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2009-2010 Legislative Wrap-Up -Archive
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MASSACHUSETTS FOOD ASSOCIATION
2009 – 2010 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAP-UP

At midnight on July 31, 2010 the second year of the two year Massachusetts legislative session ended its formal sessions and is not scheduled to formally reconvene until January 5, 2011 for the first of the next two year session of the 187th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In 2009, 204 legislative proposals were signed into law out of nearly 4,300 House proposals and more than 2,100 Senate proposals filed.  Of the 204 new laws: 58% of them (119) were local approval bills (bridge naming, proposals specific to a city/town); 17% of them (34) were constituent bills (sick leave); 15% of them (30) were administrative; 1% of them (3) were reform bills (pension, transportation, ethics); and only 1 affected business (increase in the sales tax).  The remainder dealt with miscellaneous issues, from economic recovery, transportation, mortgage licensing, public employees, CORI for wall climber instructors, life sciences investment, health care facilities, advisory committees, oral health, history month, Kennedy’s open Senate seat, clean energy, public assisted housing, fishing licenses, simulcasting, public utilities, insurance and allowing mixed martial arts in MA. 

Legislation filed for this session at the beginning of 2009 continued through the legislative process through 2010.  Joint Rule 10 day, the last day for all proposals to be voted upon by their respective committees and discharged was March 17, 2010.  The end of formal sessions was July 31, after which only “non-controversial” proposals could be debated through the end of the calendar year. 

In 2010, a total of 476 legislative proposals were signed into law out of more than 5,000 House proposals and more than 2,600 Senate proposals filed in 2009 and 2010. Therefore, a total of 680 bills were signed into law over the entire 2009 – 2010 legislative session.  

On the last day of the session, more than 100 bills were acted upon and sent to the Governor for his approval.  Of the 476 2010 laws: 63% of them (299) were local approval bills(bridge naming, proposals specific to a city/town); 11% of them (53) were constituent (sick leave, etc.) bills, 4% of them (18) were administrative bills, 2% of them (12) affected business, including: a freeze on the unemployment insurance rates, mandating insurance coverage for autism, banking law reform, further regulating qualified financial contract changes, an economic development package (which established the MA Sales Tax Holiday and included a veto of a wholesale club item pricing exemption), prohibit the granting of dual retail and wholesale/manufacturing alcohol licensing after January 2011, legislation relative to workers compensation insurance, CORI reform affecting employment applications, legislation affecting health care for individuals and small businesses, legislation relative to fairness in private construction contracts, legislative relative to group health insurance and liquor sales tax repeal, which was approved on the November ballot.   

The remaining 20% of them (94) were miscellaneous bills dealing with such issues as education, no-text safe driving, unpaid municipal fines, liability insurance, requiring bittering agents in anti-freeze, regulate explosives, floor finishing products, hoisting machinery, transportation of telephone poles, school nutrition, credit unions, protection of children, dentistry, access to mental health services, etc., all legislation that does not directly affect the business community of the Commonwealth.

STATUS OF RELEVANT LEGISLATION FOR THE 2009/2010 SESSION

 


Bill #                                 Purpose:                                    MFA Stance              Status

 

PRICING ISSUES

 

*H4430           Allows food stores/departments to apply for a             Support                   Before House

                        Waiver to item pricing under certain conditions                                          Ways & Means

 

*H202             Allows food stores/departments to apply for a             Support                   Placed into a

                        Waiver to item pricing under certain conditions                                           Study

 

H3649             Creates 6 mo. Pilot prgm. for retailers under 15,000     Opposed                  Placed into a

                        Sq. ft. for item pricing exemption with scanners.                                          Study

 

*H3648           Exempts non-food items from being item priced          Support                   Remains before

                        In a food store if exempt in non-food stores.                                                CDSB Cmte.

 

ENVIRONMENT

S2547              Expand bottle deposits to waters, teas, sports drinks,     Opposed              Before Senate

                        In containers 16 oz. or more, less than 2 liters.                                           Ways & Means

 

S1532              Raise the handling fee for deposit containers to           Monitor                   Remains before

                        3.75 cents.                                                                                                      TUE Cmte.

 

*H3079           Phase out the bottle bill and expand municipal             Support                   Remains before

                        Recycling.                                                                                                      TUE Cmte.

 

H3062/H3077 Expand bottle bill in one form or another.                     Opposed                  Placed into a

H3125                                                                                                                                    Study

 

S395                Ban plastic bag distribution in MA.                               Opposed                  Remains before

                                                                                                                                               ENRA Cmte.

 

H798               Ban plastic bag distribution in MA.                               Opposed                  Placed into a

                                                                                                                                               Study

 

H719               Allow distribution of only recyclable, compostable,     Opposed                  Placed into a

                        reusable bags in MA stores                                                                            Study

 

H2686             Plastic bag tax at 5 cents/bag distributed.                     Opposed                  Placed into a

                                                                                                                                               Study

 

S1284              Plastic bag tax at 2 cents/bag rising to 15 cents/bag     Opposed                   Placed into a

                        Over six year period.                                                                                      Study

 

S775                Allows cities and towns to ban polystyrene                  Monitor                   Remains before

                        Packaging.                                                                                                      MRG Cmte.

 

H778               Places a 2 year moratorium on any new/expanded        Opposed                  Remains before

                        Water extraction, storage and bottling in MA.                                              ENRA Cmte.

 

LIQUOR LICENSING

*H3655           Increase the limit on liquor licenses for an entity          Support                   Placed into a

                        From three to twenty statewide.                                                                    Study

 

H246               Require liquor retailers to post conspicuous warning    Opposed                  Remains before

                        Signs for procuring alcohol for underage citizens.                                        CPPL Cmte.

 

PAID LEAVE

H1815/S688    Allow employees to accrue 1 hr. sick time for every     Opposed                  Before House

                        30 hours of work, maximum 7 days annually.                                               Ways & Means

 

H1816             Strengthen requirements for employers with regards    Opposed                  Placed into a

                        To compliance with the Family Medical Leave Act.                                      Study

 

MINIMUM WAGE

S707                Raise minimum wage to $8.75/hr. on 1/1/10.                Opposed                  Placed into a

                                                                                                                                                Study

S708                Raise minimum wage for employers with over 150       Opposed                  Placed into a

                        Employees or over 75,000 sq. ft. to $10.50/hr.                                              Study

 

FOOD/SNACK TAX/BAN

H2669             Institute state sales tax on foods with                           Opposed                  Remains before

                        “Limited nutritional value”.                                                                           Revenue Cmte.

 

H2701             Place 10% tax on wholesale of “snacks” & an              Opposed                  Remains before

                        8% tax on soft drinks/soft drink syrups.                                                        Revenue Cmte.

 

H3595             Places a statewide ban on the use of trans fat               Opposed                  Remains before

                        In cooked foods and bakery items.                                                                HC Fin. Cmte.

 

SIGNAGE/LABELING REQUIREMENTS

H746               Require all establishments that sell raw or cooked        Opposed                  Placed into a

                        Fish to post an advisory on mercury content.                                                Study

 

H3715             Require disclosure of calorie count & nutritional          Opposed                  Placed into a

                        Info. for prepared foods in food stores/restaurants.                                       Study

 

H3720             Require the posting of local health                                Opposed                  Placed into a

                        Inspection reports.                                                                                         Study

 

MISCELLANEOUS

*H1025           Prohibits credit card companies from charging             Support                   Remains before

                        Transaction fee on sales tax portion of purchase.                                           Fin. Serv. Cmte.

 

*1086              Distinguishes between “willful” and “non-willful”       Support                   Remains before

                        Child labor violations to mitigate penalties.                                                   Lab. WD Cmte.

 

*252                Restricts the sale of OTC drugs, cosmetics and            Support                   Remains before

                        Certain medical devices at flea markets.                                                       CPPL Cmte.

 

*1469              Creates a fine structure for the theft of bulk                 Support                   Remains before

                        Merchandise plastic containers.                                                                     Jud. Cmte.

 

H1344             Strengthens law enforcement for organized theft.        Support                   Remains before

                                                                                                                                               Jud. Cmte.

 

H201               Allows stores and shops to open on Thanksgiving        Monitor                   Remains before

                        Day, presently a closed all day holiday.                                                        CDSB Cmte.

 

H4514             Establishes a surcharge for Enhanced 911 system         Monitor                   Remains before

                        for prepaid wireless services.                                                                          H W & Means

 

H3426             Prohibits retaliatory action by food stores against         Monitor                   Remains before

                        patrons who complain/report violations.                                                        CPPL Cmte.

 

S813                Bans the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and         Monitor              Remains before

                        Where health care professionals are employed.                                             HC Fin. Cmte.

 

LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW

Ch. 1 of ‘09                 Allowed the Governor make further budget cuts to                         Signed into law

                                    Offset fiscal shortfalls.                                                                      1/22/09

 

Ch. 12 of ’09               In response to fiscal shortfalls, this legislation increased                  Signed into law

                                    Limitations on state, county, municipal pension systems.                 5/12/09

 

Ch. 27 of ’09               Increased the state sales/meals tax from 5 to 6.25%,                        Signed into law

                                    Taxed alcohol at 6.25%, local meals tax option .75%.                      6/29/09

 

Ch. 28 of ’09               Expanded definition of lobbying requiring more                              Signed into law

                                    Entities and individuals to register as lobbyists.                                7/1/09

 

Ch. 34 of ’10               Froze the unemployment insurance rate for                                       Signed into law

                                    Qualified businesses at “E” for 2010.                                                2/18/10

 

Ch. 197 of ‘10             Bans candy and carbonated beverages from all                                Signed into law

                                    Public schools.                                                                                   7/31/10

 

Ch. 207 of ’10             Requires insurance companies to provide coverage for                     Signed into law

                                    Individuals with autism.                                                                    8/3/10

 

Ch. 234 of ’10             Reforms the MA Banking laws with regards to                                Signed into law

Certain loaning practices.                                                                   8/4/10

 

Ch. 235 of ’10             Reforms financial contract laws.                                                       Signed into law

                                                                                                                                               8/4/10

 

Ch. 240 of ’10             Relative to economic development reorganization.                           Signed into law

                                                                                                                                               8/5/10

 

Ch. 255 of ‘10             Prohibits granting of dual retail and wholesale and/or                      Signed into law

manufacturing alcohol licensing after January 2011                          8/5/10

 

Ch. 276 of ’10             Prohibits the sale and use of “novelty” lighters.                                Signed into law

                                                                                                                                               8/9/10

 

Ch. 277 of ’10             Establishes the MA Food Policy Council.                                         Signed into law

                                                                                                                                               8/9/10

 

Ch. 285 of ’10             Relative to the workers compensation system.                                  Signed into law

                                                                                                                                               8/9/10

 

Ch. 288 of ’10             Relative to licensure of certain health care plans                               Signed into law

                                    for grouping of small businesses.                                                      8/10/10



Posted By : Brian Houghton

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