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State Auditor Diana DiZoglio has launched an audit of the Legislature where she previously served in both braches.
“As I committed, my office has begun an audit of the state Legislature,” DiZoglio said in a statement Tuesday. “We hope this will increase transparency, accountability and equity in an area of state government that has been completely ignored. Historically, the Legislature has been a closed-door operation, where committee votes have been hidden from the general public, and legislation has been voted on in the dark of night.”
DiZoglio ran on a campaign of encouraging transparency, after earning a reputation as an independent voice who was not afraid to stand up against leadership in her three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate.
“Taxpayers deserve more -- they deserve the opportunity to weigh in on legislative, budgetary and regulatory matters that are important to them. Everyone should have equitable and transparent access to and information about all state-funded agencies, including the Legislature. Unfortunately, the Legislature has not been audited since 1922, while Massachusetts ranks as one of the least transparent and least accessible state governments in the nation,” her statement on the audit says.
The Legislature is exempt from public records law and has come under criticism for keeping committee vote tallies private. Most committees do not publicly share a breakdown of how lawmakers vote on bills, and the House and Senate do not take recorded votes even on most of the bills that make their calendars.
In the fiscal 2023 budget, about $46.9 million is going to the House of Representatives, $29 million is earmarked for the Senate, and $10.9 million is spent on joint operations. Gov. Maura Healey proposed an about $1 million increase across the board for the Legislature in her fiscal year 2024 budget recommendation.
“It is my hope that the Legislature welcomes the opportunity for an audit to uncover where we can, and must, do better as a state government. Our office looks forward to working with them,” DiZoglio said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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