“It’s about fairness. It’s about how do you want to participate in this city that you get city services from: police, fire, public works. I think you should share in those costs.”
So spoke Boston’s late former mayor, Thomas Menino, back in 2010, when talking about nonprofit universities and hospitals—”eds and meds” in popular parlance—and their community responsibilities.
House Bill 3080 (Senate Bill 1874) authored by Erika Uyterhoeven of Somerville and cosponsored by 19 fellow state legislators, would finally realize Menino’s vision and empower cities to set common rates. Under the legislation, cities could require payments of up to 25 percent of commercial property tax rates for nonprofits with over $15 million in property and could include provisions for in-kind community benefit contributions in lieu of cash."
"EFFORTS TO REPLACE the MBTA’s entire Green Line trolley fleet, a statewide move toward electric vehicle adoption, and projects to make infrastructure more resilient in the face of climate change impacts would all get a boost under a $9.7 billion bond bill Gov. Charlie Baker outlined on Thursday.Nearly two months after he first hinted at plans to file a new transportation bond bill, Baker offered an initial glimpse at a proposal the head of the MBTA expects will play a “catalytic role” to maximize money headed to Massachusetts under a new federal infrastructure law.Once filed, the legislation will kick off debate over years of investments in the state’s pothole-dotted roads and bridges, aging public transit, and infrastructure ill-equipped to withstand the brunt of climate change."
"WE OFTEN THINK of floods, hurricanes, snowstorms and the like as threats to our normal way of life, but the COVID pandemic has shown us a unique threat that affects everyone in a very different way — isolation and inability to gather together. What brought many of us through the last few years was the availability of nearby open spaces for outdoor passive recreation. As much as we need to plan for 100-year floods, we also need to plan for 100-year pandemics. Enter the Public Lands Preservation Act.Massachusetts has a wonderful collection of State Parks with a huge variety of sites and activities along with Mass Audubon, The Trustees, The Trust for Public Land, and many local and regional private land trusts. Most of the publicly owned open spaces are nominally protected in perpetuity under Article 97 of the Commonwealth Constitution. However, the protection can be removed by a two-thirds vote of each branch of the Legislature. Forty to fifty laws are enacted every legislative session removing protection from parcels protected “in perpetuity.” How can we prevent this erosion of public land? Enter the Public Lands Preservation Act."
"THE DARKNESS OF the pandemic brought a surprise element of transparency to government, and a range of groups, including those representing individuals with disabilities, this week are calling on the Governor’s Council to resume online streaming of meetings where elected officials vet judicial candidates.“In the case of government entities based in Boston, like the Governor’s Council, live streaming enables people to tune in from every corner of the state; discontinuing remote access is devastating for regional equity,” eight groups wrote in a letter Thursday that was sent to the eight-member council and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who chairs council meetings where Gov. Charlie Baker’s judicial nominees are considered. “Remote access is the latest instance of universal design — alongside curb cuts, elevators, closed captioning, audiobooks, and other features — that began as accommodations and expanded to universal popularity. Like these innovations and others emerging during the pandemic, remote access to public meetings should become a permanent feature.”
|MA issues recap - pilot payments, infrastructure funding, land preservation, and remote meeting access|