Massachusetts StatehouseLawmakers from the Massachusetts General Court and the National Assembly of Quebec this week signed a cooperative agreement aimed at establishing legislative collaboration around areas of mutual interest, including education, health, environment, energy, economic development and cultural affairs. Senate President Therese Murray (D) joined Jacques Chagnon, president of the National Assembly, in signing the document, the first of its kind.

Massachusetts Senate President Pro Tempore Richard T. Moore (D), former president of NCSL, helped to organize and facilitate the agreement. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D), signed the agreement before leaving on an overseas trip last week.

 “Collaboration is key to building a better Commonwealth,” Murray said. “It’s important that we continue to work with our international friends to break down our borders and advance our common goals of economic development, prosperity and, most importantly, job creation.”

In his remarks, Chagnon offered a nod to the late U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill o Massachusetts. “ ‘Politics is [always] local.’ But global issues such as immigration, climate change and international trade also have ramifications in our legislative assemblies and constituencies” Chagnon said. “Elected representatives must be aware of the important issues impacting the lives of the people they serve, and one way to do this is to examine what other parliaments are doing and adapt their solutions to their own situations.”

Moore pointed out that “Franco-Americans, especially those of French-Canadian descent, are the third largest ethnic group in Massachusetts (after Irish and Italians). … So there are a lot of cultural ties between our area of the state and Quebec.”

The agreement makes the Massachusetts-Quebec Cooperation Conference a permanent working group made up of representation of Massachusetts and Quebec legislative bodies. The delegations must reflect the balance of political parties within each body.

The agreement is the first bilateral agreement between Quebec and a U.S. state. It is also the first agreement of its kind between Massachusetts and a province.


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This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.


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