January 2017 Government Affairs Update
2015-2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION DRAWS TO A CLOSE
On Tuesday, January 3, Massachusetts lawmakers scrambled to pass a wave of legislation before the session officially ended at midnight. As of Wednesday morning, Governor Baker had 92 bills awaiting his signature. Any bill he chooses not to sign will not become law since the session has officially ended.
ZERO EMISSION VEHICLE LEGISLATION ON GOVERNOR'S DESK: ALLOWS FOR REGULATIONS TO REQUIRE ZEVS AT RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES
One of the bills that passed the House and Senate on Tuesday was S.2505, An Act Promoting Zero Emission Vehicle Adoption. While much of the bill focuses on encouraging the use of zero emission vehicles through increased access to electric vehicle charging stations or modifications to local zoning to allow for certain areas to be restricted for the use of ZEVs, NAIOP was strongly opposed to Section 3 of the bill. This section required the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) to adopt requirements for residential and commercial buildings for electric vehicle charging. NAIOP opposed similar language that was debated by the BBRS last summer, but was not adopted as part of the building code. Due to NAIOP’s opposition, the bill was modified on Tuesday by the House to state that the two agencies “may” adopt such requirements (instead of “shall” adopt such requirements).
While NAIOP is not opposed to electric vehicles, we do not believe that the building code is the place to encourage the growth of specific sectors of the economy. This language gives preferential treatment to certain technologies and will have no impact on the health, safety or security of the occupants or users of the building. NAIOP believes it should be up to the developer or owner, not the Commonwealth, to determine the best way to achieve energy efficiency.
NEW LEGISLATION FOR 2017-2018
The new legislative session in Massachusetts began on January 4 and runs through July 2018. Each session, NAIOP works with legislators to file bills that aim to eliminate barriers to growth and encourage economic development. We are now working with legislators to file bills before January 20th. A final legislative agenda will be posted on the NAIOP website in the coming weeks.
MASSBENCHMARKS ISSUES QUARTERLY STATE OF THE STATE ECONOMY REPORT
MassBenchmarks, published by the UMass Donahue Institute in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, recently issued its quarterly report on the state of the state economy by its editorial board (made up of leading economic analysts from across Massachusetts). The MassBenchmarks Board expects that the Bay State economy will continue to experience moderate growth in 2017. The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the state economy and identifies potential changes to expect with the incoming Trump Administration. NAIOP will continue to monitor such predictions and will seek out opportunities to advance the goals of the industry.
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 shaping NAIOP’s advocacy efforts? We value your input! NAIOP’s government affairs committees are a great way to stay informed on the important issues affecting the industry. Due to security restrictions, you must RSVP to attend any upcoming meetings. New members are welcome (and encouraged)! Contact Tamara Small, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, at (781) 453-6900 ext. 5 for more information.