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UPDATED July 9: In a column headlined “What is our State House afraid of?,” I asked Arlington's legislative delegation -- Rep. Sean Garballey, Rep. Dave Rogers and Sen. Cindy Friedman -- to comment on this question: What steps should be taken to move this process forward, toward more public transparency, not less? Rep. Garballey is away but noted that he plans to respond. Meanwhile, the state House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a rules package that will extend some pandemic-era policies, but excludes several transparency initiatives such as making all members’ committee votes public. Sen. Friedman has responded, and it is published in full:
First and foremost, while I can’t speak for the entire “State House,” I am not “afraid” to be transparent with my constituents. I think there would be consensus from my constituents and colleagues that I am honest and very straightforward. I am always willing to share how I voted on a matter or how I feel about a particular bill – just ask me.
Second, in speaking for the Senate, we’ve been clear from the start where we stand on the issue. We had a robust debate in February when we discussed and accepted or rejected many amendments to a proposed set of Senate, joint and emergency rules. You can view those rules online:
Why do Massachusetts representatives and senators continue to do public business behind closed doors?
They are members of the only State House in the United States to do so.
As a longtime advocate for open government, I offer a plaintive but determined question: Why?
Instead of pawing through the maw of history to learn why this state of affairs came to be in "blue" Massachusetts, let's start with the present and try to move toward a more open future.
Two news articles by The Globe's Emma Platoff reported over three months lay out some facts.
Most recently, consider "Months later, Beacon Hill has no agreement on contested transparency rules."Here are its key points:
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