Now that the MA Senate and the MA House of Representatives have their leadership and committees in place, the Senate and House Clerks are starting to send more than 6700 bills filed earlier this year to legislative committees. Each bill will have a public hearing over the next 14 months.
On March 1, Governor Maura Healey is expected to file her FY2024 state budget proposal, starting a process with the legislature that will lead to a final FY2024 budget on or after June 30, 2023.
Here are details about the leadership and committees in both chambers:
On February 15, 2023, he Massachusetts State Senate President, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashand) appointed her leadership team, committee chairs and committee members.
On February 16, 2023, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Representative Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) appointed his leadership teams, committee chairs and committee members.
Massachusetts Senate, Democratic Leadership
There are three Republicans in the Massachusetts Senate. Senator Bruce Tarr is the Minority Leader in the Senate.
Massachusetts House of Representatives, Democratic Leadership
Massachusetts House of Representatives, Republican Leadership: Minority Leader Bradley Jones Jr.: Other Republican Leadership
Background from State House News Service: Reps. Mike Moran of Boston, Alice Peisch of Wellesley and Frank Moran of Lawrence all got big promotions Thursday as House Democrats rolled out their committee and leadership assignments for the new term.
House Speaker Ron Mariano tapped Mike Moran to serve as his majority leader, elevating the 10-term veteran from Brighton to the number-two role among House Democrats. Moran previously served as an assistant majority leader, and he also led the House's redistricting efforts following the U.S. Census in both 2010 and 2020.
The move fills a role that had been vacant for more than a year following former Majority Leader Claire Cronin's resignation in January 2022 to become U.S. ambassador to Ireland. It also puts Moran into a position that Mariano held before he became speaker.
The assignments announced Thursday also finalize what House Democrats can expect to earn from stipends that accompany leadership posts. Those stipends, paid on top of the $73,654 all lawmakers earn in base pay, range from $109,163.07 for speaker and Senate president to $7,095.60 for committee vice chairs.
For his work as majority leader, Moran will receive $81,872.30, substantially more than the $47,758.84 that assistant majority and minority leaders will receive this term.
Peisch, who was first elected in 2002, jumped into the top levels of House leadership as assistant majority leader after more than a decade in the policy trenches as co-chair of the Education Committee. During that tenure, she played a central role in the work to overhaul how state government funds K-12 public schools.
The other Moran in the leadership hierarchy, Frank Moran of Lawrence, served as a third division chair last session and won a second assistant majority leader role this session.
Rounding out the top echelon of Mariano's team are two returning deputies: Rep. Kate Hogan of Stow, who will once again hold the title of speaker pro tempore, and Rep. Sarah Peake of Provincetown, who remains the other second assistant majority leader.
Two of the four division chairs, Rep. Ruth Balser of Newton and Rep. James O'Day of West Boylston, are also returning to roles they held last session. They'll be joined in the 2023-2024 term by newly elevated first division chair Rep. Danielle Gregoire of Marlborough, who last session co-chaired the Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets Committee, and second division chair Rep. Paul Donato of Medford, who was a longtime assistant majority leader to former House Speaker Robert DeLeo before being bumped to assistant vice chair of House Ways and Means last session.
At the joint committee level, Mariano tasked Rep. Denise Garlick of Needham with co-chairing the Education Committee, the role Peisch held last session, at a time when lawmakers are deliberating over early education subsidies, the future of the MCAS, and how to handle an influx of new tax revenue earmarked for education and transportation purposes.
Garlick heads to that demanding committee post after serving as its House vice chair in the 2013-2014 session. Last term, she led the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading.
The Third Reading job goes this session to Rep. Thomas Walsh of Peabody, who last session led the House Ethics Committee, and replacing Walsh in that role is Rep. John Barrett of North Adams.
One returning committee chair who might be pressed into action on the earlier side is Rep. Thomas Stanley of Waltham, who is once again the top representative on the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. Mariano said he views nursing home legislation that panel was weighing last session as unfinished business. He did not offer details about the proposal in question.
In addition to Elder Affairs, 20 other joint committees will feature the same House co-chairs this session as last session.
Nine joint committees will feature new House co-chairs this session: the Advanced IT, Internet and Cybersecurity Committee (Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield); the Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets Committee (Rep. Michael Finn of West Springfield); the Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee (Rep. Jay Livingstone of Boston); the Community Development and Small Business Committee (Rep. Paul McMurtry of Dedham); the Education Committee (Garlick); the newly restructured Environment and Natural Resources Committee (Rep. Daniel Cahill of Lynn); the Municipalities and Regional Government Committee (Rep. Carole Fiola of Fall River); the Tourism Committee (Rep. Mindy Domb of Amherst); and the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee (Rep. Gerard Cassidy of Brockton).
The Agriculture Committee, now a standalone panel, will be co-chaired by Rep. Paul Schmid of Westport, who since 1962 has operated the Angus beef River Rock Farm in his hometown.
New chairs on House standing committees include Rep. Daniel Hunt of Dorchester atop the Human Resources Committee and Rep. Jack Lewis of Framingham atop the Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight Committee. The new House Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs will be led by Rep. Angelo Puppolo of Springfield.
House Republicans, who now hold just 25 of the chamber's 160 seats, find themselves spread increasingly thin over the Legislature's 31 joint committees and the House's 11 single-branch committees. GOP members ratified their own assignments in a caucus on February 14, 2023, shuffling who holds many of the ranking minority member positions on those panels.
Rep. Mathew Muratore of Plymouth, who previously served on House Ways and Means, scored the new assistant ranking member post on Ways and Means which was created via a successful GOP amendment to the House Rules this month.
Three Republicans who served on Ways and Means last term will no longer be on the budget panel -- former Reps. James Kelcourse and Timothy Whelan, who are no longer House members, and Rep. Peter Durant, who was left off of Ways and Means this session and instead assumes the role of ranking member on the busy Judiciary Committee. They were replaced by Reps. Kelly Pease, Alyson Sullivan-Almeida, and Steven Xiarhos.
Ranking member Rep. Todd Smola and Reps. Donald Berthiaume and Joseph McKenna remain on the committee, as does Rep. Angelo D'Emilia, another assistant ranking minority member.
Minority Leader Bradley Jones Jr. took on a ranking member role on the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, a spot formerly held by Rep. Lenny Mirra, who ultimately lost his bid to remain in the House earlier this year.
From State House News Service on 2/15/23:
Six weeks into the session, Senate President Karen Spilka handed down leadership and committee assignments Wednesday, keeping in place all of her top deputies from last session and putting different senators in charge of most committees. The assignments that were ratified in a caucus of Senate Democrats on Wednesday will lead to new perspectives atop two-thirds of the joint committees and five of the 11 Senate standing committees as Spilka shuffled the deck. Even without a shuffling of the deck, Spilka had a few vacancies to fill based on the departure of senators at or near the end of last session. Sen. Barry Finegold will take over for former Sen. Eric Lesser as Senate chair of the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee, the Revenue Committee will be led in the Senate by Sen. Susan Moran (replacing former Sen. Adam Hinds), Sen. Adam Gomez will take up former Sen. Sonia Chang-Diáz's chair atop the Cannabis Policy Committee; and Sen. Liz Miranda was tapped to lead the Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion Committee that Chang-Diáz also chaired. Senators agreed to an internal rules plan last week that created a new Senate Committee on the Census, which will be chaired by Sen. Will Brownsberger. The rules also replaced the Senate Reimagining Massachusetts Committee with a new Senate Juvenile and Emerging Adult Justice Committee, which will be under the leadership of Sen. Brendan Crighton. The House and Senate have both proposed adding a new Joint Committee on Agriculture. And while that committee creation is still part of conference committee negotiations, Spilka on Wednesday appointed Sen. Anne Gobi to serve as the Senate's chair. Some committees will probe new issues this session, while others are more likely to begin by jumping back into the fray over topics that perennially get an airing on Beacon Hill and those that were debated without resolution last session. The senators appointed Wednesday and the representatives expected to be appointed Thursday to serve as chairs of committees will wield varying levels of influence over the legislation before their panels and will aim to control the flow of bills to the House and Senate floors. - Colin A. Young/SHNS
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