Association Information

MHA ANNUAL MEETING – May 2nd

The Annual Meeting for the Massachusetts Highway Association will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2019. For Agenda and Registration click here.

HB2317, An act providing fair and equitable line of duty death benefits for public employees.

You may see the Bill information here

Section 100A of Chapter 32 is hereby amended by striking subsection (c) in its entirety and replacing it with the following:

(c) The killed in the line of duty benefit shall be a 1-time payment of $300,000 to the family of a deceased public employee. As used in this section deceased public employee shall mean any public employee working for state or county government, a Massachusetts public higher education institution, a municipality, public school department, or public school district or public authority who, while in the performance of his/her duties and as a result of incident, accident or violence, was killed or sustained injuries which were the direct and proximate cause of his/her death.

Section 100A of Chapter 32 is further amended in subsection (d) by replacing each occurrence of the words “public safety employee” in this subsection with the words “public employee”

Section 16 of Chapter 15A is hereby amended by inserting after the word “corrections officer” the following words: – any public employee working for state or county government, a Massachusetts public higher education institution, a municipality, public school department, or public school district or public authority. 

 

Legislative Update from the Massachusetts Municipal Association 
April 5, 2019

By Ariela Lovett, Legislative Analyst, MMA

The 2019/2020 state legislative session kicked off in January, with several new legislators sworn in and approximately 6,000 bills filed. The MMA is tracking as many as 1,000 of these bills across all of our policy areas and will weigh in with support or opposition through oral and/or written testimony and direct lobbying.

The first hearing of the year, held on March 5th, was for the Governor’s Chapter 90 bond bill (H.69), which calls for a one-year authorization of $200 million for local road and bridge repair. As it has for the past few years, the MMA testified in support of a multi-year bill of at least $300 million per year and indexed to inflation. The MMA’s biennial survey of municipal road and bridge repair needs, last completed in Fall 2018, found that our communities need as much as $685 million to maintain roads and bridges in a state of good repair, though they spend far less because of stark funding limitations.

MHA Board Member, member of the MMA’s Policy Committee on Public Works, Transportation, and Public Utilities, and Franklin DPW Director, Brutus Cantoreggi, also testified as part of the MMA’s panel. Cantoreggi told the Joint Committee on Transportation that increases in construction costs in recent years demand an increase in Chapter 90 funds from the state. He also explained that early authorization of Chapter 90 funds would allow municipalities to begin their construction season on time, rather than having to wait until pricing is more competitive and weather more variable. A multi-year bill allows for better planning at the local level. Both MMA and the MHA also submitted written testimony to the committee. Since the initial hearing on the Chapter 90 bond bill, the committee has not taken action on it. MHA members are encouraged to call their legislators to reiterate and ask for a multi-year Chapter 90 authorization of at least $300 million, and to request prompt action on the bill.

State Senator Adam Hinds included in the FY19 budget a provision calling for the formation of a working group to address the issues surrounding municipally-owned culverts and small bridges, which number as many as 30,000 across the state. Both the MMA and the MHA (represented by Tom Reynolds, Marshfield DPW) are tasked with serving on this working group and representing the interests and experiences of our respective constituencies. The group is evaluating the existing permitting processes, engineering standards, and funding limitations that affect culvert management and replacement, and will make suggestions to the Legislature and Governor’s Administration on improvements across each category. A draft report is due by June, and public comment will be arranged for some time after.

MHA sponsored a workshop at the MMA Annual Meeting in January on state-funded public works grant programs. Lyris Liautaud from MassDOT discussed the Small Bridge and Complete Streets programs, and Juan Vega from the Executive Office on Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) discussed the MassWorks program. Brutus Cantoreggi introduced the panelists and moderated the Q&A. The workshop was well-attended, with several attendees staying after to ask the panelists questions specific to their municipalities. The MHA also sponsored a booth at the Trade Show, which attracted the broader range of conference attendees.

At recent MHA Board meetings, other topics of policy and legislative discussions included a proposed death benefits bill for public works and other public employees, backlogs on National Grid’s and other utilities’ projects in the public right of way, and legislation passed last session which bans the drowning of beavers.

Please contact Ariela Lovett with questions, concerns, or input on any of the above-mentioned topics, at alovett@mma.org or 617-426-7272 ext. 161.

Governor signs workplace safety bill

Reprinted from the April 2018 Issue of The Beacon, with permission from the Massachusetts Municipal Association

March 14, 2018

Federal workplace safety standards will apply to all public sector workers in Massachusetts under a law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on March 9.

The new state law, which takes effect on Feb. 1, 2019, applies standards set in the Occupational Safety and Health Act to all state and local government workers. The law expands the reach of a 2014 law that applied the OSHA rules to certain state employees.

The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards will enforce the law, not OSHA.

The law requires the governor to appoint representatives from local governments and groups, including a representative from the MMA, to a 21-member occupational health and safety advisory board. The board will consult with the DLS to amend current regulations in order to include municipal employees.

The advisory board will also evaluate data on injury and illness, recommend training and implementation of safety and health measures, monitor the effectiveness of safety and health programs, and determine where additional resources are needed.

The MMA had worked with legislators to ensure that municipal management would be included on the board.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act, passed by Congress in 1970, created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and established standards to ensure safe and healthful working conditions by providing enforcement, outreach, training and compliance assistance.

Massachusetts joins 26 states that have statutorily extended OSHA standards to public employees.
Written by MMA Senior Legislative Analyst Lisa C. Adams

Chapter 90 bill is moving through the Legislature

Reprinted from the April 2018 Issue of The Beacon, with permission from the Massachusetts Municipal Association

March 26, 2018

A one-year, $200 million bond bill for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program, filed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Feb. 13, is moving through the legislative process.

The Joint Committee on Transportation reported out the legislation in mid-March, after hearings on the bill (H. 4237) had to be cancelled due to weather.

In a letter to the Transportation Committee, the MMA urged legislators to pass a multi-year, $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill, and to do so “as soon as possible, so that the measure can be signed into law by the April 1 deadline, and cities and towns can begin the construction season on time.”

The MMA presented similar testimony at a March 22 hearing before the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.

The Bonding Committee gave the $200 million bill a favorable report, and the full House was expected to take up the bill in the first week of April. The bill will then be sent to the Senate, which will have to pass it before it goes to the governor’s desk.

The MMA has long supported and advocated for a substantial increase in the Chapter 90 program, which helps cities and towns fund qualifying road and bridge maintenance projects that are key to economic development and quality of life.

Local officials argue that a multi-year Chapter 90 bill would allow communities to plan more effectively at the local level by bringing predictability and certainty regarding funding authorizations and timing. Communities are able to design multi-year projects and implement pavement management plans more effectively when they know what their Chapter 90 authorizations will be in future years.

A statewide survey conducted by the MMA in 2014 shows that cities and towns need at least $639 million per year in order to maintain roads in a state of good repair. Cities and towns are responsible for maintaining 30,000 miles of local roads.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito discussed the filing of the legislation at the Feb. 14 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission, saying that the request would bring the total amount of Chapter 90 funds released by the administration since January 2015 to $900 million.
Written by MMA Legislative Analyst Victoria Sclafani