The NCSL Blog


By Angela Andrews

Listening to the concerns of Massachusetts’s residents resulted in a plan that the Massachusetts Senate adopted for its work in the 2017 session and beyond.

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (wearing a tie) leads a discussion during one of the chamber's "Commonwealth Conversations" held in nine regions across the stateFrom January through April, an effort co-chaired by Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D), Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D), and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R), culminated in public meetings in nine regions across the state.

The result is a 31-page report—“Commonwealth Conversations 2017: Bringing Beacon Hill Back to You”—where “thousands of constituents spoke on issues ranging from combating climate change, to increasing access to early education, and extending broadband service.”

Senate President Stan Rosenberg wrote to his constituents, “The 2017 Commonwealth Conversations Report reflects the voices of thousands of residents on the issues that affect their day to day lives.”

The meetings resulted in broad news coverage and led the Senate to approve efforts to strengthen and invest in the state’s education and to work to close economic and racial disparities in education. Other commitments included addressing issues such as transportation, criminal justice, energy, housing, income inequality and economic development.

In addition, the Senate summary recognized the importance of civic engagement. “The Senate believes that civics should be an important, integrated part of the Massachusetts educational system,” the report said.

More information about the conversations and the Senate findings can be found on the Commonwealth Conversations website

Angela Andrews directs NCSL’s Legislative Staff Services program.  

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About the NCSL Blog

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.