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Legislative Priorities

MAPC

Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration

The Government Affairs team works to promote smart growth goals at the local, regional, state, and federal levels.

MAPC actively promotes its legislative agenda by working with members of the Legislature on a number of key initiatives. MAPC's priorities come from a variety of policy areas, with a focus on sustainable development initiatives and municipal relief measures to help cities and towns continue to provide quality services with efficiency.

The team works in collaboration with the MAPC Legislative Committee to develop action items and to advocate on behalf of the members of our regional community. The Committee includes municipal leaders from cities and towns in the MAPC region as well as members of advocacy organizations we work with closely.

Questions?

For more information about MAPC's legislative and budget priorities or the MAPC Legislative Committee, contact Government Affairs Director Lizzi Weyant at 617-933-0703 or eweyant@mapc.org.

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Legislative Priorities

Each session, with guidance from the Legislative Committee and Executive Committee, MAPC develops legislative priorities for the Agency. Throughout the session, MAPC takes positions on additional bills with authorization from our Executive Committee. Jump-to each legislative priority on the right.

MAPC is advocating for the passage of the following legislative priorities during the 2021-2022 session. Please contact a Government Affairs staff member for more information and how to get involved.

Legislative Priorities

New Priorities

Legislative Priorities

State Budget

District Local Technical Assistance

District Local Technical Assistance, or “DLTA” funds, are state grants distributed among the state’s 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) – including MAPC -- to provide cities and towns with money and technical staff to work on projects related to regional collaboration, economic development, zoning, and protecting the environment. Past DLTA grants have funded projects in disciplines as diverse as public health, fire safety, emergency dispatch, special education, emergency medical services, and disaster planning.

Year after year, DLTA project requests exceed the available funding from the state. Last year, MAPC received requests for double the amount of funds available. DLTA was funded at just $2.8 million in the last four budgets, beginning in Fiscal 2014. This year, we are requesting that DLTA be funded at $3.4 million to allow the MAPC and other RPAs to continue providing a wide range of services that member municipalities require.

Community Safety Initiative

Senator Charles E. Shannon, Jr. Community Safety Initiative (Shannon Grant)

Since 2006, the Commonwealth has used this grant program to fund regional strategies to combat youth violence, gang violence, and substance abuse. By regional we mean that groups of municipalities work together on anti-violence strategies, and by multi-disciplinary we mean that all departments in law enforcement and prevention work together to achieve a common goal. It is this emphasis on a regional, multi-disciplinary approach that sets Shannon Grants apart from other efforts to fund local law enforcement or prevention programs. From a high of $13 million, the program was reduced to $4.5 million during the recession. After steadily increasing to $8.25 million, the program was only funded at $6 million last year. We are requesting an increase to $10 million in FY2018.

Legislative Priorities

Transportation

Accessible, frequent, and fast public transit gets people to their destinations without contributing to traffic. Connected, well-maintained, and extensive roads, trails, bike lanes, and sidewalks encourage active transportation, health, and recreation. Making our entire transportation system safe, comfortable, and accessible for users of all ages, abilities, income, and travel modes leads to healthier and stronger communities.

HD.2655/SD.815: An Act relative to regional transportation ballot initiatives

Filed by Representatives Andres Vargas and Adrian Madaro, and Senator Eric Lesser

This bill would enable a municipality, or a group of municipalities as a district, to raise local money through a ballot initiative for investment in priority transportation projects, operations, or transit-oriented development.

HD.373/SD.1218: An Act to improve the local infrastructure development program

Filed by Representative Christine Barber & Senator Adam Hinds

This language amends an existing infrastructure investment program that allows property owners to finance public infrastructure improvements with tax-exempt bonds. The program has never been used, and so the new language updates and clarifies the existing program.

HD.1598: An Act relative to transportation value capture

Filed by Representative William Straus

MAPC will continue to work to codify a legislative process of capturing increased value along transportation corridors for transit, roadway, and TOD.

Legislative Priorities

Housing and Zoning

Access to market rate and affordable housing is one of the most pressing topics discussed across our region. If we do not address our present and looming housing crisis, we will lose our economic competitiveness. At the same time, we are eager for cities and towns to achieve a series of modern zoning and permitting tools that can help them plan for the future in a proactive manner and to mitigate the legitimate impacts of growth.

HD.2441/SD.1906: An Act to promoting housing stability and homelessness prevention in Massachusetts

Filed by Representatives Dave Rogers, Mike Day & Senator Sal DiDomenico

This legislation provides low-income tenants in certain eviction cases the right to an attorney who can represent them, a program which has been proven to reduce displacement and unnecessary eviction in cities and states that have it.

HD.1911: An Act empowering cities and towns to support affordable housing with a fee on certain real estate transactions

HD.3764: An Act empowering cities and towns to impose a fee on home sales over one million dollars to support affordable housing

SD.565: An Act empowering cities and towns to impose a fee on certain real estate transactions to support affordable housing

Filed by Representatives Mike Connolly, Dylan Fernandes & Senator Jo Comerford

MAPC supports legislation allowing municipalities the ability to adopt a transfer fee on certain real estate transactions. These bills along with several other local options would allow municipalities to raise revenue from housing transactions and then dedicate those funds towards affordable housing programs.

HD.2984/SD.1672: An Act to guarantee a tenant’s first right of refusal

Filed by Representatives Jay Livingstone, Rob Consalvo & Senator Pat Jehlen

In order to prevent the displacement that occurs when properties are foreclosed or subject to short sale, this bill would give tenants in these properties a right to purchase the property or assign their right to purchase to a non-profit developer.

Legislative Priorities

Climate and Clean Energy

Massachusetts is a leader in clean energy - a win not only for our state's economy but also for our planet - and our cities and towns are at the front lines of that effort. In order to lessen the magnitude and impacts of climate change, we must cut carbon emissions by phasing out fossil fuels, switching to low- or zero-carbon energy sources, and increasing energy efficiency.

HD.1685/SD.675: An Act promoting local energy investment and infrastructure modernization

Filed by Representative Natalie Blais & Senator Joanne Comerford

MAPC supports this proposal to require accountability, transparency and creating a timeline for advanced metering as well as a requirement to use local clean energy resources.

HD.2161/SD.1611: An Act relative to home energy efficiency

Filed by Representative Adrian Madaro & Senator Eric Lesser

This legislation requires energy audits through the MassSave program with no additional fees imposed or collected in connection with the audit and scores on all homes available at the time of listing for sale.

Legislative Priorities

Public Health

MAPC was deeply involved in the development of the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan, which was adopted in December 2015. Looking ahead to this legislative session, we want to support those legislative priorities that will help to facilitate access to healthy foods (particularly for underserved communities) and make other advancements in public health for all of the people of the Commonwealth

HD.1712/SD.1067: An Act relative to accelerating improvements to the local and regional public health system to address disparities in the delivery of public health services

Filed by Representatives Hannah Kane, Denise Garlick and Senator Jo Comerford

This legislation would require DPH (Department of Public Health) to consult with municipalities and stakeholders to establish a uniform set of minimum local public health standards; incentivize cross jurisdictional sharing of public health work; require DPH to create a unified standard of public health DRAFT reporting system, whose data sets would be publicly available online; and dedicate state funding to local boards of health to carry out these initiatives. The current pandemic has highlighted areas of weakness within our public health infrastructure and now is the time to truly invest in these areas.

HD.3399/SD.1093: An Act to promote public health the prevention and wellness trust fund

Filed by Representative Jon Santiago & Senator Jason Lewis

This legislation reinstates the trust fund to reinvest in four critical public health areas: pediatric asthma, hypertension, tobacco use, and falls among older adults.

HD.2939/SD.1179: An Act relative to an agricultural healthy incentives program

Filed by Representative Paul Mark & Senator Anne Gobi

This bill increases funding for this program, which will increase the use of SNAP at farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and for community supported agriculture programs.

HD.1500/SD.1015: An Act to streamline access to critical public health and safety-net programs through common applications

Filed by Representative Jay Livingstone & Senator Sal DiDomenico

This overdue legislation creates a common application for people who qualify for state benefits to ensure that more people receive benefits to which they are eligible.

HD.1356/SD.248: An Act to promote student nutrition

Filed by Representative Andres Vargas, Sean Garballey & Senator Cynthia Creem

Meal-shaming, the practice of publicly embarrassing school children with outstanding lunch debt, still exists in Massachusetts today. This legislation would end this practice and urge school districts and parents to resolve outstanding lunch debt without involving the student.

HD.1420/SD.479: An Act to promote healthy alternatives to sugary drinks

Filed by Representatives Kay Khan, Jon Santiago & Senator Jason Lewis

This bill would fund access to safe drinking water, the Prevention and Wellness Trust, and other programs through a tiered tax based on the amount of sugar in sugary drinks.

Legislative Priorities

Other Priorities

HD.448/SD.273: An Act relative to work and family mobility during and subsequent to the COVID-19 emergency

Filed by Representative Christine Barber & Senator Brendan Crighton

This legislation would allow Massachusetts to issue state identification to any applicant regardless of immigration status, as long as they provide valid proof of identity, date of birth, and Massachusetts residency.

HD.1890: An Act to ensure tuition equity for Massachusetts residents

Filed by Representatives Michael Moran & Adrian Madaro

This bill would allow undocumented students to be eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

SD.126: An Act to provide equal stimulus checks to immigrant taxpayers

Filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge

This bill would provide undocumented immigrants who file state and federal taxes with an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number), a state stimulus payment reflecting the same parameters from the federal stimulus payments. The federal COVID-19 relief package in March 2020 did not allow ITIN filers to receive these benefits.

HD.1990/SD.2200: An Act promoting fair housing by preventing discrimination against affordable housing

Filed by Representative Christine Barber & Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz

Discriminatory zoning by-laws and ordinances should be prohibited. This bill would make such policies illegal.

The Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) is a coalition of the 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) throughout the Commonwealth, including MAPC, that aims to strengthen regionalization and municipal collaboration throughout Massachusetts. MARPA meets monthly at MAPC’s Boston offices and hosts an annual conference at varying locations around the state. For more information, contact a member of MAPC’s Government Affairs staff. www.massmarpa.org

The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA) promotes healthy and diverse communities, protects critical environmental resources and working landscapes, advocates for housing and transportation choices, and supports equitable community development and urban reinvestment. MAPC is a member of MSGA. For more, visit ma-smartgrowth.org.

Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) is a diverse coalition of organizations working together to create safe, convenient, and affordable transportation for everyone. T4MA, of which MAPC is a member, advocates for transportation funds to be spent fairly and responsibly, for transportation decisions that are transparent and accountable, and to ensure that our transportation network has sufficient resources to meet tomorrow’s needs all throughout the Commonwealth. For more, visit www.t4ma.org.

The Metropolitan Mayors Coalition (MMC) is a group of cities in towns in the urban core of Metro Boston whose leaders gather to exchange information and create solutions for common problems. The municipal officials in this group represent more than 1.4 million constituents, and represent Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Melrose, Medford, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop. MAPC facilitates and staff the work of the MMC.

The North Shore Coalition is a group of 18 cities and towns on the North Shore, facilitated by MAPC staff. The Coalition is a voluntary forum where municipal leaders share information and solutions to common problems particular to the North Shore region. The municipal officials in this group represent nearly 400,000 residents from Beverly, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Lynn, Manchester-by-the-sea, Marblehead, Middleton, Nahant, Peabody, Rockport, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, and Wenham.

MAPC Winter Council Meeting

Meeting Schedule

All meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at MAPC’s offices, 60 Temple Place in Boston.

Membership

Chair

Keith Bergman

Gubernatorial Appointees

Robert Cohen
Sam Wong

Subregions

Imaikalani Aiu, MWRC
Tom Ambrosino, ICC
Charlie Aspinwall, TRIC
Julie Barry, NSTF
Rachel Benson, SWAP
Keith Bergman, Chair*, MAGIC
Buzz Constable, MAGIC
Jen Constable, SSC
Heather Gasper, ICC
Lou Gitto, TRIC
Techrosette Leng, ICC
Steve Magoon, ICC
Steve Olanoff, TRIC
Kaitlin Passafaro, ICC
Alyssa Ring, ICC
Tom Ryan, A Better City
Brian Szekely, NSPC
Charlie Ticostsky, MAGIC
Hannah Woit, MWRC
Paul Yorkis, SWAP

MAPC | Government Affairs Team

National Coalitions

The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s regional development organizations. The association and its members promote regional strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life across America’s local communities. For more, visit nado.org.

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism by advocating for regional cooperation as the most effective way to address a variety of community planning and development opportunities and issues. NARC’s member organizations are composed of multiple local governments that work together to serve American communities large and small and urban and rural. For more, visit narc.org.

Transportation for America (T4A) is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions. These are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity. For more, visit t4america.org.

Smart Growth America advocates for people who want to live and work in great neighborhoods. Smart Growth America believes smart growth solutions support thriving businesses and jobs, provide more options for how people get around and make it more affordable to live near work and the grocery store. Smart Growth America works with communities to fight sprawl and save money. For more, visit smartgrowthamerica.org.