This today from the MMA on the Municipal Modernization Bill –
February 16, 2016
GOV’S MUNICIPAL MODERNIZATION BILL CONTAINS NECESSARY REFORMS AND IMPORTANT UPDATES FOR CITIES AND TOWNS
Please Call Your Legislators Today and Ask Them to Pass the Municipal Modernization Act Now
Legislative hearings have been completed on the sweeping Municipal Modernization Bill that Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito filed in December. Five different committees heard testimony from scores of local officials and stakeholders during the past five weeks, and the next step will be for the legislation to be reassembled into one strong package for votes in the House and Senate.
Because several of the important reform measures in the Municipal Modernization Act are opposed by special interest groups, your legislators will need to hear from you.
The Governor’s Municipal Modernization Act (H. 3905) features dozens of welcome reforms related to procurement, municipal finance, human resources, economic development and the general administration of local government. The bill was based on a wide range of input from local leaders, and is built around four major actions: 1) updating and repealing obsolete state laws; 2) promoting independence at the local level; 3) streamlining state oversight; and 4) providing municipalities with greater flexibility and day-to-day decision-making powers.
KEY REFORMS IN THE BILL INCLUDE:
- Giving cities and towns control over the number of liquor licenses that can be issued to restaurants and bars in the community;
• Enacting unemployment insurance reforms to prevent school crossing guards, school bus drivers, and others from collecting unemployment payments during school vacations;
• Allowing cities and towns to decide whether to exempt positions from Civil Service;
• Increasing procurement thresholds to eliminate unnecessary red tape and delays for simple purchases;
• Certifying the full and fair value of property values every 5 years, instead of every 3 years;
• Replacing many of the mandatory paid classified ads for zoning and other notices with electronic posting as used in the Open Meeting Law; and
• Giving municipalities the ability to levy fines to enforce the requirement that utilities remove double poles within 90 days.
The bill includes over 200 provisions that would update and reform a wide swath of state laws governing everything from basic municipal finance and administration to allowing cities and towns a first option to purchase tax-exempt property, and was written based on suggestions made by local officials on ways to make running local government more efficient and less costly, and to return “home rule” authority to cities and towns where it makes sense. The bill includes a number of proposals from the MMA’s legislative package.
Information about the municipal modernization bill can be found on the MMA website by clicking here.
ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO PASS ONE STRONG MUNICIPAL MODERNIZATION BILL:
Earlier this year, legislators divided the Municipal Modernization Act into five smaller bills, and sent them to different committees for public hearings.
With public hearings concluded, it is now time to bring the parts back together into a single consolidated bill and make plans for debate and passage in the House and Senate.
With the end of formal legislative sessions only 5½ months away, there is no time to waste. Please call your legislators today and ask them to reassemble the Municipal Modernization Act into one strong bill, and ask them for a commitment to pass the bill early this spring.
When you speak with your legislators, please ask them to talk to the leaders in their branches (the Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Chairs of the House and Senate Ways & Means Committee) and seek a commitment to take up and enact a consolidated bill before the session ends.
The Municipal Modernization Act Will Help Every City and Town
Please Ask Your Legislators to Make the Bill a Top Priority this Session