”We’re punting taking action that residents and citizens of Massachusetts are relying on us to take as legislators, that we’re not taking in the moment."Gouveia on PUNT Act
On Beacon Hill, there are countless of ways to delay action on controversial topics lawmakers would prefer to avoid. One of the most popular: Appoint a commission.
It’s simple, really. Round up a group of legislators, recruit recognized experts and then instruct them to report back with their findings. Sometimes those panels result in groundbreaking new public policy: “Romney Care,” the popular name for state’s health care system, was an historic example. But other times, nothing happens. And that is, well, as intended.
Now comes Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton, who also is running for Lt. Gov. Gouveia wants to bring a sense of accountability to the State House by curbing the use — or abuse — of commissions as a delay tactic to dodge tough issues.
“The Legislature does punt taking action on some controversial issues or things that they don’t necessarily want to take up in the moment, down the line, by creating commissions,” Gouveia told GBH News.
That’s why Gouveia filed the not-so-subtly named “act relative to the purpose, utility, nature, and timeliness of commissions in the Commonwealth.” The PUNT Act.
“We’re punting taking action that residents and citizens of Massachusetts are relying on us to take as legislators, that we’re not taking in the moment,” Gouveia said.