The chambers of the House and Senate are where the men and women who represent you meet to make the laws for all the citizens of Massachusetts.

There are forty senators. They are elected every two years. Their leader is the Senate president.

The House of Representatives is much larger—but not as large as it used to be. Today, there are 160 representatives—in 1812, there were 749! Their leader is called the Speaker of the House.

Together, the House and Senate are called the General Court.

Of course, making a law is harder than this. But Massachusetts is a special state. Every person here has what is called the Right to Free Petition. This means that anyone who thinks the state needs a new law can take his or her idea to a state senator or representative and ask them to present it to the legislature. The idea is called a petition or bill. After many discussions and meetings and votes, the bill can become a law.

“In the State House, the Senators and Representatives have their offices, hold meetings, and think about people’s comments, advice, and questions. Then they vote on bills. When the governor signs them, they become the laws we live by. Everyone needs special rules to live by or else we would have many problems now. We should be glad that here we make and choose our own laws.”

Suzanne Harkness
Leominster