MAPC’s 2019-2020 Legislative Priorities

The deadline to file bills for the 2019-2020 Massachusetts legislative session was Friday, Jan. 19. Over 5,000 bills were filed before that date - including several smart growth priorities from MAPC. Our proposals were crafted to address the transportation, climate, and housing challenges in the 101 cities and towns of our region. If enacted, these bills will strengthen our communities and improve financing, health, and opportunities.

(Click here to skip to the full list of priority bills)

Thanks to everyone who reached out to their legislators to encourage them to cosponsor! The co-sponsorship period is now over, but look out for more ways to support these bills in the coming months!

To learn more about these issues, our efforts, and what you can do to help, contact Government Affairs Manager Lizzi Weyant at

MAPC's Legislative Priorities for 2019-2020

Transportation Priorities

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.

An Act to reduce congestion and encourage shared rides

Filed by Representatives Jay Livingstone & Adrian Madaro

An Act to reduce traffic and encourage shared rides

Filed by Senator Brendan Crighton

This bill would increase the current surcharge on Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft, bringing Massachusetts into parity with other cities and states nationwide, as well as encourage shared trips in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility.

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.

An Act relative to transportation value captur

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 transit-oriented development (TOD).

Housing & Zoning Priorities

An Act relative to accessory dwelling units

Filed by Representative Stephan Hay

An Act promoting accessory dwelling units as housing options

Filed by Senator Julian Cyr

This bill would make it easier for municipalities to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within the main structure of a single-family dwelling, as long as they meet certain requirements.

An Act to preserve community preservation revenue

Filed by Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante

An Act to sustain community preservation revenue

Filed by Senator Cynthia Stone Creem

This legislation calls on DOR to calculate the fee that would be needed so that all CPA communities would receive at least a 50% first round distribution, to address the continual drop in the state’s match to the Community Preservation Trust Fund.

An Act to ensure the right to counsel in eviction proceedings

Filed by Representative Chynah Tyler & 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.

An Act to guarantee a tenant's first right of refusal

Filed by Representative Dan Cullinane

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.

Climate & Clean Energy Priorities

An Act to expand the green communities program to mitigate climate change

Filed by Representative Carolyn Dykema & Senator Jason Lewis

Building on the successful Green Communities program, this bill creates a new designation, “Green Plus,” which focuses local efforts on greenhouse gas emissions reduction and provides state funding to support.

An Act authorizing resiliency measures under Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy

Filed by Representative Mark Cusack & Senator Brendan Crighton

These two bills would allow property owners to finance microgrids and other energy resiliency measures under the existing Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy statute.

An Act to establish rate options to reduce customer costs and lower peak demand

Filed by Representative Jennifer Benson & Senator Cynthia Stone Creem

This legislation would require utilities to offer rates that give customers the opportunity to save money by shifting usage away from peak times and help incentivize electric vehicles, storage, and smart appliances.

An Act promoting local energy investment and infrastructure modernization

Filed by Representative Jennifer Benson & 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.

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.

Public Health Priorities

An Act to promote public health through the prevention and wellness trust fund

Filed by Representative Aaron Vega, Representative Tackey Chan, Senator Jason Lewis, Senator Harriette Chandler, & Senator James Welch

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

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.

An Act regarding breakfast after the bell

Filed by Representative Aaron Vega, Representative Andres Vargas, & Senator Sal DiDomenico

This bill would provide breakfast to all children in schools where 60% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

An Act promoting improving public heath through a common application for core food, health, and safety-net programs

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.

An Act to expand access to school meals

Filed by Representative Andres Vargas & 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.

Other Priorities

An Act to ensure tuition equity for Massachusetts residents

Filed by Representative Michael Moran & Senator Harriette Chandler

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

An Act relative to  micro-mobility and motorized scooters

Filed by Representative Adrian Madaro & Senator Nick Collins

This legislation balances the need to provide micromobility technologies to consumers, while ensuring appropriate local regulation and oversight.

An Act promoting fair housing by preventing discrimination against affordable housing

Filed by Representative Christine Barber & Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz

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

An Act to reduce consumption of sugar by raising a significant increase in excise taxes on sugary drinks

Filed by Representative Kay Khan & Senator Jason Lewis

Funds 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.

Thanks to everyone who reached out to their legislators to encourage them to cosponsor! The co-sponsorship period is now over, but look out for more ways to support these bills in the coming months!

(Below: Original blog content)

Now we need your help. Legislators look to their constituents to prioritize which bills to support during the co-sponsorship period. Please contact your state Representative(s) and Senator(s) before the deadline on Friday, Feb. 1 to ask them to co-sponsor MAPC’s priorities.

Please take a few minutes this week to do three things:

  1. Contact your Representative and Senator. Let your legislator know that smart growth and planning are priorities to you. Email or call them to let them know that these are important to you. Check out our tips for finding your legislators and a sample script below.
  2. Spread the word. Tweet about the priorities you are excited about, retweet MAPC’s account or share information on your Facebook. Help more people get engaged in our state’s legislative process!
  3. Let us know you took action. Send us an email and let us know you took action.

We encourage you to share the legislative priorities below with your legislator and ask them to cosponsor the proposals. The deadline for legislators to cosponsor proposals is Friday, Feb. 1.

Sample Email

Dear Representative/Senator:

My name is [Your Name]. I am a constituent from [Your Town]. –OR— I work for [Your Organization] and we serve many residents in the Representative’s district. I am writing to ask you to please co-sponsor the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s legislative priorities [or name key priorities that you are supporting].

It’s important that you support this slate of proposals that address challenges faced across the 101 cities and towns of our region. If enacted, these bills will strengthen our communities and our region.

The [key priority that you support] is important to me/my community because [say in a few sentences why you care about the program and how they benefit your community.]

I hope I can count on your support. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. Thank you very much for your time.

[Your Name, Organization, and Contact Info]