Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll speaks with local officials during the April 11 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission at the State House.

The Healey-Driscoll administration can now move forward with its plans to divide the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development into two separate offices, creating a new Office of Housing and Livable Communities and renaming the current office to the Office on Economic Development.

Gov. Maura Healey filed her plan as legislation on March 1, but under Article 87 of the Massachusetts Constitution, the proposal does not require affirmative action by the Legislature.

Article 87 gives the Legislature 60 days to vote on the plan before it is considered enacted. The Senate voted to approve the reorganization plan on April 13, but the House recessed on April 26 without plans to take it up by the April 30 deadline. The reorganization plan can now take effect 30 days later, on May 30.

During the April 11 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission at the State House, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll noted that the idea of a new housing-focused secretariat had been “warmly received” by legislators.

“We’re hopeful by the end of April we’ll have this particular Cabinet secretary post available,” Driscoll said. “We look to fill it in a quick manner so we can get moving on this work.”

The Department of Housing and Community Development has not functioned as a separate entity since 1991, having been folded into other executive offices — transportation, environment and, most recently, economic development.

Healey has identified housing as one of her top priorities, saying she is concerned that high housing prices and low inventory will affect the long-term economic competitiveness of the state.

Written by