Your story has the power to explain how our mental health system fails to help people diagnosed with mental health conditions.

Affiliate Advocacy Reps – What Do They Do?

YOUR VOICE COUNTS

Find a list of local, state and federal officials who represent your area.

JOIN THE CAUSE

Join hundreds of NAMI Massachusetts members and supporters to advocate for important mental health issues and meet with your Representative and Senator or their staff.

UNDERSTANDING THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

(+) indicates opportunities for NAMI advocacy

Introducing Legislation

Each legislative session is 2 years long

Committee Hearings

Your legislator is on at least one committee

Show Me the Money

Any bill that impacts state finance comes to the Ways & Means Committee

Floor Vote

A bill may be debated and amended before a vote

Conference Committee

A bill has been passed in both houses; need to agree on one version.

Governor’s Signature

The governor has 10 days to sign, veto or return it with changes

  • Introducing legislation

    • Each legislative session is 2 years long – January of an odd year to July of the following year (i.e. Jan 2019- July 2020)
    • A bill is filed (or refiled) in the House/Senate by a sponsor. Any additional supporters are co-sponsors. (+)
    • About 6,500 bills are filed each session
  • Committee hearings

    • Your legislator is on at least one committee
    • Each bill is assigned to a committee and by law each bill must have a public hearing
    • Committee hearings feature many bills; they can be several hours long
    • Legislators, advocates and other stakeholders provide written or oral testimony (+)
    • After the hearing, the committee votes on how to support the bill
  • Ways & Means Committee

    • Any bill that impacts state finance comes to the Ways & Means Committee
    • The committee may hold a second hearing, make amendments to the bill, combine it with other bills, or do nothing. (+)
    • The committee votes on how to support the bill and reports out
  • Floor Vote

    • A bill is sent to the floor; it may be debated and amended before a vote (+)
    • If the bill is approved, it moves on to the next branch to repeat the process

    Once a bill passes in one house, it goes through the same steps in the other chamber

  • Conference Committee

    • A bill has been passed in both houses
    • It is common for both the House and Senate to pass different versions of the same legislation. The Conference Committee is formed to agree on one version.
    • Three members from each branch are appointed by leadership to serve on the Conference Committee
    • When a final version is reached, it is returned to each branch to vote on without any changes.
  • Governor's Signature

    • The governor has 10 days to sign, veto or return it with changes
    • If a bill does not reach this stage it can be refiled in the next session

NEWS & LEGISLATIVE UPDATES