During the 2013-2014 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to help our cities and towns and promote regionalization:
This bill takes language from the Governor’s Municipal Relief Act of 2008 to allow the local legislative body of a city or town to determine the number of liquor licenses allowed within their municipality. Over time home rule petitions in the Legislature such as liquor licenses are common and pass without controversy. This bill will allow the municipality to make a local decision on the number of liquor licenses they would like to allow and removes the arcane quota system imposed by current state law.
Local municipal boards, including conservation commissions, are vested with the authority to administer a variety of important land use and other bylaws, ordinances and regulations, and need adequate enforcement tools. The current tools are lacking. For example, when faced with a violator who refuses to pay a “non-criminal disposition” fine, a municipality’s only recourse is to pursue a criminal complaint in district court, which costs the town in legal fees. The payment of those fees is in effect, optional, leading to willful violations of local laws. For example, when someone fails to comply with an enforcement order under a town’s wetlands bylaw (that requires them to cease and desist or restore damage to wetlands resources) then a non-criminal disposition fine would be issued, but rarely collected. This bill will give the district court judge specific guidance on calculating a penalty. This bill does not grant municipalities the right to impose penalties unilaterally but they do retain the right under other, existing statutes to impose non-criminal fines. Judges gain the right to enforce payment and dispose injunctive relief.
An Act to promote municipal collaboration and regionalization throughout the Commonwealth
This bill promotes existing regional opportunities while creating new regional solutions to help make municipal government more efficient at a time when many communities are strained financially. Specifically, it will:
- Leverage existing state funding to promote regionalization by directing all executive branch agencies to evaluate grant, loan and technical assistance programs for opportunities to promote regional cooperation, and directing the Chairman of the Municipal Affairs Coordinating Cabinet to evaluate departmental programs and make recommendations on opportunities to increase collaboration between municipalities.
- Update various sections of the Massachusetts General Laws to make it easier for municipalities to create districts for the purposes of jointly providing municipal services, such as public health and veterans’ services.
- Enact a Joint Powers Act to allow two or more municipalities or districts to contract with each other to create an entity that will jointly exercise certain powers and duties within a designated region. This bill was passed by the House in the 2011-2012 legislative session.
An Act authorizing the voter directed classification of certain pollution abatement or remediation funds received by and for the use of any town or water supply district into a trust fund
This bill establishes a process for municipalities and/or water districts to create trust funds for any pollution settlement claims that may accrue to them.
An Act relative to tax exempt property
This bill will grant municipalities the right of first refusal to purchase a tax exempt property which is being sold to a taxable entity.