On July 30th, the Massachusetts House and Senate voted to change their rules to allow the Legislature to continue meeting for the rest of the year in formal sessions.
For the last 25 years, major legislative work would be completed by July 31st, when formal sessions of the House and Senate would end. Following August 1, the Legislature would traditionally meet in only informal session, with few members present. During an informal session, legislation must pass with unanimous consent as any one legislator can stop a bill. This effectively prevents any controversial bill from being taken up during an informal.
With the rule change, the Legislature can now hold formal sessions for the rest of 2020 and until a new Legislature is sworn in on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021. This will allow the Legislature to continue the conference committee negotiations on major legislation like the Economic Development bill including the housing reforms. It will also allow the House and Senate to complete a state budget this fall for the remainder of FY2021.