Learn the Legislative Process

Bald eagle adult © David Larson, Mass Audubon
Bald eagle © David Larson, Mass Audubon

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Strong conservation laws and programs are adopted largely as a result of broad public awareness and concern. However, for too many citizens the state legislative and budget processes seem obscure and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.

How a Bill Becomes a Law

In Massachusetts, legislative sessions begin on January 1 and last two years. In total, more than 6,000 bills are filed every session. However, only a handful ever become law because of the State's rigorous, multi-stage legislative process.

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Download our Legislative Primer to help demystify the steps a bill must follow on its way to the Governor's desk.

Legislative Primer 180.37 kB

Massachusetts State Budget Process

Massachusetts fiscal years run from July 1–June 30. Conservation cannot succeed without financial support for implementation and enforcement of existing laws. However, since 2001, environmental programs have been underfunded at less than 1% of the state budget.

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Download our guide to the MA Budget Process to find out how the legislature determines the State's funding priorities each fiscal year.

MA Budget Process 224.07 kB

Grading Legislators On Their Environmental Records

Since 1985, Mass Audubon has reported the environmental voting records of the Massachusetts legislature in order to inform citizens of their state legislators' performance in protecting the nature of Massachusetts. Find out how your local Senator and Representative scored on our Legislative Report Card.

See how your legislators voted on conservation issues >

A legislator's score does not represent an endorsement, or lack thereof, by Mass Audubon.