House passes Home Rule Petition to eliminate mayoral special election

State Rep. Dan Ryan reported from Beacon Hill this week that he has voted and the House has passed the Home Rule Petition that waives any special mayoral election were Mayor Martin Walsh to leave his seat before March 6.

The measure passed the House easily with the support of the entire Boston State Delegation on Monday, and now moves to the Senate where it is being considered. The City Council presented the petition to the Legislature last month in a unanimous vote, though it is now seeming less likely that the mayor will depart before the cut-off date, which is next Friday.

Ryan said it was impressive to see the Boston Delegation on the same page.

“The Boston State House Delegation, without any political rancor, was unanimous in its support for the City of Boston home-rule petition to eliminate the special election to fulfill Mayor Walsh’s unexpired term,” he said. “I congratulate Councilor Lydia Edwards on an efficient and clean process in City Hall and I thank Representative Chynah Tyler, Chair of the Boston Delegation, for pulling us together to usher the bill through the House process and over to the Senate.”
It is also expected to pass the Senate easily and be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, but the matter will be moot if Mayor Walsh leaves after next Friday, March 5.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ryan said he is getting accustomed to his new chairmanship of the House Election Laws Committee. Already, that Committee is being tasked with a tremendous amount of work. At stake, he said, are the modifications to voting that were instituted during COVID-19 in 2020 for the Primary Elections and General Election. They are due to expire this spring, but will probably be temporarily extended, he said. Meanwhile, though, a major bill taking the good and eliminating the bad will be filed soon and will need to be passed before next fall’s Municipal Elections.

Issues to be debated include mail-in voting, absentee voting, precinct/poll consolidation and other such matters that have changed the way voting takes place in the Commonwealth.

“There is a heavy workload of Election Laws bills coming through my Committee in the next several months that will need our attention,” he said. “We need to ensure continued safe, secure and universal ballot access for those who are eligible during the remainder of this pandemic. I thank Speaker Mariano and Chairman Michlewitz for their continued guidance while I begin my journey as Election Laws Chairman.”

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