The Massachusetts House of Representatives is the lower house of the Massachusetts General Court, the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is composed of 160 members elected from 14 counties each divided into single-member electoral districts across the Commonwealth. The House of Representatives convenes at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

Qualifications

Any person seeking to get elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives must meet the following qualifications:[1]

  • Be at least eighteen years of age
  • Be a registered voter in Massachusetts
  • Be an inhabitant of the district for at least one year prior to election
  • Receive at least 150 signatures on nomination papers

Representation

Originally,[when?] representatives were apportioned by town. For the first 150 persons, one representative was granted, and this ratio increased as the population of the town increased. The largest membership of the House was 749 in 1812 (214 of these being from the District of Maine); the largest House without Maine was 635 in 1837.[2] The original distribution was changed to the current regional population system in the 20th century. Until 1978, there were 240 members of the house,[3] a number in multi-member districts; today there are 160 in single-member districts.[4]

Today, each Representative represents about 40,000 residents. Their districts are named for the counties they are in and tend to stay within one county, although districts often cross county lines. Representatives serve two-year terms which are not limited.

Representatives’ desk with microphone and voting buttons (yea/nay)

The Sacred Cod

Within the House’s debating chamber hangs the Sacred Cod of Massachusetts. The 5-foot-long (1.5 m) pine carving of the cod was offered by Representative John Rowe in 1784 in commemoration of the state’s maritime economy and history. Two previous carvings of the cod existed during the legislature’s colonial era; the first destroyed in a fire in 1747, and the second during the American War of Independence. Since 1784, the current Sacred Cod has been present at nearly every House session, and moved to its current location when the House began convening in the State House in 1798.

In 1933, members of the Harvard Lampoon stole the cod carving as part of a prank. The theft sparked a large statewide search by the Boston and Massachusetts State Police. Following outrage from Boston newspapers and the General Court itself, the cod was anonymously handed back.[5]

Composition

2020 composition by municipality

The Democrats hold a supermajority in the House.

AffiliationParty

(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
DemocraticRepublicanUnenrolledVacant
Begin 187th (2011-2012)128320160
Begin 188th (2013-2014)131290160
Begin 189th (2015-2016)127350160
Begin 190th (2017-2018)125350160
Begin 191st (2019-2020)127321160
Begin 192nd (2021-2022)1283011591
April 7, 2021[6]1293011600
September 15, 2021[7]1292911591
Latest voting share81.1%18.2%0.6%

[8]

Leadership

The Speaker of the House presides over the House of Representatives. The Speaker is elected by the majority party caucus followed by confirmation of the full House through the passage of a House Resolution. As well as presiding over the body, the Speaker is also the chief leader, and controls the flow of legislation. Other House leaders, such as the majority and minority leaders, are elected by their respective party caucuses relative to their party’s strength in the House.

The current Speaker of the House is Ronald Mariano of the 3rd Norfolk District.

Leaders

[9]

PositionRepresentativePortraitMunicipalityParty
Speaker of the HouseRonald MarianoSpeaker Ronald Mariano.jpgQuincyDemocratic
Majority LeaderClaire D. CroninClaire Cronin.jpgEaston
Speaker Pro TemporeKate HoganKate Hogan.jpgStow
Majority Vice LeaderMichael J. MoranMichael J. Moran.jpgBrighton
Assistant Majority Vice LeaderJoseph F. WagnerJoseph F. Wagner.jpgChicopee
Sarah K. PeakeSarah K. Peake.jpgProvincetown
First Division ChairJames J. O’DayJames ODay Headshot.jpgWorcester
Second Division ChairRuth B. BalserRuth Balser.jpgNewton
Third Division ChairFrank A. MoranFrank A. Moran.jpgLawrence
Fourth Division ChairThomas A. Golden, Jr.Thomas A. Golden, Jr.jpgLowell
House Ways and Means ChairAaron MichlewitzAaron Michlewitz.jpgBoston
Minority LeaderBradley H. Jones, Jr.Bradley H. Jones, Jr.jpgNorth ReadingRepublican
Assistant Minority Vice LeaderKimberly N. FergusonKimberly N. Ferguson.jpgHolden
Second Assistant Minority Vice LeaderPaul K. FrostPaul K. Frost.jpgAuburn
Third Assistant Minority Vice LeaderSusan Williams GiffordSusan Williams Gifford.jpgWareham
F. Jay BarrowsF. Jay Barrows.jpgMansfield

The most recent election of members was held on November 3, 2020. Representatives serve two-year terms.

Committees

The current standing committees in the Massachusetts House of Representatives are as follows:

CommitteeChairVice ChairRanking Minority
Bills in the Third ReadingDenise C. GarlickBrian M. Ashe
EthicsThomas WalshDavid Allen RobertsonSusan Williams Gifford
Federal Stimulus and Census OversightDaniel J. HuntJohn Barrett, IIINicholas A. Boldyga
Global Warming and Climate ChangeSean GarballeyRady MomMichael J. Soter
Human Resources and Employee EngagementDaniel CahillLiz MirandaDonald R. Berthiaume, Jr.
Operations, Facilities and SecurityJoseph W. McGonagle, Jr.Jonathan D. ZlotnikDavid K. Muradian, Jr.
Post Audit and OversightJohn J. MahoneyGerard J. CassidyPeter J. Durant
RulesWilliam C. GalvinSmitty PignatelliDonald H. Wong
Steering, Policy and SchedulingKevin G. HonanTricia Farley-BouvierSusan Williams Gifford
Ways and MeansAaron MichlewitzAnn-Margaret Ferrante
Paul J. Donato (Assistant Vice Chair)
Todd M. Smola

Current members and districts

Past composition of the House of Representatives

Composition by municipality in the 187th General Court.
Composition by municipality in the 188th General Court.
Composition by municipality in the 189th General Court.
Composition by municipality at the beginning of the 190th General Court.
Composition by municipality at the beginning of the 191st General Court.

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/Candidates-Guide-generic.pdf
  2. ^ The Massachusetts State House, p. 110, 111. Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Boston, 1953.
  3. ^ League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Archived October 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ See Amendment CI of the Massachusetts Constitution, adopted by voters in 1974
  5. ^ “The ‘Sacred’ Cod Moves to the New State House”. Mass Moments. Mass Humanities. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  6. ^ “House members”. The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. April 7, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  7. ^ “House Members”. The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. September 24, 2021. Archived from the original on September 24, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2021.
  8. ^ “Massachusetts House of Representatives”. Ballotpedia. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  9. ^ “House Leadership”. The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2021.

Further reading

External links