BOSTON – Yesterday Senate President Therese Murray (D- Plymouth) announced the members of her newly crafted Leadership team as well as the 2013-2014 committee assignments for the Democratic members of the Massachusetts Senate. State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) will continue to lead the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Committee as Senate chair, and in addition, will serve as chair of the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading.
The Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy (TUE) Committee reviews all legislative proposals regarding the exploration, exploitation and development of renewable and non-renewable energy sources in the Commonwealth. Last session, under Downing’s direction, the TUE Committee advanced major legislation to stabilize energy costs in Massachusetts and improve the emergency service response of public utility companies for consumers.
Downing’s second chairmanship, the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading, inserts him into the planning and preparation process necessary before the body convenes in formal or informal session. The panel reviews all bills and resolves prior to their final reading by the Senate, and examines, corrects and recommends any amendments necessary to ensure all matters under consideration are constitutional and free from drafting errors. As chair, Downing will collaborate with Senate Leadership and Senate Counsel to ensure all proposals on the Calendar are ready for engrossment by the Senate.
President Murray has also asked Downing to continue his vice-chairmanship of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development and his active membership on the powerful Senate Committee on Ways & Means.
This session Downing will also serve as a member of the Senate Committee on Post Audit & Oversight; the Senate Committee on Global Warming & Climate Change; the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture and the Joint Committee on Higher Education.
Additionally, Downing serves as the Senate chair of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus; the Senate vice-chair of the Caucus on Regional Transit Authorities and is an active participant of the Caucus on Regional Schools.
Committee descriptions are available on the General Court’s website (malegislature.gov).