Rosenberg lauds return of bills

‘Senate’s bills are now back in the Senate’s control’

(A correction has been added to this story.)

SENATE PRESIDENT STANLEY ROSENBERG said on Thursday that he was pleased that a much larger proportion of the chamber’s bills than in recent years has been reported out of joint House-Senate committees and returned to the Senate for possible action.

The disposition of bills has been a sore spot between the branches since Rosenberg took over as Senate president last year. Senators were frustrated that their bills would get bottled up in the joint committees, which were dominated by House members, and never come up for a vote. The Senate did some saber rattling on the issue early last year, but the dispute quieted down after several months.

On Wednesday, the rules of the Legislature required most of the joint committees to process all the bills still under their control.  According to numbers provided by the Senate president’s office, about 2,000 bills originated in the Senate during this session. Of that total, 57 were granted extensions by the House and Senate so the committees could continue to review them and 91 were sent to House study, effectively killing them. The rest were returned to the Senate with either favorable reports, sent to Senate studies, or returned with an ought-not-to-pass recommendation. Those bills, regardless of their disposition at the committee level, can now be taken up by the full Senate. (A correction explaining that the 91 bills went to a House study and further clarification on the status of the returned Senate bills was made to this paragraph.)

The House clerk’s office could not provide similar numbers for the disposition of House bills. A spokesman for House Speaker Robert DeLeo could not be reached.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Rosenberg issued a statement saying the Senate’s objective this term has been to get Senate bills back to the Senate so votes can be taken on them. He said that objective was accomplished by simply enforcing joint House-Senate rules as written, usually in cooperation with the House chairs of committees.

“The Senate’s bills are now back in the Senate’s control,” Rosenberg said in a statement. “This is a much larger proportion of Senate bills returned to the control of the Senate than in many years. I am eager to work with the Senate to act on many of these bills, and to work with our colleagues in the House to move as many as possible to the governor’s desk.”