"To Preserve and Protect Massachusetts General Law Chapter 146 and to ensure Public Safety by maintaining a strong license law"
Department of Public Safety License Holders,
As you may have recently heard Governor Charley Baker has filed an Article 87 and you may ask yourself what is an article 87?
What is an Article 87? How does this process work?
Article 87 of Massachusetts Constitution authorizes the Governor to file one or more reorganizational plans for the purpose of "transferring, abolishing, consolidating or coordinating the whole or any part of any agency, or the functions, within the executive department."
After the Governor files a reorganization plan:
•The plan is referred to the appropriate committee by the Clerks office of the House and Senate with the approval of the President and Speaker.
•The assigned committee must hold a public hearing on the reorganization plan no later then 30 days after the filing.
•The committee must report that it approves or disapproves of the plan within 10 days of the hearing.
•The plan has the force of law upon expiration of 60 calendar days following the date it was filed by the Governor, unless it is disapproved by a majority of the members (present and voting) of either of the two branches of the legislature.
Why did the Governor decide to file an Article 87?
There are several reasons he decided to use the vehicle of an Article 87 for this bill:
•It is the authority given to the Governor in the Constitution for the purpose of reorganizations, which this bill is. - Because this is an effective way to bypass the legislative process and ensure that this is done quickly the way the Governor wants it without any modifications from the Legislature.
An Article 87:
•Cannot be amended - It can only be voted up or down the way it was written so that compromises cannot be included and the Committee appointed must either be on Governor Bakers side or against him.
•Has a set time limit for being heard and decided - Very tight time line which only affords the citizens of the Commonwealth limited time and ways to oppose.
•Ensures a public hearing on the issue - Hearings are on week days during working hours where the average citizen cannot afford to attend and participate in the legislative process and hearings are posted with little notice in this case 3 working days of advance notice.