Group of Mass Residents to Review Patient Safety Ballot Question Before Election

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Rep. Jonathan Hecht’s office provided for following announcement:

The Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) Advisory Board announced today that Question 1, An Initiative Petition for a Law Relative to Patient Safety and Hospital Transparency, is the subject of this year’s review in a meeting at the Massachusetts State House.

Along with the selection of the ballot question, 20 citizen panelists were chosen to participate in a four-day deliberation process on the initiative. The panel will produce a Citizens’ Statement outlining its key findings and the strongest arguments for supporting and opposing Question 1 to aid voters filling out their November ballot.

The bipartisan Advisory Board unanimously chose Question 1, one of the three ballot questions considered for citizen evaluation, for the CIR after a public discussion. The Advisory Board members who cast their vote for Question 1 included Rachael Cobb, MassVOTE Board Member and Professor of Government at Suffolk University; Patrick Field, Managing Director of the Consensus Building
Institute; Representative Brad Hill, Assistant Minority Leader; Meryl Kessler, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters; Phil Johnston, former Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and former Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services; Senator Patrick O’Connor, Minority Whip; George Pillsbury, MassVOTE Board Chair; and Alan Solomont, Dean of Tufts
University’s Tisch College of Civic Life and former US Ambassador to Spain and Andorra.

Representative Hecht (D-Watertown) said, “I was very impressed by the clear rationale for the Advisory Board’s unanimous choice of Question 1 as the subject of this year’s CIR. As several Board members stated, the outcome of Question 1 is likely to affect every resident of the state as consumers of health care. Moreover, it involves many complicated, technical questions that merit the kind of in-depth
analysis that CIR permits.”

“I anticipate that the CIR will enable voters to make an informed decision about Question 1 by providing them with clear, dispassionate information about this complicated and technical issue,” Kessler said. “I am also hopeful that the CIR process itself will showcase the role that deliberative democracy can play in
our self-government and inspire more citizens to actively participate in our democratic system.”

Following the choice of the ballot question, the 2018 CIR Team demonstrated the panel selection process and announced this year’s panelists. The 20 citizen panelists were chosen from respondents to a mailer sent to 15,000 randomly-selected Massachusetts voters. They are representative of the state’s overall
voting population in terms of age, geography, race and ethnicity, party affiliation, gender, and educational attainment.

“I am impressed by the rigorous selection process by which the 20-member panel was chosen and am delighted that the demographics of the panel so closely mirror the demographics of the Commonwealth. I look forward to observing the panel’s deliberations and seeing their final product,” Kessler said.

Throughout the deliberations, the citizen panel will engage with the campaigns for and against Question 1 as well as background experts whose research is relevant to the ballot initiative. At the conclusion of the CIR, the panel issues a Citizens’ Statement that will be widely distributed through newspapers, social media, and other media outlets across Massachusetts.

“We’re confident that the voters of Massachusetts will benefit a lot from the work of the citizen panelists,” Rep. Hecht said.

The 2018 CIR citizen panel convenes for deliberations from September 12 to 15 at the Watertown Public Library. All members of the public are welcome to observe the deliberations. For more information, please visit the project website at www.CIRMass.org.

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