image description

State Senate Approves Expanding Veterans Tax Write Off Program

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.

image description

Governor Signs Re-Written Marijuana Bill

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.

image description

BRPC Weighs in on State's Plan to Overhaul Land Use Regs

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.

image description

Lanesborough FinCom Looks to State For Help With Retiree Health Care

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."

image description

House Passes Protections For Pregnant Workers

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.

image description

Hinds, Mark Re-File Bill Aimed To Help Volunteer Ambulance Services

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.

image description

Governor Signs Bill to Allow Lenox, Lee and Stockbridge to Share Administrator

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.

image description

Governor Signs Legislation Updating Obsolete Municipal Regulations

Legislation signed at the State House on Tuesday eliminates or updates a raft of outdated and obsolete municipal regulations. Filed by the Baker administration last December, the 125-page bill found strong support from state and local officials, the Massachusetts Municipal Association and Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers. Gov. Charlie Baker, with a host of local elected and administrative officials behind him on the Grand Staircase at the State House, noted he'd gotten some

image description

Baker Signs Bill Putting Greylock Glen Under Article 97 Protection

The Greylock Glen has gotten an extra layer of protection with Gov. Charle Baker's signing of a bill on Monday that puts the 1,008 acres under Article 97 protection. "I am proud to partner with the town of Adams, the legislative delegation, and key stakeholders on legislation advancing another important milestone of the future management of the Greylock Glen land," Baker said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing our work with the town as we move forward ensuring the public truly bene

image description

Farley-Bouvier Pushing Bill to Aid Rape Victims

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier said 20 percent of victims who report the crime regret they did so because of the way they are treated in the justice system. She is pushing a bill in the State House to provide consistency across the state in how rape cases are handled. The bill received a hearing on the Judiciary Committee last Wednesday and the Pittsfield Democrat is hoping it'll make it to the legislative floor by the end of the year. The bill focuses on ensuring victims have information

image description

Mount Washington Broadband Bill Awaits Governor's Signature

A bill giving the town the right to set up its own broadband service now goes to the governor's desk after being enacted by the state Senate. Mount Washington plans to build and operate a modern, fiber-to-the-home network to provide high-speed Internet access to its residents.

More Stories