for State Senate

Middlesex & Worcester

 

Terra, a former municipal official with  decades of business experience, believes we are in a state of crisis. And if we do not immediately embrace fiscally, environmentally, and socially sustainable solutions, that our lives will change dramatically and irrecoverably in our lifetimes.

The Massachusetts Constitution guarantees us the right of "accountable" government.


For government to be accountable, transparency must exist. We have a right to know what is going on and who is making what decisions.


Currently every municipality has to, by law, public agendas and minutes of every meeting that includes a "quorum" of decision makers. These meetings must be in a publicly accessible location. And these meetings must be posted with 48 hour notice. 


These requirements are codified into law under Massachusetts' Open Meeting Law.


BUT neither the Statehouse nor the hundreds of state agencies and other state-run regulatory bodies are required to adhere to the Open Meeting Law.


Why is that?


Advocates of "the way things are" will tell you that it's efficient and it would cost too much for state agencies to adhere to the Open Meeting Law.


Terra believes that we can not afford to keep allowing government to be meeting in secret to make decisions on everything from what chemicals are sprayed on your children, to what developers get subsidies, to what tax rates will apply.


Terra believe it's high time for ALL public bodies in Massachusetts to adhere to the Open Meeting Law.


FOR THE RECORD, Terra is amazed at the recent changes by the Statehouse Clerks, and the clerks of agencies around the Commonwealth. A large percentage of agency leaders have begun in earnest to notify the public and invite the public to as many meetings as possible.


But we can do better. Amendments to bills are often not even available to Legislators til minutes before a vote. Session records are difficult to wade through and not posted in time for the public to organize around whether they like what's going on. And still, private deal-making sessions among leadership is still done in secret.


"We MUST do better!", Terra exclaims. "We're seeing our democracy wither under the weight of lobbyists."