April 27, 2012Editorial: Sounds of silence on Beacon Hill - Metro West Daily News
In what today’s legislative leaders say is the interest of efficiency, the amount of debate and the number of rollcall votes have decreased sharply compared to 25 years ago.
According to a new analysis by CommonWealth magazine, the House was in session for roughly 10 hours a week in the 1985-86 term.In the 2009-2010 term, the House was in session an average of five hours a week.
In the 1985-86 session, the House held 1,655 rollcall votes. In the 2009-2010 session, House members answered the clerk’s rollcall just 513 times.
The Senate numbers are similar. It was in session an average of six hours a week back when Senate President William Bulger wielded the gavel; it met an average of three hours a week under its current president, Therese Murray. There were 851 Senate rollcall votes 25 years ago, but less than half that many in the most recent full session.