Massachusetts government
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  • 1. Commonwealth of Massachusetts “How does my state government serve me?”
  • 2. Mass. constitution       Written in 1780, during American War for Independence, by… …John Adams! Oldest functioning constitution in the world Mass. one of only four “commonwealths” in USA (can you name the other three?) Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania Commonwealth: A state in which the government functions with the common consent of the people.
  • 3. Power  Education  Marriage  MA Trade  Public Safety
  • 4. S t a te G o v e r n m e n t E x e c u t iv e B r a n c h G o v e r n o r 's O f f ic e L e g is la t iv e B ra n c h G e n e r a l C o u rt S e n a te J u d ic ia l B r a n c h S u p r e m e J u d ic ia l C o u rt H o u s e o f R e p r e s e n t a t iv e s
  • 5. Executive  Governor Deval Patrick (D)
  • 6. Qualifications, Terms, etc.     Four-year terms; elections held in off-year (halfway between presidential elections) No minimum age! Must have resided in state for 7 years prior to election Governor’s salary: $135,000 Inauguration
  • 7. The Governor         Governor is chief executive of Executive Branch May propose a law Veto power Appoints all judges, parole board members, heads of state agencies Power to pardon, commute, grant reprieve Commander-in-chief of state militia, a.k.a. _____________ (when not in federal service) No recall provision in Mass. (only 18 states, such as Calif., have it) but governor may be impeached and removed by state legislature Since 1990, string of four Republican governors – divided government (Exec. Branch=Republican, Legis. Branch=Democratic)
  • 8. Governor’s Proposals   In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants
  • 9. Executive Help Lt. Governor Attorney General Tim Murray (D) Martha Coakley (D)
  • 10. Legislative Senate 40 Senators President – Therese Murray (D) Franklin- Karen Spilka (D) & Richard Ross (R)
  • 11. Senate President Therese Murray (D – Plymouth)
  • 12. State Senator Karen Spilka (DFramingham)   One of two state senators that represent part of Franklin Not bad: 2 of 40 have Franklin’s issues in mind
  • 13. State Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham)  Elected to replace Scott Brown
  • 14. Legislative House of Representatives 160 Representatives Speaker – Robert Deleo (D) Franklin – Jeffrey Roy (D)
  • 15. Speaker of the House Robert Deleo (D-Winthrop)
  • 16. Mass. Legislative Leaders  Leaders of both House and Senate are Democrats… Why?????  … Because: Majority party chooses Speaker (House), President (Senate), and all committee chairs  Senate: 35 Democrats, 5 Republicans  House of Reps: 139 Democrats, 21 Republicans  Dems have SUPERMAJORITY (“veto-proof”) in both houses
  • 17. How a Bill Becomes a Law in Mass.     Any Massachusetts citizen (yes, you!!!) may file a bill through a state legislator, or a bill may be filed directly by a legislator or by the governor. To win passage, a bill must gain a majority vote of both houses of the legislature. After a bill is passed, the governor has 10 days in which to sign it, return it for reconsideration (usually with amendments), veto it, or hold onto it until after the legislature adjourns ("pocket veto"). A veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the members present in both houses.
  • 18. Qualifications, Terms  Elections are held in even-numbered years  $50,000 salary  Minimum age to serve in legislature is 18  Must live in district (Senate: for five years; House: for one year)  Term is two years for both Senate and House
  • 19. How should legislators vote?    Trustee: a legislator votes their conscience on each issue; they were elected because the people of their district felt they were the best person for the job and could be…trusted Delegate: a legislator votes based on the majority opinion of her/his constituents – truly a representative Partisan: a legislator feels duty-bound to vote in line with their political party’s leadership
  • 20. Judicial Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick Ireland
  • 21. Supreme Judicial Court    State’s top court: seven judges Chief Justice Margaret Marshall In landmark Goodrich case (2003): 4-3 ruling: Mass. constitution does not prohibit gay marriage, therefore, it is legal; Mass. became first US state to allow same sex marriage in May 2004
  • 22. Amending the state constitution    Amendments to the constitution may be introduced by any House or Senate member (legislative amendment) or by a petition signed by 3% of the total votes cast for governor in the last state election, which must be at least 25,000 qualified voters, and that is presented in a joint session of the General Court. If it is approved by two successive sessions (one session=one calendar year) of the legislature, the amendment is then submitted to the voters at the next general election. Anti-gay marriage amendment?? Unlikely