Here are four inside truths about legislation making its way through the Massachusetts Legislature:
The minute Massachusetts lawmakers file legislation, the real work begins to build momentum for the legislation—momentum that’s needed to win.
- Sometimes momentum looks like the meeting, pictured above, which my Legislative Director Brian Rosman arranged between state-wide advocates. This meeting was focused on two separate dental bills—one I filed to increase the Medicaid reimbursement for community health dentistry and one I’m hearing on Public Health about dental therapists. This meeting brought representatives from two advocacy communities together so they could each trade information on their initiatives and look for synergy.
- And sometimes the work looks like building more general public pressure which is critical for ensuring that lawmakers know that there’s public support or opposition to legislation. A great example is the kind of work that the Massachusetts Teachers Association is doing to build public awareness and pressure for the Promise Act.
- What’s more, constituents pressure is most important and can cut through the competition for lawmakers’ attention and action. Often this constituent pressure turns into important testimony that a lawmaker can use to make the strongest possible case for why their colleagues should vote for a particular bill, like the stories I integrated in my remarks in support of the Gender X legislation which passed the Senate on April 25.
- Of course, sometimes momentum comes from deep work around an issue bolstered by issue experts, to make sure that the bill is as strong as it can be and backed by necessary research and best practices.
All this work happens at the committee level, individually, within working groups and caucuses, and in local communities as bills make their way through the session, each committee, and hopefully on to chamber floors for debates and votes before heading to the governor for a signature.