Watch for MA Legislative Bills

Bills filed in the current legislative session of the MA State House, which may be of interest to water suppliers, include the following:

HB2472 (HD2257) – An Act relative to closing the water infrastructure funding gap with water and sewer connection fees
Sponsor
Rep. Sean Garballey (D)
Summary
Adds new Section to GL 29 (State Finance) to establish a Commonwealth Water Infrastructure Trust Fund; provides that the commissioner of the department of revenue shall be the trustee of the Fund and shall expend money in the fund to address the Commonwealth’s water infrastructure needs; amends GL 40:22F (Municipal License Fees) to require each city or town that charges a fee for a permit to connect to the municipality’s water or sewer services to collect an additional $500 for a residential property connection and an additional $1,000 for a commercial or industrial property connection, in addition the municipality’s established fee for such service, to be deposited in the Fund; requires the department of revenue to: (i) proportionately distribute, for the improvement of water infrastructure within that city or town, fifty percent of the amount received from the Fund to a city or town based on the amount of the additional fees collected in accordance with this Act by said city or town from the previous calendar year; (ii) distribute forty percent of the amount collected to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to provide financial assistance in the funding of water infrastructure projects or any other purpose authorized to be funded by said Trust; and (iii) distribute ten percent of the amount collected to the department of revenue for administration and enforcement of this Act.

HB2815 (HD2773) – An Act relative to improving public safety in excavation
Sponsor
Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral (D)
Summary
Amends provisions relative to excavations under GL 82; classifies municipal signal traffic departments as companies subject to excavation laws; requires professional land surveyors, as defined, to premark any proposed excavation for a new facility or renovation; requires premarkings for underground facilities projects to, when possible, indicate a width greater than 2 inches, the material of the underground facility, the existence of any ducts and a change in direction; permits the department of public utilities to assign companies who fail to comply with excavation requirement to complete ‘Dig Safe’ training in lieu of paying a fine for a first offense

SB1392 (SD1303) – An Act relative to public safety in excavation
Sponsor
Sen. Brendan Crighton (D)
Summary
Amends provisions relative to excavations under GL 82; classifies municipal signal traffic departments as companies subject to excavation laws; requires professional land surveyors, as defined, to premark any proposed excavation for a new facility or renovation; requires premarkings for underground facilities projects to, when possible, indicate a width greater than 2 inches, the material of the underground facility, the existence of any ducts and a change in direction; permits the department of public utilities to assign companies who fail to comply with excavation requirement to complete ‘Dig Safe’ training in lieu of paying a fine for a first offense

HB4285 (HD4736) – An Act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2020 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects
Sponsor
Governor
Summary
Submits the Governor’s recommendations for an additional $74.2 million in spending for fiscal year 2020, at a net state cost of $68.1 million; included in the supplemental appropriations are $12,300,000 for the safety net provider trust fund, $5,000,000 for the early college program, $4,200,000 for testing of potential Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination of water supplies and their treatment,

SB460 (SD886) – An Act improving municipal water infrastructure
Sponsor
Sen. James B. Eldridge (D)
SummaryAdds new Section 19 to GL 29C (Massachusetts Clean Water Trust) entitled, ‘Municipal Water Infrastructure Trust Fund’; authorizes the Board of the Trust to expend money from the Fund for municipal or regional water infrastructure projects; establishes revenues to the Fund, including an assessment on municipal water usage; establishes a formula for distributing money from the Fund; directs the Department of Environmental Protection to promulgate regulations requiring public water systems to enclose any wellheads drawn on.

SB1645 (SD860) – An Act mitigating water resource impacts
Sponsor
Sen. James B. Eldridge (D)
Summary
Establishes a new GL 40:39N, allowing cities, towns, water or wastewater districts, stormwater utilities or other authority to collect reasonable fees for the exclusive use for remedying and offsetting the impacts of new or increased water withdrawals, sewering, wastewater discharges, stormwater discharges or impairment of recharge of groundwater through depletion of ground or surface waters; requires cities and towns imposing such fees to designate a board, commission or official responsible for the collection; requires the deposit of the fees in separate accounts classified as ‘Sustainable Water Resource Funds’ for drinking water, wastewater or stormwater.

SB1893 (SD154) – An Act relative to protecting the taxpayers of the Commonwealth
Sponsor
Sen. Marc R. Pacheco (D)
Summary
Subjects all contracts for design, engineering and inspection services to provisions regulating the hiring of private contractors by public and governmental entities.

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