I heard from 309 people about election law issues over the past few months — only the bottle bill campaign generated more unique contacts (358) in my district.

I’ve commented on all of the election law issues previously, but here is a quick summary of how things came out.

  • The Senate did adopt a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to respond to the Citizens United case.    I carefully considered the issue but found myself outside the consensus on the floor and among commenters on this website. The vote was 35 to 1 with me alone in the minority.  This resolution stands on its own — does not require House approval — however, it appears that the House may have adopted a similar resolution in the final hours of the session (we are working to confirm House action on this).
  • The Senate also adopted a bill which would strengthen disclosure requirements to respond to Citizens United. I strongly supported this bill. and was pleased to see us get it done. However, this bill does require House approval which was not forthcoming before the end of the formal session.
  • The House adopted, but the Senate did not reach, the package of nuts and bolts measures designed to bolster election participation. I supported these, while wanting to make sure we addressed logistical concerns raised by the clerks doing the actual work. Consideration of these measures in the final days of the session was disrupted by the tragic death after a hard-fought battle with cancer of the sister of the Senate co-Chair of the election laws committee, Senator Barry Finegold.

It remains possible that over the coming months of informal sessions a consensus will emerge allowing either or both of the latter two measures to pass. However, since informal action requires unanimous consent this seems unlikely. Both measures have partisan dimensions, both measures raise logistical issues, and the branches seem to have differing priorities.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

3 replies on “Election Laws — Session Wrap-up”

  1. Will – thanks for your thoughtful support of freedom.

    I very often comment to you that it seems like we have a lot of dead wood/brain-dead people in our statehouse (or people who simply react instead of thinking). I guess we now have a count to go with that feeling. Citizens United is a tough issue balancing rights and protected American values of government and liberty, I would have expected more diversity in the vote, but it seems clear that most people looked at the request to change the constitution as an easy way to say “Look, don’t blame me, I tried to do something about CU!”, knowing the reality of constitutional change minuscule, thus sidestepping any real thought on the issue. Thanks and support from em on your solitary “NO” vote.

    Senate 304 on the other hand shows true thought, so I guess I should not complain (oh well, everyone ignore my editorial above 🙂

    I’m assuming you will help to re-introduce the Senate 304 (disclosure) (?).

    Congrats on completing your first session in the Senate!


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