DiZoglio Scuttles Action on State Budget, Demonstrating Growing Rift with Senate Leadership

Sen. Diana DiZoglio. (Courtesy photograph.)

Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen, who has emerged as a frequent critic of the chamber’s leadership, temporarily scuttled a budget action with her objection Thursday.

Meeting without a quorum, Senate Democrats were unable to push through the order setting an amendment deadline for the upcoming Senate budget debate. DiZoglio objected to suspending rules to take up the budget order filed by Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues. The order would set an amendment deadline of Friday, May 14, at 2 p.m., and tee up the spending bill for debate starting Tuesday, May 25. The budget is marked for release next Tuesday, May 11, but DiZoglio said it should be pushed back to 5 p.m. on Friday.

“I feel very strongly that the Senate members should have an opportunity to review this, and I also feel very strongly that 5 o’clock was not that difficult of a request to fulfill, giving us a few additional hours,” DiZoglio said, citing the busy schedules that senators have, especially during the pandemic.

The order will now be taken up during a Friday afternoon formal session, when the Senate is also slated to take up an order advancing the start of a new Constitutional Convention next week.

Sen. Will Brownsberger said the order was “the same as it was two years ago, and in prior years.” The Senate on Friday will also consider an order filed by Brownsberger scheduling the start of the new Constitutional Convention for next Wednesday, May 12, at 1 p.m. The order specifies that lawmakers’ remote participation and voting procedures will be governed by their own branch’s COVID-19 emergency rules.

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