BOSTON (CBS/AP) – A legislative panel will hear from the public Thursday as it weighs a string of proposed state constitutional amendments.
Several of the proposals cover the judiciary — including one setting term limits for judges, another eliminating lifetime tenure for judges and a third eliminating the Governor’s Council that signs off on judicial nominations.
State Senator Brian A. Joyce said the council has “outserved its purpose.”
“There’s simply no need for it,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Thursday.
“The Governor’s Council is a relic of a bygone era. It was formed in 1628 to serve as a check on the royal governor’s powers.”
Joyce talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Jon Maclean
Joyce said the new bill would shift the council’s few remaining duties to other branches of state government.
“For example, the senate would approve judges. It’s the way it’s done in 48 other states and the federal government.”
Councilor member Charles Cipollini of Fall River said getting rid of the council would be a “disservice to the people of the Commonwealth.”
“Where would they (the state senate) have time to accommodate this into their schedule? They don’t meet in the summer. Who’s going to do it in the summer?” he told WBZ.
Cipollini talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Jon Maclean
Cipollini said the council is busy with meetings, public hearings, research, meeting constituents, and answering letters.
“What do they do (the senate), other than spend our money, in the senate and put us into deficit?”
Joyce claims the Governor’s Council is simply a waste of money now.
“We looked at the council for a 4-year persiod. During that 4-year period they met less than once a week, met about, on average, about 40 times a year, for an average of 5.2. minutes,” he said.
“That 5 minute meeting,” Joyce explained, “costs the taxpayers in excess of $500,000. it’s simply unnecessary and I think we owe it to the people to abolish this.”