by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE Chief of External Affairs
The Massachusetts Legislature’s formal session for the 2021-2022 legislature ended early in the morning of August 1, 2022 (technically with clock stopped at a little before midnight on July 31, 2022.
Here is the status of bills of interest to MALSCE members sent to the Governor at the end of the session.
- Dig Safe Language passed in Infrastructure Bond Bill: Our Dig Safe language was included in the bill that the legislature sent to the Governor at the end of the session. Now Chapter 176 of the acts of 2022
MBTA electrification and safety reporting requirements feature as the most prominent parts of this infrastructure bond bill Gov. Charlie Baker wants to change with an amendment he returned to the Legislature. Baker approved all the bond authorizations in the nearly $11.4B bill (H 5151) he signed on 8/10/22, including $400M for immediate safety improvements at the T and $275M as a down payment toward a western Massachusetts passenger rail expansion, and several of the outside sections packed into the major legislation. This infrastructure bond bill is important for the state to allocate the state match for the federal IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) as well as to have additional funding to apply for some competitive federal infrastructure grants.
- Energy & Climate signed on 8/11/22 Gov. Charlie Baker has signed the compromise offshore wind and climate bill that lawmakers sent back to him July 31 after having addressed some of his initial concerns with it. This is now Chapter 179 of the Acts of 2022
The new law seeks to reshape the way the state connects to offshore wind power, accelerate a transition to renewable energy sources and help Massachusetts achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2050 -- all general goals that Baker and his administration have long supported. However, the governor expressed concerns with the original bill the House and Senate sent him, and he returned it in late July with amendments, including a call to put $750M in American Rescue Plan Act dollars toward clean energy uses. While the Legislature did not adopt all of Baker's suggestions when they reworked the bill in the final hours of formal lawmaking sessions, legislators did go along with some of the governor's suggestions like the outright elimination of the offshore wind price cap.
Massachusetts lawmakers, along with Baker and his administration, have committed the Bay State to reducing carbon emissions by at least 33 percent by 2025, at least 50 percent by 2030, at least 75 percent by 2040 and at least 85 percent by 2050, with tag-along policies required to get the state to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. Getting electricity from renewable sources and switching things that run on fossil fuels to use that cleaner electricity is the state's primary strategy for meeting those requirements.
The housing crisis has been a central part of Governor Baker's thinking around climate legislation since at least late 2020, when he vetoed an earlier version of what in early 2021 became the state's climate roadmap law because it would have allowed municipalities to require new construction to be "net-zero" through updated building codes. A provision of this new law empowers 10 municipalities -- Acton, Aquinnah, Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton, and West Tisbury -- to limit or ban the use of fossil fuels in new construction as part of a so-called demonstration project.
We are tracking issues related reporting for design professionals to Workforce Participation Goal Requirements under M.G.L. c. 149, § 44A(2)(G), which states that all contracts by a state agency or state-assisted contracts for design, construction, reconstruction, installation, demolition, maintenance, or repair must contain workforce participation goals for minorities and women.
Let Abbie Goodman know if you are seeing language related to this reporting in your contracts.
7.20.4. Minority and Women Workforce Participation and Reporting. If the Awarding Authority is a state agency then pursuant to M.G.L. c. 7C, s. 6 and M.G.L. c. 149, s. 44A(1)(G) the Designer shall make every effort with a goal of increasing opportunities for minority and women design professionals to provide services under this contract. The Designer shall provide monthly reports of the gender and race/ethnicity of employees engaged in work under this contract in the form and format required by DCAMM, including, but not limited to electronic reporting.
Next Board of Registration meeting: August 25, 2022, on Teams, though this might change. The Board of Registration plans to continue virtual meetings for now, as the Governor and Legislature have extended the law allowing virtual public meetings like this to continue through March 31, 2023. To connect to the meeting, go to this page and scroll down to the meeting listing to download the agenda with connection instructions.
July 28, 2022, Meeting Summary: these are not minutes, but a summary of what I heard.
Chair Paul Tyrell opened the meeting at 9:05AM
Review / Approve Minutes:
Reference docs added by Abbie:
Press Release: https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-executive-order-to-protect-access-to-reproductive-health-care-services#:~:text=The%20order%20prohibits%20any%20Executive,that%20are%20legal%20in%20Massachusetts.
New applicants for licensure will have to provide information on several items but tabled for now
If you answer incorrectly triggers an attestation review. The board tabled this discussion until their next meeting
Board Counsel Legal Report from Jenna Hentoff:
Executive Director Report:
Eric Funk for Jason Wentworth: No updates yet
A couple of individuals notified the board that they were subject to pending discipline in other states, but they are not showing up yet in NCEES Enforcement Exchange. No other matters related to MA licensees are in the NCEES Enforcement Exchange this month.
(Deficient seismic design in Olive Branch, Mississippi:fine of $11K and license on probation for 2 years, required to take a particular ASCE seismic design course within 2 years.)
Board is not pursuing additional discipline.
Review of Applications:
Example: tech degree without 8 years experience, did not have references, other examples
Board Counsel recommended to proceed; Board motion to proceed with application.
Board will review documentation supplied for examination. Board would like to interview the candidate in Executive Session.
Board noted some municipalities can require wet signatures only. Nothing stopping someone from scanning. To be authentic, needs to be digitally signed or original wet signature
Board member Dan Caron offered to share a video about globo sign technology
Adjourn at 10:15 am to go into closed investigative session.
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- The public meeting ended at 10:30 AM
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