State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli thinks the House of Representatives had a very productive session.
But, he is disappointed that two major topics were never fully addressed - health care and education.
The legislation creates a framework in which eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the Registry of Motor vehicles, MassHealth, and other participating state agencies.
He described himself as just a "back bencher" at this point, with little pull yet to really push anything through despite his many years in public service. Coming in halfway through the session, he hasn't had a chance to file his own legislation, rather working with other representatives and signing on to their efforts.
The Baker Hill Road District hopes to have Senate approval to own property, specifically the Berkshire Mall, on Thursday.
State Sen. Adam Hinds' office said they are currently prepping for the bill to go for a vote on Thursday. It had been stuck in the Senate's Rule's Committee receiving review from Senate Counsel. The House had passed the measure last June.
The state Senate wants to give veterans the ability to "work off" more of their tax bills through community service.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to increase the amount veterans can work off from $1,000 to $1,500 in workoff programs.
Gov. Charlie Baker signed updated marijuana regulations into law Friday.
Voters had passed the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in November and since then lawmakers have been reworking the law, which included a six-month delay. After negotiations between the House and Senate, the Legislature passed changes to the citizen's referendum on July 20, which was then signed on Friday.
BRPC supports the state's push to overhaul land use regulations. But, the specifics in the bills from the House and Senate have raised some concern.
For months, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's regional issues committee has been pouring over the details of the massive omnibus bills. Two bills are going through the legislative process now - one from the House and one from the Senate - with similar changes to zoning and other land use regulations.
With support from the last election, Finance Committee Chairman Ray Jones is now calling on the state legislature to allow the town to increase the percentage retirees pay for health insurance.
Jones had requested a ballot question on the town election to "change the health insurance premium contribution rate for eligible town retirees from town's share 85 percent and retirees' share 15 percent to town's share 70 percent and retirees share 30 percent."
The state's House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday shoring up the rights of pregnant workers.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will require employers to provide basic accommodations for employees who are pregnant or a new mother. Such provisions include allowing pregnant woman to take more frequent bathroom breaks, drink water while they work, or provided a stool to sit on.
A bill to change the staffing requirements of an ambulance service could be a game changer for struggling volunteer services.
But, the state Department of Public Health has opposed the bill in previous legislative sessions.
The bill, developed in consultation with the State Ethics Commission, creates a limited exemption to a portion of the Massachusetts conflict of interest law in order to allow any of these three towns to share a town administrator.