Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup - 12/15/06
Jack Clarke, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
Karen Heymann, Legislative Director
Christina McDermott, Assistant to the Director of Public Policy & Government Relations
This Week: Cresting the Hill
Land Protection Bill Passed!
In a major legislative victory, following 12 years of hard work and negotiation, a Mass Audubon legislative priority: An Act Relative to Taxation of Forest, Farm and Recreation Land (S.2683) otherwise know as The Chapter 61 Reforms, is on its way to the Governor's desk for signature. Passed during a late July informal Senate session and most recently through the House Committee on Ways & Means, where it has languished for over a decade, with much prodding and lobbying, the bill made it through Ways & Means, through the House Committee on Steering & Policy, and Bills in 3rd Reading. And on December 8th, in an unusual Friday informal session, the House passed the bill to be engrossed.
This legislation would establish more uniform interpretation and efficient administration of the property taxation statutes, Chapters 61, 61A, and 61B. These reforms will enhance opportunities for municipalities to protect working forests, farms, and recreation lands.
Mass Audubon has written a letter to Governor Romney urging him to sign this important bill into law and we are keeping track with the Governor’s office.
Inauguration Taking Shape
There’s been much talk around the upcoming inauguration, from its citizen appeal with events across the Commonwealth to critics lamenting the price tag and funding sources. To keep the populous informed, Governor-elect Deval Patrick has launched his inaugural website,www.jan4th.org, which is bannered with History, Hope, Work, Focus, Engage . Here you can find details on events in your area, eight are scheduled across the state, and buy tickets, most of which are $20.00 a head.
The meetings and flurries of email on how to improve government and better protect our environment are coming together this week as the Transition Teams reach their deadline for submitting reports to the incoming administration. It’s been a very busy month on Beacon Hill and we thank the Transition Team members for all of their hard work and we thank those who came out to speak or submit comments to the Transition Teams. Transition Team meetings have been packed and the comment folders are full!
Mass Audubon has submitted our comments outlining immediate actions that the incoming administration can take on our priorities, as well as long-term goals. We also have worked collaboratively with environmental organizations on the following papers:
Each offers the perspectives of those who have worked on these issues for many years, and are excellent resources. Currently, we are working on a joint paper for the incoming Secretary of Environmental Affairs, which will be posted when this important Cabinet position is announced.
A Loss for the Conservation Community
On December 13th, the conservation community lost a good friend. Susan Snow-Cotter passed away after a difficult battle with cancer. We extend our condolences to her family and to her dedicated staff at Coastal Zone Management. Susan was a career environmentalist who worked her way up through the ranks to Director of CZM. Susan was an effective advocate for the environment both within state government and as a partner to advocacy groups. She will be greatly missed. An educational fund, in lieu of flowers, has been established for her two children, Carley and Nicholas.
We are putting the finishing touches on our 2007-2008 Legislative Priorities and the 2006 Legislative Report Card. Both will be available on The Roundup soon.
Please contact us if you have any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup
The Beacon Hill Weekly Roundup tracks the legislative priorities of Mass Audubon, focusing on the protection of the nature of Massachusetts. We encourage you to forward this newsletter to friends, family, and colleagues and to enlist their support.
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