On Jan. 30th, the Massachusetts House voted against rules that would require the Speaker to give them enough time to read what they’re about to vote on and make the votes they take in committees publicly available.
Despite how outrageous it is that the House would vote against these basic transparency measures, I’m thrilled that Jamaica Plain's new state representative, Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-15th Suffolk), is already proving herself an advocate for the people of our district when she stood up to leadership and voted in favor of transparency and accountability.
However, my question remains: what was JP’s other representative (my representative), Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk), thinking when she voted no? She voted against allowing reps ample time to read bills and amendments that they are voting on. She did vote to make votes taken in committee available to the public. I am glad about this, as this is an extremely important issue to me and to the governing of the Commonwealth. But I still don't understand, Rep. Malia, what is the problem with having enough time to read bills and amendments? Why are our reps standing in the way of transparency and accountability in governance?
There is a dismal lack of transparency in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In our seemingly progressive state, our legislative body votes in secret without reading all bills. And it is shocking and frustrating that when amendments to fix structural issues of transparency came up for a vote on Wednesday, they failed. What is it that our reps are trying to hide?