Massachusetts House votes to extend legislative session

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts House on Wednesday made the rare move of passing an order to suspend the Legislature’s own rules and extend the legislative session scheduled to end Friday through January.

The move was made as several major bills are still being debated, including police accountability legislation, and a transportation bond bill.

“No one can predict what might happen over the next five weeks, much less the next five months,” Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “While we are cautiously optimistic that we will maintain the gains we have made here in the Commonwealth since the spring, we must remain prepared to address critical issues related to the health, safety and economic well-being of the Commonwealth when and if they arise over the next five months.”

The order needs the approval of both chambers, and Senate President Karen Spilka expressed support.

“The Senate is pleased that the House has agreed with us to extend the session to complete vital legislation and stand ready to act as required by the COVID-19 crisis,” the Democrat said in a statement. She did not say when the chamber would take up the issue.

Spilka said she still wants to see the police reform bill passed by the end of the week.

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