September 2016 Government Affairs Update
LEGISLATIVE WRAP UP
Around 12:30AM on August 1, 2016, the Massachusetts Legislature wrapped up its work for the 2015 – 2016 legislative session. There was a flurry of activity in the final hours of the session. For the remainder of 2016, the Legislature will meet in informal session, but during those sessions bills need the unanimous approval of the limited number of members attending to be approved. Any member of the Legislature can prevent any bill from advancing simply by objecting, which means only non-controversial bills typically pass between now and the end of the year. Want to find out what passed and what didn’t? Check out this NAIOPMA blog post, which covers the highs and lows of the session.
NEW BASE ENERGY CODE AND NEW STRETCH ENERGY CODE NOW IN EFFECT
The Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) voted recently to adopt several changes to the energy provisions of the existing building code (8th edition). The BBRS adopted the next edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2015) as the base energy code in non-stretch code communities and adopted a new stretch energy code (approximately 15% more energy efficient than the current base energy code), which will automatically take effect in existing stretch code communities without a vote by the city or town. A concurrency period will run from August 12, 2016 – January 1, 2017 which allows persons seeking building permits to submit plans and other required documents that conform to either the energy provisions in effect prior to August 12, 2016, or the amended energy provisions effective August 12, 2016, but not a combination of the two. Beginning January 2, 2017, all building permits and submitted documents must conform to the amended energy provisions only.
NAIOP was pleased that the BBRS did not advance the solar rooftop readiness or electric vehicle readiness requirements that had been proposed (and opposed by NAIOP), but disappointed that a new stretch energy code was adopted. Public hearings on the next (9th) edition of the building and energy codes are expected this fall. NAIOP will continue to advocate on behalf of the industry on these important issues
MS4 APPEALS FILED
On August 24, the Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship (MCWRS) jointly filed a Petition for Review of the Final Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer General Permit (MS4) in the First Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals in Boston with the Town of Franklin. In addition, the National Association of Home Builders and the Home Builders Association of Massachusetts also filed a Petition for Review of the MS4. The Final Permit was issued by the EPA, Region 1, and co-signed by MassDEP, on April 4, 2016, and takes effect on July 1, 2017.
The MS4 permit regulates municipal stormwater discharges under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. Municipalities expressed strong opposition to the original draft MS4 and given that few changes were made to the final permit, it remains to be seen how this will impact commercial and residential property owners. NAIOP will closely monitor this issue.
NAIOP GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ADVOCACY: LEARN MORE, GET INVOLVED!
Interested in NAIOP’s government affairs agenda? Check out the Member-Only Top Issues section of the NAIOP web site for issue briefs, comment letters, and additional resources. Would you like to get involved in NAIOP’s advocacy efforts? We value your input! Contact Tamara Small, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, at (781) 453-6900 ext. 5. All members are welcome.