, not only is that a great way to just hold our Reps accountable for representing the views of their constituents, it’s also a great way to make sure that they’re actually going through the steps of our democratic process as they should be.”
The House of Representatives is currently only required to make available the names of lawmakers who vote in the negative in committees upon request. Committee votes are often taken electronically, without public notice and either move bills forward or towards a road block.
Now, Senate rules call for votes to be made publicly online. In 2020, a similar initiative passed in 16 House districts with the average support of 90 percent of voters.