Massachusetts Legislative Branch

In Massachusetts, the legislature or lawmaking branch is called The General Court. The Massachusetts legislature, formed in 1713, is the second oldest democratic deliberative body in the world. It has been making laws since the creation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter. The British Parliament is older.

The Massachusetts legislature has two houses: the Senate with 40 members and the House of Representatives with 160 members. It meets year-round in a legislative session lasting two years.  Both Senators and Representatives are elected by districts for two-year terms.  The Senate is led by the President of the Senate and the House by the Speaker of the House, both elected by the members of those houses.

Information on pending legislation and contact information for individual Senators and Representatives is available on the legislature’s website.  You can also find the names of your Senator and Representative there.

What does the Massachusetts legislature do?

  • Discusses and votes on proposed laws
  • Approves the state budget
  • Establishes the courts
  • Has some oversight over state agencies
  • Can override the governor’s veto with a two-thirds vote
  •  Legislators also perform services for their constituents and work with cities and towns within their districts

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