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From the category archives: Government Affairs

Government Affairs

Beacon Hill Roundup - November 23, 2021

  On Tuesday, November 23rd, the Joint Committee on Judiciary is holding a hearing regarding 'Privacy & Protected Classes' which includes one bill of interest – S.1089 - An Act to protect unpaid interns, volunteers, and independent contractors from sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination filed by Senator Lovely (D - Second Essex).   On Monday, November 15th, House Speaker Ronald Mariano (D - 3rd Norfolk) announced he intends to campaign for another term in the House next November, then another term as speaker in January 2023. Speaker Mariano was first elected to the House in a 1991 special election, and this would be his 16th full term in the House. His predecessor, former House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who was House speaker for a record-setting 12 years, resigned mid-term in October 2019, leaving office to take a job at Northeastern University and creating the opportunity for Mariano, his deputy, ...

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Braintree School Prequalification Restarts Without PLA

  The prequalification phase of the bidding for the construction of the new Braintree South Middle School has begun for the second time, now without the project labor agreement (PLA) that was struck down as a result of a successful legal challenge brought  by ABC and open shop allies.     Earlier this month, Norfolk Superior Court Judge Paul D. Wilson granted an injunction against the use of the PLA and ordered the project to be rebid without it.  A new round of prequalification is now underway, and bidding documents are scheduled to be released on Nov. 1 and bids are due on Nov. 23 (sub bids) and Dec. 7 (GC bids).     In his decision, Judge Wilson noted that if the town moved quickly it would still be able to open the new school for the 2022-23 school year.     “We are pleased that the Town of Braintree is complying with the judge’s clear ruling that this PLA did not meet the legal standard set our by our s ...

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Beacon Hill Round-Up - September 28

●     On Monday, September 20th, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the appointments of 29 members to serve on the Advisory Committee on Apprenticeshipand provide advice and recommendations on issues related to registered apprenticeship. The advisory committee will also promote greater awareness of the benefits of apprenticeship, foster increased alignment between apprenticeship opportunities and workforce and education systems, expand apprenticeship into new industries and occupations and ensure equity for under-represented populations. Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, appointed Bunker Hill Community College President Dr. Pam Eddinger to serve as the committee’s chairperson. Members of the committee serve two-year terms, representing employers, labor management organizations, community colleges and other institutions. ●     There are three upcoming hearings of interest that were scheduled. These hearings include: -     ...

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State Auditor Recommends Reforms To Gubernatorial Board And Commission Appointment Process

  An audit report released by the Office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump found that the gubernatorial Boards and Commissions Office (BCO) has not ensured that the information entered into its boards and commissions tracking database was complete and accurate, creating the risk of positions not being filled in a timely manner, and that Governor Baker's office routinely allows board and commission members to serve long after their terms have expired. The report looked at whether the Governor’s Office filled all vacant seats on the Commonwealth’s active boards and commissions as prescribed by state laws, regulations, or executive orders during the period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020.  It recommends limiting how long an appointee can serve in a holdover capacity until they are reappointed or replaced, as well as the proliferation of board and commissions throughout state government.  As a note, Auditor Bump is not seeking another term in ...

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Beacon Hill Roundup: August 31, 2021

 

The Massachusetts legislature is in their fifth week of summer recess and will not reconvene until after Labor Day.

 

●      On Tuesday, August 24th, Representative Andy Vargas (D - 3rd Essex) announced plans to run for state Senate, launching a campaign for the seat currently held by Senator Diana DiZoglio (D - First Essex) who is running for state auditor.

 

●   Representative Brad Hill (R - 4th Essex), who has served in the Massachusetts House since 1999, was selected last week to serve on the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and on Thursday, August 26th, the House set a special election for the House seat for November 30th. Primaries will be held on November 2nd, the deadline to submit nomination papers to municipalities is September 21st, and the last day to file nomination papers with the secretary of state is September 28th.

 

 

Boston Looking to Tighten Safety Rules After OSHA Says Company Involve in Fatalities Assumed New Name

  Boston officials are looking to revisit safety rules after OSHA found that Laurence M. Moloney, the owner of Atlantic Coast Utilities, formed a "successor company" that is doing business in the city. On February 24 of this year, Jordy Alexander Castaneda Romero and Juan Carlos Figueroa died after being struck by a dump truck and thrown into a nine-foot-deep trench on High Street in the Financial District, where Atlantic Coast was making emergency repairs to a sewer line. OSHA identified the successor company as Sterling Excavation LLC and said it shared responsibility with Moloney's other companies for $1.3 million the agency wants to impose for "willful, repeat and serious" workplace safety violations. OSHA also said it was inspecting Sterling Excavation after recently receiving a report about hazardous conditions at a job site in East Boston. A spokesman for Atlantic Coast Utilities said the company is not operating as Sterling Excavation or under any other name. Nual ...

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Braintree Middle School Bid Package Includes PLA

  The bid package for construction of the new Braintree South Middle School was released last week and includes a project labor agreement (PLA) that requires union-only labor.    There was little advance notice of the PLA, which ABC has learned was approved by the Braintree School Building Committee in September of 2020.   ABC attempted to meet with town officials to discuss the PLA, but we were told the decision had been made.   “PLAs effectively prevent open shop contractors from working on public projects due to their union labor requirement,” said ABC President Greg Beeman.  “Not only do they unfairly exclude the vast majority of the construction workforce, but they raise costs by reducing competition, and for no legitimate reason.”   Braintree recently released the list of prequalified bidders, and more than half are open shop, including three of the five prequalified general contractors and some 40 subco ...

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Apprentice Legislation Would Increase Problems with Restrictive Ratios

  Legislation requiring that apprentices be employed on all public construction projects in Massachusetts was recently heard by the Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Committee, and ABC MA submitted testimony noting that this proposal would only increase the existing problems posed by restrictive apprentice to journeyperson ratios that are a barrier to employment.      ABC’s comments pointed out that under MA prevailing wage law, apprentice to journeyperson ratios on public construction are based on those in union collective bargaining agreements, and these restrict apprentice employment based on the number of journeypersons employed.  In some trades, five journeypersons are required for each apprentice.  “At a time when the industry has a critical need to bring in new talent, these ratios are a huge barrier, and mandating  apprentices on public construction projects will only increase the problem,” said ABC MA President Gr ...

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Bills Dealing with Fraud in Construction Heard

  Bills dealing with the definition of fraud as it relates to construction were heard recently by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.  ABC MA submitted testimony outlining its concern with legislation that seeks to create a unique definition of fraud that applies only to construction.   An Act Relative to the Definition of Fraud in Construction Bid Laws (House Bill 3142 and Senate Bill 2086)  seeks to add a new definition of fraud to the public biddings laws that is significantly different from the common law definition that now applies.  Under this proposed new definition, the fraud does not have to be relied upon and does not have to relate to a material, or substantive, fact.  This means that a contractor who submits information to an awarding authority or government entity with an unintentional minor mistake that had no bearing on a determination could be found to have committed fraud ...

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Shift in Health Licensing Boards Takes Effect; Licensing Agency Renamed

  From the State House New Service - July 15, 2021   With only one of the two branches of the Legislature weighing in within its allotted time, Gov. Charlie Baker's plan to transfer 13 health-related licensing boards and the 88,000 licenses they oversee from the Division of Professional Licensure to the Department of Public Health took effect on its own this past weekend.  The  changes also includes the renaming of the Division of Professional Licensure as the Division of Occupational Licensure. The Senate on Thursday adopted Baker's reorganization plan (H 3774), which was filed under Article 87 of the Constitution, but the House did not take the matter up before adjourning until Monday morning. Under Article 87, executive branch reorganizations require a legislative hearing within 30 days of being filed and a committee vote within 10 days of the hearing, deadlines the Legislature met with this latest plan. The legislative branch is given 60 days from ...

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