by Abbie Goodman, MALSCE Chief of External Affairs
- Unless challenged in court before 10/23, would take effect 10/23/2023
- On September 13, 2023, Gov. Maura Healey filed her budget proposal to close the books on FY2023 -- and address a tax revenue shortfall previously forecast to be tens of millions of dollars later this week.
On September 6, 2023 Attorney General Andrea Campbell certified potential ballot initiatives that could be decided on the 2024 ballot and Constitutional amendments that could be decided in 2026. Of the 42 proposed ballot questions that were submitted, 34 were certified, 7 were not certified, and 1 was withdrawn.
- The certified proposals cover an array of policy areas such as removing the MCAS as a high school graduation requirement, increasing the minimum wage for tipped workers, decriminalizing psychedelic drugs, rent control, classifying app-based drivers, the gas tax, and requiring voter identification.
- During the Attorney General’s review, the decision to certify a petition is strictly based on whether the proposed question complies with the state’s constitutional requirements. Petitions certified by the Attorney General are then filed with the Secretary of State’s Office and may enter the next stage of the initiative petition process. Now, campaigns have until November 22 and December 6 to file 74,574 signatures with local election officials and the Secretary of State’s office, respectively.
- 3 different versions of ballot questions would impact the gas tax in a negative way. This is still the major source of funding for MassDOT and MBTA operations and infrastructure.
Capitalizing on Federal Funding Opportunities
The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation (MTF) recently released a new report, “Capitalizing on Federal Funding Opportunities,” which identifies ways to improve Massachusetts’ competitiveness for federal funds through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act. Funding through these programs could assist Massachusetts with addressing its infrastructure needs as well as meeting its climate and economic development goals.
According to the MTF’s methodology, there is an estimated $17B in potential funding through the IIJA, IRA, and CHIPS Act for Massachusetts. To meet application requirements and be competitively positioned in the selection process for these funding opportunities, the state will need almost $3B in matching funds. MTF’s report calculated at least another $800M is still needed in matching funds after accounting for funds that have already been included in recent bonds bills and through appropriations.
The report goes on to identify approximately $1.1B in state resources to help meet the remaining $800 million match and highlights several capital finance strategies. Importantly, the MTF urges policymakers to consider and implement fiscal principles proposed in the report while securing the federal funds. These include providing officials with flexibility to access the matching funds so the state does not miss out on federal funding opportunities due to procedural delays, pairing one-time revenues with one-time expenditures, prioritizing resources that are uncommitted to existing programs, and using federal funds to fast-track capital projects that could face increased construction and deferred maintenance costs down the line.
Division of Occupational Licensure: Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors
- The next Board of Registration public meeting will be on September 28, 2023. The Board of Registration is planning to hold this meeting in person, with Teams available for Board members, Division of Occupational Licensure, and the public. For meeting details, go to this page two business days before the meeting and scroll down to the meeting listing to download the agenda with either location or connection instructions.
- Highlights of the 8/23/2023 Board of Registration Meeting
- The Division of Occupational Licensure records its boards’ meetings.
- This meeting was held in person at the Division of Occupational Licensure, 1000 Washington St, Boston and on Teams. Due to technical difficulties in the room, in person attendees could not see remote participants on the screen.
- Chair Paul Tyrell called the meeting to order at 9:10 am.
- The board approved the July 27, 2023 Public Session Meeting Minutes: see above.
- JP Exam Conversion to CBT: This is still under discussion with the vendor.
- Board Counsel Legal Report from Patricia LaFore:
- Joint Professional Practice document: Awaiting Action from Division of Professional Licensure's Deputy General Council
- This is most recent draft version: https://files.engineers.org/file/Updated-Draft-AR-EN-Prof-Practice-Guide-January-2023-002.pdf
- This document is under review by Division of Professional Licensure staff before it is issued to the public.
- Eventually, the Board of Registration is eager for ACEC/MA, BSCES, and MALSCE to assist in widely distributing this document to design professionals, state officials and municipal officials statewide.
- Draft Continuing Professional Competency Regulations are now in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance and then would move on to the Secretary of State's office for review.
- Board Executive Director Report: NCEES Enforcement Exchange: Several individuals with Massachusetts licenses appeared on the NCEES Enforcement Exchange list in the past month due to infractions in other states. Individuals are supposed to self-report to all boards in states where they are registered when this happens. Division staff is reviewing to see whether people have done the required self-reporting.