LETTER: State Legislature Should Pass Rep. Hecht’s Transparency Amendments

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To the Editor:

Please note, this is my personal position not that of the Library Board of Trustees.

The Massachusetts Legislature is the second oldest deliberative body in the world (after the U.K. Parliament). But far too often, no deliberation actually happens there. 

Thursday, Watertown State Rep. Jon Hecht fought to change this by filing three common sense transparency amendments to the House rules. His amendments focused on insuring that legislators have time to read what they’re voting on, and insuring that testimony at hearings and recorded votes in closed-door committee meetings are available to the public. They would have made a more democratic and transparent House — good government principles that Watertown residents like myself expect. He did speak passionately on the floor their favor, bringing some real deliberation back to the chamber. 

Apparently he spoke to deaf ears: all three amendments failed. Most rank-and-file Democrats voted in lock step with the House Speaker, which disempowers me and their constituents. I was disappointed that Watertown State Rep. John Lawn was one of those. 

This is Massachusetts, why in the world are we so afraid of transparency?

Sheppard Ferguson
Library Trustee

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