The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government is seeking comment from local officials on legislation filed by the governor to give towns flexibility in scheduling town meetings and approving local budgets for next year as the COVID-19 pandemic restricts normal decision-making procedures.

The cover letter to H. 4572 provides a summary of the provisions.

In lieu of a formal public hearing on the bill, the committee has asked officials and other interested parties to provide comment, by email, on the bill and other urgent concerns related to fiscal 2021 budgets. The committee chairs are asking for comments to be sent to them directly by noon on Thursday, March 19.

The MMA is preparing comments based on feedback from municipal lawyers and town officials.

There are many fiscal and operational challenges facing cities and towns due to the COVID-19 pandemic that will need to be addressed through additional legislation and Executive Branch action over the coming days. The purpose of this particular virtual hearing is to gather comment on town meeting and fiscal 2021 budget approval process and financing issues. There are expected to be other opportunities soon to provide the committee with more wide-ranging comments about other challenges facing municipalities.

Comments may be sent to House Chair Rep. James O’Day at james.o’day@mahouse.gov and Senate Chair Sen. Becca Rausch at becca.rausch@masenate.gov.

The MMA is asking to be CC’d on any comments shared with the committee.