A Brief History of the Constitution and Government of Massachusetts: With a Chapter on Legislative Procedure

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Harvard University, 1916 - Constitutional history - 140 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1916. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... CHAPTER VII LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE To become law a measure has to pass through three readings in each branch of the Legislature; it must be engrossed and enacted in each, and then must be signed by the Governor, or left for five days without his signature, or vetoed within the required period and passed over his veto. Filing Petitions And Bills When one looks at the Massachusetts " blue books " which are issued yearly with their mass of laws general and special, one seldom pauses to reflect on the hearings, debates, readings and contests which must have taken place, and upon the general machinery that had to be set in motion before these matters were in shape to be put in the statute book. The fact that the Legislature sits for many months each year and steadily grinds out laws, is of course common knowledge. But if the average citizen wanted to get an idea enacted into law, would he know how to go about it ? He would probably consult a lawyer. This lawyer would undoubtedly know the method of procedure by which to set the ball rolling, but unless he had been at some time in the State government or had special experience with legislation he would scarcely know how to draw a bill and its accompanying petition in scientific form. For instance, very few realize the value of making the petition as broad as possible. Since each petition must, under the rules, be accompanied by a bill, the phrase commonly used in a petition is to ask " for legislation according to the accompanying bill." Generally 90 speaking, nothing could be more unwise than this. Events will undoubtedly occur making it desirable to amend the bill. If it is desired to cut out some of its provisions or to limit its scope well and good; the petition will be broad enough for that. But if, as is more ofte...

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