BOSTON (WWLP) – Formal lawmaking ended in the early morning hours of August 1st this year. 22News explains what can be done during informal sessions.
Formal sessions may have ended for the term, but that doesn’t mean lawmaking stops here on Beacon Hill. Lawmakers are on summer recess for the month of August, but informal sessions are still being held.
Informal sessions are usually scarcely attended, but are a way to keep the process moving and from having bills pile up. For the most part, informal sessions are used to take up non-controversial bills and roll calls do not occur during informal sessions.
The Economic Development bill that evaded lawmakers during the final days of formal session may be taken up during informal session this term.
Senator John Velis of Westfield told 22News, “In a traditional year if you will, it’s for those things that don’t require a formal roll call, like a sick leave bank or something along those lines. But I cannot stress enough this is the time we should be coming back in, provide that tax relief, much of which was contained obviously in that economic development bill.”
However, if lawmakers do take up the Economic Development bill during an informal session, they run the risk of one lawmaker derailing the entire bill. This is because decisions during informal sessions hold weight, only one lawmaker can kill an entire bill.
If the Economic Development bill leaves conference committee, the House will need to take it up before the Senate. Lawmakers can however go back into formal sessions if they suspend Rule 12A, which would take “a concurrent vote of two-thirds” of the members of both the House and Senate.
Lawmakers have moved several local bills during the past two weeks of informal sessions.