Senator Ross’ Statement on ‘An Act Relative to Divorce’

March 24, 2014

Boston – Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) issued the following statement today regarding Senate Bill 787, An Act relative to divorce:

“I have heard from numerous constituents and residents of the Commonwealth regarding Senate Bill 787, An Act relative to divorce. This was a free petition that I filed at the request of a constituent. I am not the sponsor of this legislation, nor have I ever endorsed or spoken in favor of it.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance defines a ‘free petition’ as: ‘In Massachusetts all citizens have the right to petition the state legislature. This procedure is called the right of free petition. A citizen drafts and files a Petition and accompanying Bill. A legislator sponsors the Bill in the General Court. If a legislator disagrees with the contents of the Bill, he/she may indicate this by placing the phrase “By request” after his/her name.’ (http://www.mass.gov/anf/research-and-tech/legal-and-legislative-resources/ma-legislative-glossary.html)

First and foremost, I believe in the democratic process and true representation of the people. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was built upon these ideals, and serves as a prime example of the legislative process. State government is not reserved solely for those who have been elected. It belongs to every citizen of Massachusetts. For that reason, when a constituent requested that I file a free petition on his behalf, I did so. While the proposal is not one that I support, I do support his right to participate in state government. This petition is now in the hands of my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the democratic process will allow for it to be considered and voted on by the Legislature.

Moreover, I am sorely disappointed in the careless nature with which this situation has been inaccurately reported on by the national and local media. Rather than investigate the true nature of this proposal and accurately report on the legislative process, many outlets have chosen to take a more sensational approach. Many stories have portrayed me as a primary backer and supporter of this proposal, neglecting to inform their audiences that this bill was filed based on the right of free petition without my personal endorsement.”

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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