Handful of Democrats called out for voting to suspend rules

Conservative Mass Fiscal Alliance accuses Democrats of flip-flopping

A CONSERVATIVE advocacy group on Monday called out a handful of Democratic lawmakers who in early 2021 voted for more time to study bills coming out of conference committees but last week voted to suspend the Legislature’s existing rules to take up climate change legislation immediately.

The joint rules of the Massachusetts House and Senate require conference committees to file their compromise bills with the clerk’s office by 8 p.m. in order to bring the legislation up for a vote the following day at 1 p.m.

In February 2021, both the House and Senate rejected amendments that would have required three days to go by between the filing of a compromise bill and any vote on it.

A handful of Democrats joined every Republican in supporting the amendments in 2021, but voted on Thursday to suspend the existing rules and take up climate change legislation that had been filed with the clerk’s office earlier that morning. Quick action was needed if the Democrats needed to override any vetoes by Gov. Charlie Baker.

According to roll calls, three Democrats in the Senate supported the bid for a rules change last year but supported the rules suspension last week. They were Diana DiZoglio of Methuen, who is running in the Democratic primary for state auditor; John Keenan of Quincy, and Walter Timilty of Milton.

In the House, five Democrats supported the  rules change in 2021 and voted for the rules suspension last week, including Tami Gouveia of Acton, who is running in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor; Mike Connolly of Cambridge; Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville; Christopher Markey of Dartmouth; and Adam Scanlon of North Attleboro.

Efforts to reach several of the lawmakers were unsuccessful.

Once rules were suspended, both the House and Senate, including most of the Republicans in both chambers, overwhelmingly voted for the climate change legislation. The vote was 143-9 in the House and 38-2 in the Senate.

Paul Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, slammed the Democrats who voted to suspend the rules.

“You can easily say you support more transparency at the State House when you are running in a primary. You can easily vote in support of those transparency rules at the start of the legislative session. However, it’s clear after last week’s roll call votes that it is much more challenging to uphold those rules when they are put to the test,” Craney said. “With days to go, the public should be prepared to see more of the same this week from these opaque and cowardly lawmakers.”