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Winchester delegates Day, Lewis appointed to Ballot Question Committee

Winchester's own delegates Rep. Michael Day, left, and Sen. Jason Lewis have been appointed to serve on the Special Joint Committee on Initiative Petitions. WINCHESTER NEWS STAFF PHOTO/NELL ESCOBAR COAKLEY

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Rep. Michael S. Day and Sen. Jason M. Lewis were recently appointed by House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano and Senate President Karen E. Spilka respectively to the Special Joint Committee on Initiative Petitions.

This bipartisan special joint committee is charged with reviewing and making recommendations on citizen initiative petitions that may appear as ballot questions in the upcoming 2024 statewide elections.

Consisting of four members each from the House and Senate, the eight-member special legislative committee will review and make recommendations regarding 10 initiative petitions under consideration for the ballot.

“These initiative petitions each represent complex legal and policy challenges, and I am honored that Speaker Mariano and my colleagues in the House have entrusted me with the challenge ahead,” said Day. “Each one of these proposed ballot questions will require significant deliberation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues from both the House and the Senate as we undertake this work to try to move our Commonwealth forward.”

“I’m honored to join Rep. Day in being appointed to serve on this special committee that is tasked with reviewing the complex set of potential 2024 ballot questions,” said Lewis. “In 2018, I was proud to help negotiate the successful resolution of several pending ballot questions, including raising the minimum wage and creating a universal paid family and medical leave program for Massachusetts residents.”

Proposals under consideration include:

-  An Act expressly authorizing the Auditor to audit the Legislature (House, No. 4251);

-  An Act requiring that districts certify that students have mastered the skills, competencies and knowledge of the state standards as a replacement for the MCAS graduation requirement (House, No. 4252);

-  An Act giving transportation network drivers the option to form a union and bargain collectively (House, No. 4253);

-  An Act to require the full minimum wage for tipped workers with tips on top (House, No. 4254);

-  An Act relative to the regulation and taxation of natural psychedelic substances (House, No. 4255);

-  An Act defining and regulating the relationship between network companies and app-based drivers for purposes of the general and special laws (House, No. 4256);

-  An Act establishing that app-based drivers are not employees, and network companies are not employers, for certain purposes of the general laws House, No. 4257);

-  An Act defining and regulating the relationship between network companies and app-based drivers for certain purposes of the general laws (House, No. 4258);

-  An Act establishing that app-based drivers are not employees, and network companies are not employers, for certain purposes of the general laws (House, No. 4259); and

-  An Act establishing that app-based drivers are not employees, and network companies are not employers, for certain purposes of the general laws (House, No. 4260)

“The State Constitution tasks the Legislature with considering each initiative petition, and with giving interested parties the ability to provide feedback on the policy changes being sought at the ballot box,” said Mariano and Spilka. “Given the number of questions that were submitted this session, including competing versions of the same question, the House and Senate will act to establish a special joint committee tasked with reviewing the initiatives that is especially equipped to tackle the unique challenges presented by the legal and policy intricacies of the questions this year. The Legislature looks forward to a fair, balanced, and informed public process for the consideration of all initiative petitions.”

The Massachusetts Constitution provides residents with a pathway to pass laws directly by popular vote. Subject to review by the Attorney General, supporters of ballot questions must submit valid signatures from residents across the Commonwealth who support advancing a proposal.

These initiative petitions are then transmitted to the Legislature which must consider the petitions and may choose to, among other options, decline to act on the proposal and allow the ballot question process to move forward, work with petitioners on a compromise, or order an alternative ballot question to be printed alongside the proposal for voter consideration. 

After legislative review, if the Legislature declines to act on a ballot question or pass a compromise version, supporters of the proposal must then gather another round of additional signatures for submission to the Secretary of the Commonwealth in order for the question to be presented to voters.

Day joins House Assistant Majority Leader Alice Peisch, Joint Committee on Public Service Co-Chair Ken Gordon, and Republican Rep. David Viera on the House side of the special joint committee. In addition to Joint Committee on Education Co-Chair Lewis, the Senate also appointed Joint Committee on Health Care Financing Co-Chair Cindy Friedman, Joint Committee on Financial Services Co-Chair Paul Feeney and Republican Se. Ryan Fatman to the special joint committee.

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