by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE Chief of External Affairs
MALSCE, ACEC/MA, and UCANE are working to have the Dig-Safe billed (version that was in House Committee on Ways & Means at the end of 2018) refiled in both the House and Senate for this legislative session. The Bill filing deadline is 1/18/19. Several thousand bills will be filed by close of business on January 18, 2019. Other bills can be filed later, but other than bills filed by the Governor, such as the budget, most bills are filed by this deadline for the new legislative session.
On January 2, 2019, the 2019-2020 Session of the Massachusetts legislature began with these steps:
On Monday, December 31, 2018, the Senate passed An Act ensuring the safety and soundness of the commonwealth’s natural gas infrastructure, previously passed by the House, and Governor Baker signed it into law as Chapter 339 of the Acts of 2018..
This new law includes an emergency preamble and takes effect immediately.
State Budget Writers Agree on 2.7% Growth in State Tax Revenues: On December 31, 2018, state budget writers agreed to build their fiscal year 2020 budget plans on the assumption that state tax revenues will grow by 2.7% over FY2019, the current fiscal year. Governor Charlie Baker's budget chief and the leaders of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees detailed a finalized accord on how much tax revenue the state expects to collect in fiscal year 2020, which begins on July 1. 2019, Budget watchers also upgraded their expectations for tax revenue in FY2019, upping the projected total revenue by $200M, to $28.529B. The estimate of $29.299B in tax revenues for FY2020 amounts to $770M more in revenue than the updated projection for FY2019. The projected growth rate will serve as the basis for Governor Baker's budget, which will by issued on January 23, starting the FY2020 budget process that will continue this spring and summer in the House and Senate.
Legislature Passes Short-term Rental Bill; Includes Water Protection Fund for Cape & Islands; Governor Signs It Into Law on 12/28/18: The new law is Chapter 337 of the Acts of 2018. This includes a 2.75% excise for the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund.
State Plans Rule-making for New Clean Peak Energy Standard: On December 31, 2018, state energy officials announced that zero megawatt hours are being served by clean peak resources during peak load hours in Massachusetts, and outlined plans for a rule-making process to set the parameters of a new Clean Peak Energy Standard. To establish a baseline and facilitate new clean peak certificates in the new year, an energy law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in August required the Department of Energy Resources, by Dec. 31, 2018, to determine the current percentage of kilowatt-hour sales to end-use customers from existing clean peak resources during peak load hours. The department also established the minimum standard percentage requirement for retail electricity suppliers in the 2019 compliance year at 0%. However, any clean peak resources with a commercial operation date on or after Jan. 1, 2019 that meets clean peak regulatory standards may be permitted to generate clean peak certificates that can be purchased in compliance year 2019 by retail electricity suppliers for use towards compliance requirements in 2020 or 2021, The department plans an informal stakeholder process to design the Clean Peak Energy Standard, with some early draft proposals preceding the filing of a draft regulation
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The Commission on the Future of Transportation was established almost a year ago by Governor Baker’s Executive Order No. 579.
The Commission developed 18 recommendations to guide Commonwealth transportation policy “so that Massachusetts can benefit from coming changes – including in demographics, technology, and mobility preferences – and build a future for all of us that is healthy, sustainable, and prosperous.”
Link to report of the Commission – Choices for Stewardship: Recommendations to Meet the Transportation Future: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/commission-on-the-future-of-transportation. A second volume containing extensive background materials, supporting data, and valuable sources of information accompanies the report.
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Transportation and Climate Initiative aims to complete design process before end of 2019.
On 12/18, a coalition of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, including Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia announced their intent to design a new regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels, and invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure.
Link to more: http://bit.ly/CapGG-Transpo
Abbie Goodman attended the December meeting of the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors and briefed Board members about the natural gas bill (see above).
The next Board of Registration meeting will be on January 24, 2019. Issues will probably include:
As a reminder, these are additional steps on continuing professional competency regulations:
Gubernatorial appointment requests:
Additional resource links:
250 CMR –version as finalized through the Secretary of State’s office as of 2-10-2017
Scroll down to separate sections of 259 CMR
Professional Engineers, Professional Land Surveyors, Registered Architects and other Design Professionals living in and licensed in Massachusetts are sought after to serve on certain public boards and commissions created under state law or by regulations. This is an opportunity to participate directly in government, by providing your professional expertise to help shape public policy for the benefit of residents. For more on serving and how to apply, see this link: https://www.engineers.org/get-involved/public-boards-commissions
--posted by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE External Affairs Chief
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