BOSTON – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that he will serve as chairman of the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy for the remainder of the 2011-2012 legislative session.
The Senate Committee on Steering and Policy assists the Senate President in identifying the major matters requiring consideration by the General Court during the legislative session and advises the President on the relative priority and urgency of such matters.
The appointment was announced by Senate President Therese Murray (D- Plymouth) during a Democratic Caucus on Thursday afternoon. Downing also continues to serve as the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, a post he received in January of 2011.
"I am grateful for the opportunity and privilege to assist Senate Leadership as chair of the Steering and Policy Committee,” said Downing. “With approximately twelve weeks remaining in the formal legislative session, it is an honor to have a seat at the table when discussing which bills should be given priority attention by the Senate and scheduled for debate and consideration.”
As dictated by the Joint Rules of the General Court, formal legislative sessions will conclude at midnight on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. While the House of Representatives and Senate continue to meet twice a week to advance noncontroversial and local legislative matters, no roll calls will be taken by legislators for the remainder of the session, which ends at the New Year.
“I am very happy to appoint Senator Downing as chairman of the Senate Committee on Steering and Policy,” said President Murray. “He showed great prowess and leadership in getting comprehensive energy reforms passed in the Senate, and I know he will take on this additional responsibility with his usual determination and strong work ethic to help me and the entire Senate indentify and prioritize matters important to the Legislature and to the citizens of our Commonwealth.”
This is Downing’s sixth chairmanship in the Massachusetts Senate. In his first term (2007-2008) he served as chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service and chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules. Last session (2009-2010) he served as chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue and acting chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education.