AP: In 2008 majority of Massachusetts Laws benefitted the few, not the many

The Associated Press has a story that opens the door on the glad handing and back slapping practices of Beacon Hill.  If you’ve been wondering how Dianne Wilkerson was able to game the system this article lays it out.  Special bills for special interests are the rule rather than the exception on Beacon hill.

And then there was a lot of everything else, from liquor licenses to land transfers to special legislation exempting would-be police officers and firefighters from age requirements.

An Associated Press review of the 402 bills signed into law so far this year found two-thirds benefited a single city, town or individual. Others were more symbolic than substantive — naming an “official glacial rock” of the commonwealth, for example.

Still, legislative leaders say they were pleased.

“This legislative session was undoubtedly one of the most productive in years by any standard,” said David Guarino, spokesman for House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, pointing to cost-saving measures, increased levels of local aid and the first-time use of civilian flaggers at roadside construction sites.

But like every year, there were plenty of bills intended to grant a single city or town the right to take a specific action — typically known as “home-rule petitions.”

The article goes on to state how while some of these “home-rule petitions” created more licenses for the town, others were used, like Wilkerson’s to help individual businesses.  

In 2009 we need someone who will be RMG’s legislative watchdog.  Using OpenMass.org someone should be able to track these bills and laws in real time.  A weekly or bi-weekly update would be great.  List all the bills signed into law with a quick summary.  

Do we have anybody who would like to take on this project?  

About Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

  • PeasantwithPitchfork

    Happy to give this Watch Dog role a whirl. Am working on some Massachusetts Transparency issues anyway. The blog (in its incipient stages is at http://masstransparency.wordpr… Authors are welcome.