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Tiny Massachusetts Senate GOP caucus forced to load up on assignments

A pair of Republican state senators will each serve on at least 18 committees this session, and the entire three-man minority caucus will be members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Beacon Hill committees now have their full membership lists, after Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr filed his assignments with the Senate clerk on Monday afternoon.

Tarr, a Gloucester Republican, has served in the state Senate since 1995 and first became minority leader in 2011. Since the start of last session in January 2019, the caucus he helms dwindled from six to three as Democrats picked up seats in special and general elections and expanded their supermajority to 37 out of 40.

Tarr will serve on 13 Senate and joint committees this year. Sens. Ryan Fattman of Sutton will hold 18 committee posts and Sen. Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth will hold 19.

Tarr has also assigned O’Connor and Fattman the rank of assistant leader. Senate rules limit that branch’s lawmakers to no more than two stipends for serving as members of Democratic or Republican leadership, chairs, vice-chairs or ranking members.

This year’s rules expanded the Senate Redistricting Committee’s membership to add one more Democrat and Republican, and Tarr and Fattman will both serve on that panel. O’Connor is the ranking minority member on the Ways and Means and Ethics Committees, and Fattman the ranking member on the Rules, Bonding, and Post Audit and Oversight Committees.

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