Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) announced today that Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) has appointed him Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules.
Discussing this leadership position, Downing said, “I am excited about this new responsibility that has been entrusted to me by the Senate President. The Senate Ethics and Rules Committee reviews every bill that passes though the Senate and makes recommendations to Leadership on whether the matter should be placed on the agenda. I look forward to this role and its challenges and to working closely with the President’s Office to fulfill them.”
As described by the Senate Rules, the Committee on Ethics and Rules considers all violations of rules and all questions of conduct of Senators and employees of the Senate. The Committee is also authorized to recommend policy procedures for the Senate and recommend rules changes for matters requiring the expeditious action by the Senate.
The other five members of the Senate Ethics and Rules Committee are Senate President Therese Murray, who serves as Vice-chair, Senate Majority Leader Frederick E. Berry (D- Peabody), Senate Chair of Ways and Means Steven C. Panagiotakos (D-Lowell), Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (R-Wakefield), and the Ranking Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means, Michael R. Knapik (D-Westfield).
“In his short tenure here on Beacon Hill, Senator Downing has shown great character and sound judgment, which is why I have appointed him Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules. I am confident that, through his new role, Senator Downing will continue to ensure the integrity of the Massachusetts Senate,” said Senate President Therese Murray.
This is Downing’s second chairmanship in the Senate. His first leadership role, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service, allowed Downing to work on policy issues relative to salaries, civil service and retirement of public employees. While he served as Chair of Public Service for less than ten months, Downing was able to successfully usher two major bills to the Governor’s desk: one providing a local option for municipalities to buy-in to health plans offered through the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), and the other directing the assets of underperforming local pension systems to be rolled into the state’s pensions systems, producing a greater return on investments. Downing also advanced measures to increase cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for public retirees and directing the $50 billion state pension fund to withdraw its investments in companies conducting business in or with Sudan, the latter of which is scheduled to be enacted by the Senate this afternoon.