MMA’s agenda


MMA

This from the Massachusetts Municipal Association this week with its agenda items:

January 30, 2017
MMA FILES LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO BE CO-SPONSORS

The Deadline for Signing is Friday, February 3, at 5 p.m.

The MMA has filed 19 local government bills approved by the Board of Directors for consideration by the Legislature in the new 2017-2018 legislative session.

The bills have been filed by lead sponsors in the House and Senate and now are available to be signed by legislators wishing to be co-sponsors. Co-sponsors are important. Please ask your legislators to sign on to these municipal bills. House and Senate members can sign on and co- sponsor bills that have been filed in either branch. The deadline is Friday, February 3, at 5 p.m. If your legislators are lead sponsors, please tell them thank you.

Many of the MMA’s proposals are continued priorities from previous sessions, and eight are new measures, including legislation to provide cities and towns with new local-option tax options, and a bill to increase municipal authority over utility companies’ use of city and town roadways. Among the refiled petitions are bills that would reform parts of Civil Service, allow cities and towns to set the number of local liquor licenses in their communities, and provide marketing assistance for local economic development campaigns.

Below is a list of the MMA legislative package with brief description of each, and the House and Senate docket numbers along with the names of the lead sponsors. A more detailed description of each bill is on the MMA website at the following link: http://www.mma.org/advocacy/mma-legislative-package. These measures are stand-alone proposals; the MMA’s entire legislative agenda is much broader, and includes dozens of priorities in the annual state budget bill, and work with the Legislature to support or oppose hundreds of other bills during the session.

Please note that each bill listed below has a temporary docket number that will be changed to a more formal bill number when referred to a legislative committee over the next few weeks.

Local-option excise on alcohol for substance abuse prevention and public health programs
Senate docket 484, Senator Cynthia Creem
This bill would allow cities and towns, upon local vote, to adopt a tax of up to 2 percent on the retail sale of alcoholic beverages, including sales in bars, restaurants, package stores and other non-pouring establishments. The revenue would be dedicated to help pay for local substance abuse and other public health programs.

Payments in lieu of taxation
House docket 1362, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would allow cities and towns, upon local vote, to require certain tax-exempt charitable organizations to make payments in lieu of taxation to host cities and towns equal to 25 percent of what they would pay if the property were not exempt. The bill would require cities and towns to adopt bylaws or ordinances to provide for agreements between the municipality and organizations that may provide for exemptions from payment, consideration of community benefits as payment, and administration of payments.

Local-option fuel excise for transportation and stormwater infrastructure programs
House docket 1109, Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli
This bill would allow cities and towns to adopt a local-option tax on the sale of gasoline and diesel fuel of up to 5 cents per gallon that would be collected in the same manner as the state excise. The revenue would be dedicated to help pay for local transportation programs (infrastructure and services) and stormwater programs.

Local-option meals tax
Senate docket 586, Senator Jason Lewis
The MMA bill would increase the maximum local-option sales tax on meals from 0.75 percent to 1.5 percent.

Identifying financial impacts of proposed environmental regulations
House docket 1384, Rep. Jeffrey Roy
Senate docket 49, Senator Michael Moore
This bill would establish a mechanism for identifying and describing the costs, benefits and financial impacts of proposed environmental rules and regulations before they take effect.

Sustainable water resource funds
House docket 2403, Rep. Carolyn Dykema
Senate docket 393, Senator Jamie Eldridge
This bill would clarify and strengthen the authority of cities and towns to establish water, stormwater, and wastewater utility fees in order to protect municipal public health and meet federal Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act requirements and other state and federal environmental requirements.

Minimum reliability contributions from net metering recipients
Senate docket 1334, Senator Anne Gobi
This bill would exempt municipalities that receive renewable energy net metering credits, low- income and community solar ratepayers from any monthly minimum reliability contribution.

Municipal control of liquor licenses
House docket 561, Rep. Denise Provost
Senate docket 354, Senator Jamie Eldridge
This bill would give the municipal legislative body the authority to set the number of liquor licenses available in the municipality.

Commission to study the administration of veterans’ benefits
House docket 1635, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would create a special commission to study the administration of benefits offered to veterans under Chapter 115 of the General Laws, including which benefits are offered, how they are administered, and the role of local veterans’ service officers.

Marketing prioritized development sites
Senate docket 193, Senator Lewis
This bill would require the Massachusetts Office of Business Development to create and maintain, either independently or through a partnership with an external entity, a statewide searchable database of developable land and vacant sites, with listings submitted at no cost by local officials.

Promoting local economic development
Senate docket 191, Senator Jason Lewis
This bill would create a program to provide funding or other opportunities, such as technical assistance, to municipalities or regions that maximize opportunities for economic development planning and growth by meeting a series of criteria.

Local impacts of enacted legislation
House docket 154, Rep. James Cantwell
Senate docket 336, Senator Anne Gobi
This bill would require the Executive Office, upon signing legislation, to attach a fiscal note specifying the local impacts of the legislation.

Retiree Benefits Trust Fund
House docket 2249, Rep. Alice Peisch
This bill would add two seats to the State Retiree Benefits Trust Fund Board, one municipal seat and one “schools” seat. This proposal would ensure the municipal and regional school district perspectives are recognized on the SRBTF Board.

Civil service reform
House docket 1364, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would allow cities and towns to exit Civil Service at local option without approval by the Legislature. The bill would require the city or town to provide documentation that outlines the local policy or policies that would replace the Civil Service statute.

Municipal unemployment insurance reforms
Senate docket 271, Senator Cynthia Creem
This bill would extend “reasonable assurance” to employees who work on behalf of the school system but are paid through the municipal budget. This would ensure that employees couldn’t collect unemployment insurance benefits when school is not in session. This bill would also address the issue of retirees collecting both unemployment benefits and a pension from the same public or private employer, by reducing unemployment benefits by an amount equal to 65 percent of the employee’s weekly pension.

Structure of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board
House docket 336, Rep. Aaron Vega
This bill would modify the membership of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board to require that the three members include a management representative, a labor representative, and a neutral party.

Municipal authority in public rights of way
House docket 2265, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would give municipalities increased authority over utilities that operate in the public right of way. The bill would specify that, if utilities delay in relocating poles and wires, municipalities have the authority to move poles and wires, and may charge utilities for non-performance. It would give municipalities the authority to adopt bylaws and ordinances related to imposing fees and fines, assessing taxes, and licensing and permitting of utility companies that operate in the public right of way.

Municipal purchase of utility poles
House docket 2279, Rep. Stephen Kulik
This bill would give municipalities and public utilities the right to purchase utility poles from investor-owned utilities at a price that takes into account depreciation in value of the utility poles.

Seat belts on school buses
House docket 1973, Rep. Joseph McGonagle
This bill would require that all school buses in the Commonwealth be equipped with seat belts within five years.

PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO BE CO-SPONSORS

Thank You!

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