LEGISLATURE PASSES FY ’15 BUDGET
On Monday, June 30 the legislature passed
the FY ’15 state budget (H4242),
sending it to the Governor for his approval.
The Governor now has ten days to approve or alter the proposal for the
new fiscal year, which began on July 1.
The proposal contains an amendment (Section 129) at the request of MFA
on behalf of the MA Division of Standards that would exempt off-premise,
standard factory-packaged meat, poultry or fish items that are of the same
weight and price for each item from item pricing requirements. Presently, these items must be individually
priced under the item pricing statute because they are in a different section
of the law, regardless of whether or not a waiver is granted. This amendment corrects this oversight and
exempts them from item pricing. The
Administration supports this amendment.
Working Group issues report on bottle deposit expansion - signatures
filed for initiative petition
On June 27 a
Subcommittee appointed by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities
& Energy issued a report on its findings of attempting to broker a
compromise between opponents and proponents of a bottle bill expansion. The Subcommittee report indicated that it was
unable to reach consensus among both stakeholders on a single recommended
alternative to the initiative petition to expand the state’s bottle deposit
law, essentially saying that both sides agreed to disagree. Meanwhile, proponents of the bottle deposit
expansion initiative petition filed their second round of signatures with the
Secretary of State on July 2 prior to the deadline.
Recycling Works Launches Campaign
July 2, a coalition of citizens, businesses, trade organizations, chambers of
commerce and community organizations announced the launch of an official
coalition to oppose a proposed ballot question that would expand bottle
deposits and redemption fees on beverages sold in Massachusetts. Members of the Comprehensive Recycling Works
(CRW) coalition believe expanding redemption fees would harm the growth of
curbside and single stream recycling programs by eliminating these valuable
commodities from the waste stream. CRW
states that per ton, recycling through the deposit system is three times more
expensive then curbside recycling.
Expanding the bottle deposit law targets less than 1% of the waste
stream yet costs almost $60 million more annually. To join and/or learn more click here.
WELFARE REFORM BILL PASSED BY
LEGISLATURE AFFECTS RETAILERS
30 the House and Senate passed a welfare reform bill (S2211)
designed to reduce fraud and abuse and extend assistance to help more low-income
families move off public assistance. The
proposal also contains a provision that creates a program to connect
"able-bodied" individuals with full-time jobs before they start to
receive any benefits. It also restores a
"full employment program" which seeks to place those receiving
benefits in full-time jobs, and gives employers who hire individuals from the program
eligibility for a health care subsidy for one year followed by a tax credit of
$100 per month up to $1,200. The bill
also increases penalties for store owners who knowingly allow the purchase of prohibited products or services,
such as Lottery tickets, with an EBT card by suspending their license to sell
lottery tickets, tobacco products and/or alcohol for 30 days for any second or
subsequent offense. The proposal is now
on the Governor’s desk.