Tuesday, January 3, 2017
2016 ended with celebrations and fireworks; the beat of time marches on. Our state government marks time in numerous ways including calendar years and fiscal years (from July 1st to June 31st), and the Legislature measures session time not only by the laws of celestial physics but by the law of the Constitution.
The framers of the Massachusetts Constitution, the oldest functioning constitution of any government in the world, declared in Chapter One, Section One that the “political year shall begin on the first Wednesday of January”. Tomorrow morning all newly elected members of the House and Senate, and those returning after successful re-election, will meet in their respective chambers of the State House to begin the 190th session of the General Court. Each two-year legislative Senate session starts with the nomination of our Senate President and Clerk and the adoption of a set of rules to operate under. Each member will solemnly swear an oath to bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth and to faithfully and impartially perform all the duties incumbent on them as a member of the Senate to the best of their abilities.
This will be the second time that Governor Baker will have administered this oath in the Senate Chamber. Governor Baker and other members of the government including Councilors and Constitutional Officers such as the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Treasurer, and former members will likely attend.
This starts the clock on a two year legislative term.
In short order members, each representing approximately 163,000 residents in 40 separate and distinct, will file legislative petitions and dockets, be assigned to serve on committees, and begin debating public policies that will shape the future of our state.
I welcome and encourage you to share your ideas, concerns and participation in this process; the right time be involved in your government is always now.