Jun 25

June 25, 2016 – After a year of intense debate, legislation overhauling the state’s public records law for the first time in over 40 years was signed by Governor Charlie Baker.

The new guidelines set a new time frame for producing public records, make a portion of employee time spent performing records requests exempt from reimbursement, and allow requestors to appeal directly to superior court to compel compliance.

Public entities must be prepared to comply with these new requirements as of January 1, 2017.  MMLA Executive Board member Matthew G. Feher, of Burns & Levinson (Boston), Chair of MMLA’s Legislative Committee, has provided us with a short article explaining the key provisions of the new law.  Click here for the full text of that article.

Jun 11

On June 9th, the Massachusetts Senate passed Senate Bill S.2311, “An Act Promoting Housing and Sustainable Development,” legislation that Senator Dan Wolf refers to as “changing local and state zoning laws to increase housing stock and build communities that will reduce sprawl and eliminate restrictive zoning laws.” Senator Wolf’s press release issued the same day described bills details in anticipation of the bill proceeding to the House of Representatives for further action.

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Jun 05

In a surprise announcement this morning from our Association’s Executive Director Jim Lampke, we learned of the sudden passing of one of municipal law’s most loved members – George E. Lane, Jr., Esq., former Town Solicitor of Weymouth.  Jim Lampke, one of George’s dearest friends, wrote:

Sorry to be the bearer of sad news, but wanted to let you know that our friend and colleague George E. Lane, Jr., Esq., former Town Solicitor of Weymouth, unexpectedly passed away this morning at home.  He was 76 years young.   George was Town Counsel and Town Solicitor of Weymouth for over 24 years.  He was an active member of the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association and a past president of the MMLA.  George was very experienced in the law, particular local government law, and always willing to share his knowledge with us.  He treasured the many friendships he had with us and I know we all loved him and valued our association with him.  George will be missed.  May his memory be a blessing for his family and friends.

Click here for further details and arrangements.  His funeral is scheduled for Thursday, June 9th.  Cards may also be sent to his late residence at “Family of George E. Lane, Jr., 36 Wildcat Lane, Norwell, MA  02061”.

Jun 03

Public Records Bill Signed by Governor

After about a year of intense debate, legislation overhauling the state’s public records law for first time in over 40 years was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker earlier today.  The provisions of the new law take effect on January 1, 2017, and the Secretary of State’s office is expected to release regulations sometime later this year.

Among other things, the new law will impose greater limitations on the timeframes that state agencies and municipalities must comply with to produce public records, exempt time associated with fulfilling the request from reimbursement, allow a requester to appeal directly to Superior Court to compel compliance and expose state agencies and municipalities to monetary penalties.

MMLA is preparing a comprehensive overview of the new law and will post such to this website.

For the full text of the new Public Records Law, click on   H4333 – Public Records Law

May 24

[5.24.16] – After months of public deliberations, a conference committee charged with ironing-out differences between competing House and Senate public records law packages released a compromise bill earlier today that is expected to be voted by the House Wednesday.  The conference committee report reflects several areas pushed by MMLA and included language that requires that a request be made in writing, ensures that time spent by legal counsel assisting with the production of public records is reimbursed, and maintains a level of judicial discretion as it relates to the award of attorneys’ fees and damages.  The bill requires that cities and towns comply with a request or render a response within 10 business days, and provides as many as 55 business days to comply with the law under certain circumstances and if granted by the supervisor of public records.  MMLA will prepare a thorough analysis of the legislation – please visit this website for additional updates and information.

May 07

On  May 19th at The Chateau in Westborough MMLA’s May Monthly Meeting held a program entitled “Community Preservation Act – Adoption, Amendment, Revocation, Implementation”.  Presenters for this program were Patricia Hunt and Kathleen Colleary, both from the DOR and Mark Cerel, Franklin Town Attorney and Medfield Town Counsel.

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Apr 14

SIXTH ANNUAL PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION UPDATE CONFERENCE

 Secrets of a Successful Public Construction Project:
Working with Outside Professionals from Design through Project Close-Out

 Thursday, April 28, 2016 3:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m, at CBS Scene, Patriot Place, Foxboro, MA

Come join us for a lively and entertaining discussion and demonstration of the roles played by various professionals in the evolution of a typical public construction project, including discussion regarding pre-qualification, contract negotiations, bid protests, contract administration, construction delay, mediation strategies and best practices.  Our presenters include the following well-respected and experienced professionals in the construction industry: Christopher Petrini, Esq., Petrini & Associates, P.C. , Program Moderator; Deborah Anderson, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Bid Protest Unit; Christopher Brown, Esq., Petrini & Associates, P.C.; Roy Cooper, P.E., Vice President, ARCADIS; Neil Joyce, Principal, Construction Monitoring Services, Inc.; Peter Mello, Esq., Petrini & Associates, P.C.; Alan Miller, self-employed Owner’s Project Manager; James Paolini, Director of Facilities Management, Town of Framingham; James Peloquin, Esq., Partner, Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP.

The program will be followed by dinner and MMLA’s Annual Business Meeting. The registration fee includes the program, related written materials and dinner.  Don’t miss out on this perennially popular program!  Register today!  Program materials will be emailed to registrants prior to the meeting, so be sure to provide your email address when registering.

A dinner buffet will be served. Thus, there is no meal selection. Please be sure to return the enclosed registration form to the MMLA office. Reservations and cancellations may also be made by calling James B. Lampke, Esq., at 781-749-9922, fax 781-749-9923. Please note that if you fail to timely cancel your reservation, you will receive a bill for registering.  For details, see Upcoming Events.

Apr 14

On April 12th, MMLA submitted a letter to the Legislature’s Public Records Law Conference Committee expressing the Association’s views with respect to the House and Senate bills proposing significant amendments to the state public records law which are now being considered by the Committee.  The letter sent by Executive Board Member Matthew G. Feher, Chair of the Association’s Legislative Committee,  introduced a detailed summary of the Association’s position on the provisions of both bills, by stating:

“MMLA strives to strengthen and improve the state’s public records law (“PRL”) in a balanced and easily understandable manner.  We are grateful to have had an opportunity to meet with House and Senate leadership over the past several months to discuss meaningful improvements to the PRL that will benefit all participants in the process.  With this goal in mind, we offer the following comments that correspond to the enclosed table that objectively compares the principal differences between the competing bills against current law.”

The letter was submitted as testimony to the conference committee.  MMLA Executive Director Jim Lampke, MMLA Legislative Committee Matthew Feher, and Executive Board Member Kevin Batt testified at the committee hearing.

For the full text of MMLA’s letter, click on this link:  Text of MMLA Letter to Conference Committee

Apr 08

[4-8-16] – MMLA’S Spring 2016 Issue of the Municipal Law Quarterly is now available in the Members Area of this website.  This issue covers a wide range of timely topics for the municipal attorney, including: mediation, and the Seven Deadly Sins;  a report on Thayer v. City Worcester; negotiating for public records reform; negotiating cloud contracts; coming attractions on EPA’s revised municipal storm-water (“MS4”) permit; and much more.

Members are asked to complete the Survey Monkey for the Annual Meeting and Conference.  The link to the survey is:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016MMLA  and it will be available until April 15, 2016.

 

Mar 24

LEG-UP # 16-05 (6.24.16) – MMLA Shared Representation Bill Advances in House – MMLA legislation that would enable cities, towns and other governmental bodies to use shared or joint legal representation in administrative and judicial proceedings of common interest was sent to Third Reading in the House earlier today. The bill, H. 1863 filed by Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville), builds upon recent efforts to improve government cooperation, achieve greater administrative efficiencies and better manage costs.  The use of inter-municipal agreements to share legal representation without any specific state or local  legal authority such is not permitted according to an interpretation by the State Ethics Commission of Section 17 of Chapter 268A of the General Laws.   This bill would provide statewide legal authority to share legal resources if there is no conflict in doing so and if so approved by the governmental body’s chief executive officer after consultation with their legal counsel.

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