The Wonk - January 2016
Partnerships That Build Better Businesses
Earlier this month, the Public Policy Committee convened a Nashoba Valley group of Town Administrators to discuss local issues at our January meeting. The meeting brought to light the importance of the relationship between our municipalities and the Chamber.
The dialogue focused on the need for cooperative efforts on transportation, train access, EPA storm water runoff, and joint grant funding. The Public Policy Committee is grateful for participation from Devens, Shirley, Groton, Littleton, Ayer, Bolton, and Pepperell.
The Chamber will be entering in a partnership with the 16 towns in our district and formalize the Nashoba Valley Town Administrators' Working Group. We are extremely excited about this partnership as it will help build better businesses in our region and continue to provide a business voice to our communities. The group will convene in mid-February to kick things off.
The Legislature has returned to formal session and will continue to meet until July 31st when session ends. Before that deadline, they will have to pass the Commonwealth's Budget and address other issues including net metering for solar, public records request reform, regulations for ride sharing, and dozens of other issues. We will keep members apprised on these important topics.
The Legislature will also have to address several ballot petitions before being placed before the voters in November. The initiative petitions include:
A constitutional amendment seeking to impose an additional tax on incomes above $1 million, expanded gaming, charter schools, Common Core education standards, protection of farm animals, recreational marijuana and health care pricing.
The farm animal protection proposal collected the most certified signatures (95,817), followed by the so-called millionaire's tax (92,617), the Common Core repeal (76,016), expanded gaming (74,521), marijuana legalization (70,739), charter school access (70,716) and fair health care pricing (68,755). The campaigns needed at least 64,750 certified signatures.
Once the certified petitions are presented to the House clerk, they will be assigned to committees for review and public hearings. If lawmakers fail to act on the proposals by May 3, campaigns must collect another 10,792 signatures by July 6 in order to secure ballot access in November 2016.
Please note: There will be NO Public Policy Meeting held in February.
We will instead be hosting a Legislative After Hours at Mt. Wachusett Community College in Devens on February 4th at 5:30pm. This event will allow our members to meet and network with our local elected officials. Don't forget to register through the Chamber office or website.
Next Meeting - We will reconvene on Tuesday, March 1st at 8am at the Chamber.