The MMLA Winter 2015-2016 Municipal Law Quarterly is now available in the Members Area of this website. This issue includes articles covering Administrative Searches; the proposed amendments to the Public Records Law; Counseling the Local Government Regulator in the On-Demand Economy; and other useful information for municipal attorneys. To access this issue, go to the Members Area, and click on the Menu Option for the Municipal Law Quarterly.
[December 7, 2015] – Governor Baker had called for suggestions on modernizing municipal government. Earlier today, the Governor filed his proposed bill. It is titled “An Act to Modernize Municipal Finance and Government.” It was filed with the House Docket #4338. For further details, including the text of the bill and a section by section summary, see LEG-UP # 15-09. (Legislative Updates)
On December 2nd, Sec. Galvin indicated that he would drop efforts to push his public records reform ballot measure citing to uncertainty obtaining the requisite number of signatures and his confidence in legislative action on a statutory overhaul currently pending in the Senate. December 2nd marked the deadline for proponents to submit at least 64,750 certified voter signatures to advance a ballot question. Sec. Galvin filed the petition in early August citing to frustration with the lack of legislative action on a similar measure that languished in House Ways and Means after MMLA and MMA voiced concerns with several aspects of the reform package. As reported previously, the House unanimously passed its version of the bill (H. 3858) last month that reflects certain MMLA comments to the bill – that legislation is currently pending in Senate Ways and Means and the Senate is expected to take action when the legislature returns for formal business in January.
HOUSE PASSES PUBLIC RECORDS BILL
[November 18, 2015] – Earlier today, the House unanimously voted (157-0) to engross the redrafted public records law reform measure released earlier in the day by House Ways and Means. The House-backed legislation reflects the efforts of the MMLA and MMA to improve prior versions particularly in the areas of compliance and enforcement. Only ten amendments were filed to the legislation almost all off of which were either withdrawn or laid aside.
MMLA has issued the following statement on the HWM Public Records Reform Bill (H. 3858):
“The Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association (MMLA) appreciates the thoughtful work of House leadership reflected in the redrafted public records bill released by House Ways and Means and expected to be debated by the full House later today. The bill includes several concepts advanced by MMLA and MMA to provide greater flexibility and balance in order to improve the legislation for the betterment of all participants in the process.”
HOUSE TO DEBATE PUBLIC RECORDS BILL ON WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 18th
[November 17] – Tomorrow, the full House is expected to debate public records reform legislation that has languished in committee since July. House Ways and Means is currently polling members on redrafted legislation that will be released in the morning around 10am. Amendments to the bill are due by 12:30pm. MMLA has worked tirelessly with MMA to improve the legislation over the past several months after succesfully delaying swift passage of the bill. As action unfolds, please visit this page for updates.
[November 17, 2015] – On December 9th, The Public Law Section of the Mass Bar Association will host a mid-day seminar on Initiative Petitions. For details, see: MBA Initiative Petitions
The Association’s next dinner meeting and seminar will be on Thursday, December 3, 2015, 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at The Chateau in Westborough, 95 Turnpike Road (Route 9), Westborough.
The program will on “DO YOU KNOW YOUR ABCCs? UPDATE ON LIQUOR LICENSING ISSUES AND BEST PRACTICES”.
This timely and informative program will address the latest in liquor licensing law and procedure, offering practical tips for you and your local licensing team. Be sure to let your local licensing team know of this program so they can also register for it. Presenters include Christine Pulgini, Esq., City of Boston Licensing Board, and a municipal counsel to be announced.
For program details, see Upcoming Events: Know Your ABCC’s!.
Earlier today [11/9/15], the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight heard testimony in connection with several bills that would make amendments to the state’s Open Meeting Law, including MMLA-backed legislation, H. 2775 filed by House Chairman Peter Kocot (D-Northampton) and others. Among other things, the H. 2775 would allow public bodies to enter into executive session for the purpose of discussing non-labor contracts and licenses, real estate development agreements and matters protected by the common law attorney-client privilege. This bill also allows the use of audio and video to satisfy the requirement for a written record of deliberations and would exempt certain volunteer bodies from the law. The MMLA attended today’s hearing and voiced its support of the legislation. Similar legislation was supported by MMLA last session.