An Act Relative to Extending Certain COVID-19 Measures Adopted During the State of Emergency
On June 16th, the Governor signed into law Ch. 20 of the Acts of 2021, extending certain pandemic-related policy measures including authorizations for remote public meetings, to-go alcohol sales, eviction protections and more. Click here to view the law.
Late last night, the Legislature sent a compromise bill to the governor to extend certain special allowances that were tied to the COVID-19 state of emergency, which had expired nearly 24 hours earlier.
The Senate passed its version of the bill last Thursday, and the House approved its version yesterday afternoon. A six-member conference committee worked out differences between the two bills into the evening.
In the end, the committee decided to leave some items on the table for further discussion in order to fast-track the more time-sensitive provisions, like extending the allowance for public bodies to hold remote meetings, which ended at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.
Here’s the June 2021 issue of The Beacon – packed with the latest news about the American Rescue Plan, the state budget, bills to extend certain pandemic special allowances, the Coronavirus Relief Fund, host community agreements for marijuana businesses, Chapter 90, a mandated sick leave law, succession planning, town meetings and elections, and details about MMA member group virtual meetings and general membership webinars.
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Email today from the Massachusetts Municipal Association –
Abrupt End of State of Emergency on June 15 Will Create Huge Challenges for Cities and Towns
Please Call Your Reps & Senators Today and Ask Them to Fast-Track an Extension of Remote Meetings and Hearings
The State of Emergency Ends at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15. Without Enactment of an Extension BEFORE June 15, the Ability to Hold Public Meetings and Hearings Remotely Will Stop
June 10, 2021
Dear Osler Peterson,
Time is running short! While the Legislature is in the process of developing a broad package of provisions to extend important authority and flexibility put in place during the pandemic, it may take a while for the branches to reach agreement on all the details. The Senate is meeting today to debate S. 2467, which includes a number of very good provisions, yet that will leave lawmakers just a few days to reach final agreement on a complex package.
The abrupt end of the state of emergency at 12:01 a.m. on June 15 will create a number of major transition challenges for government and businesses. Clearly the most immediate and urgent issue that must be addressed is enactment of an extension of the ability to conduct public meetings and hearings remotely. Please call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to fast-track passage of the extension for remote meetings of public bodies before June 15. The other extensions are important, yet do not face the June 15 deadline.
Please share these key points with your legislators:
On March 12, 2020, the Governor used his state-of-emergency powers to issue an executive order suspending certain provisions of Section 20 of MGL Chapter 30A, allowing cities and towns to conduct meetings remotely. This was necessary because the existing state statute is woefully inadequate, does not allow remote participation in meetings unless a physical quorum is present, and reduces the ability of officials who are participating virtually to fully engage. Nearly overnight, cities and towns adopted new technology and software platforms and created a new and remarkably successful remote meeting experience for municipal leaders and the public.
Communities do not want to snap back to the overly confining pre-pandemic rules, and most are not in a position to do so quickly. Remote meetings have engaged more residents than ever before and have significantly increased transparency and insight into government operations and decision-making. Many localities have closed public buildings, repurposed meeting rooms to provide safer distancing for municipal staff or have longer-term ventilation concerns that have yet to be addressed. Further, with many residents yet to be vaccinated, and immunocompromised officials and members of the public unable to achieve full protection from the coronavirus, it is imperative that we continue the remote meeting option for local government for public health purposes.
With scores of councils, boards and commissions in place in each of our 351 cities and towns, there are nearly 10,000 municipal entities that rely on remote meetings and virtual platforms to conduct everyday business in much greater public view than ever before. If June 15 comes without an extension of the ability to continue remote meetings, there will be countless canceled meetings, delayed public hearings and widespread disruption.
MMA is supporting the temporary extensions in S. 2467 and other bills and is urging lawmakers to make these changes permanent, including the option for public bodies to conduct remote or virtual meetings, allowance for remote Town Meetings that is also extended to Open Town Meeting communities, election provisions such as the option to vote by mail and to move municipal election and caucus dates during emergencies, and expedited permitting for outdoor table service and take-out alcoholic beverages.
This is the time to act! Massachusetts can embrace the innovations and lessons learned during the past 15 months, and use them to improve government operations, transparency, and public engagement to ensure a swifter recovery for our communities.
If you or your legislators have questions, please do not hesitate to contact MMA Senior Legislative Analyst Brittney Franklin at firstname.lastname@example.org or MMA Legislative Director John Robertson at email@example.com.
PETERSON | Law Osler “Pete” Peterson 617-969-1500 – Newton June 2021
How to Avoid COVID-19 on Playgrounds
Thanks to national vaccinations, COVID-19 numbers are declining for adults. But vaccines are not currently available to children under 12, meaning they are still vulnerable to the virus. The question then: Is it safe to take your kids to the park? Doctors say “yes,” as long as you follow basic precautions such as:
* Wear masks and practice social distancing. * Bring your own toys and food, and don’t let your kids share these with others. * Wash or sanitize your kids’ hands before and after play. * Find a different playground if the park is especially crowded or come back later. Continue reading.
Don’t Let a Playground Injury Ruin Outdoor Fun This Summer
Ah, playgrounds and summer – the perfect combo for millions of children on school break and bursting to get outside. Not surprisingly, playground injuries spike in June, some serious and most preventable. Don’t let a playground injury ruin outdoor fun for the kids in your life this summer with these tips on equipment, clothing and safe behavior. READ MORE
BY THE NUMBERS
5 to 9
Children ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of emergency room visits among the more than 200,000 kids injured each year on playgrounds. READ MORE
Join the Danger Rangers Before Playtime
The first step to protecting children from playground injury is to talk to them about safety. Here’s a video to watch together before hitting the monkey bars. VIEW VIDEO
This website will help caregivers find playgrounds that are safe and accessible for kids with disabilities or help DIYers build their own! READ MORE
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Posted onJune 4, 2021|Comments Off on Arbor Day celebration yesterday
Select Board Chair Michael Marcucci reads the Arbor Day proclamation yesterday afternoon, while the Brownie Troop that arranged for the two cherry trees to be planted in front of the post office look on and then mulched the trees. The DPW’s Robert Kennedy, Jr. assisted the Brownies with the mulch.
Pam McCarthy and Kate Holmes, the Leaders of Brownie Troop 82076 stated:
“The girls felt special, and so happy to get together (in person, hooray!) as a group to do something meaningful for the town. Those beautiful cherry trees will be there for years to come, and I’m sure each time they drive by, they will fondly remember that those are ‘their trees.’ And we, as their parents, will take pride in thinking the same! What a wonderful way to wrap up the school year for them!”
I started this blog to share the interesting and useful information that I saw while doing my job as a Medfield select board member. I thought that my fellow Medfield residents would also find that information interesting and useful as well. This blog is my effort to assist in creating a system to push the information out from the Town House to residents. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how it can be done better.
For information on my other job as an attorney (personal injury, civil litigation, estate planning and administration, and real estate), please feel free to contact me at 617-969-1500 or Osler.Peterson@OslerPeterson.com.