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CONTACT: Evan Lips, communications director
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WOBURN — House Speaker Robert DeLeo is looking to use the current COVID-19 crisis to change legislative rules in order to consolidate more power, Massachusetts Republican Chairman Jim Lyons said Wednesday.
“Speaker DeLeo sought to use the crisis to implement a rule change package that would consolidate his power to limit and control debate but House Republicans thankfully caught him in the act and put a stop to it,” said Massachusetts Republican Chairman Jim Lyons. “Congratulations to Republican Minority Leader Brad Jones for standing up and shutting down this scheme, and not allowing this power grab to go one step forward.”
According to Republican Billerica state Rep. Marc Lombardo, who was present inside the House chamber for Wednesday’s attempted power grab, Speaker DeLeo’s new rules package would have stripped members of existing rights and “would make the unprecedented requirement for members to pre-register to speak before any session starts and before any debate even happens.
“Members would be required to declare in advance their support or opposition, after which they would be placed on a list that Speaker DeLeo would use to determine whether they could speak,” Lombardo said. “Members would be restricted to speaking only once on an issue, and be limited to 10 minutes, while the Democratic chair would be granted unlimited time and opportunities to speak.
“There is absolutely no reason for these new rules as the House could continue virtual operation with the existing rules in place.”
Added Rep. Lombardo:
“I ask my Democratic colleagues to join the Republican Caucus in calling on Speaker DeLeo to abandon this attempt to strip members of their rights and to further consolidate his own power.”