Diana Supports Effort to End House Gridlock

Diana has announced her strong support for new legislation that would provide members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives improved access to information on bills up for votes during legislative sessions.

Under House Bill 3646, sponsored by State Rep. Daniel B. Winslow (R-Norfolk) and co-sponsored by Diana, legislative clerks would need to prepare calendars of bills up for consideration in coming informal sessions and send them to legislators via e-mail at least 30 minutes prior to the start of session, making the House bills available online.

The bill’s introduction comes on the heels of two weeks of legislative gridlock in which some lawmakers stalled House proceedings in protest of a legislating system they argued limited transparency. Inspiring their actions was a small box called “the can” located on the House speaker’s podium. Inside “the can” are all of the bills to be approved during session. An old rule was recently invoked by the House speaker permitting him to determine and limit which legislators can go through the contents of “the can.”

“We all benefit from transparency in the legislative process and web-based, real-time access to legislation for legislators as well as the public is the best way to bring sunlight to the democratic process,” said Winslow.

Diana said, “We in the Legislature must not follow the model of Washington when it comes to never-ending gridlock. This should not be a Republican vs. Democrat issue. Instead of consistently focusing on the problem, we need to be focusing on the solution by working together to accomplish these reforms. It is common sense and constructive change to the way things run on Beacon Hill and I am delighted to join with my colleague in this long overdue effort.”