July 2018 Government Affairs Update
Senate Passes Wage Theft Legislation
On June 21, the Senate passed legislation (S. 2546) containing vicarious liability for businesses that employ entities that commit wage theft. NAIOP is part of an 18-member coalition of business groups opposing the flawed wage theft legislation. As written, it would target innocent, law-abiding businesses and hold them responsible for the violations or crimes of other businesses. The bill now moves to the House. NAIOP will continue to advocate for fair and balanced solutions to wage theft that go after those who are breaking the law, while opposing proposals that target law abiding businesses.
BPDA Approves Changes to Article 80 Review Guidelines
On June 14, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) approved a change to its Article 80 Development Review. The Smart Utilities Policy calls for the incorporation of five Smart Utility Technologies (District Energy Microgrid, Green Infrastructure, Adaptive Signal Technology, Smart Street Lights, Telecomm Utilidor) into Article 80 developments based on each project’s ability to meet a variety of criteria. NAIOP submitted comments based on extensive member input expressing concern with certain provisions of the policy.
NAIOP was pleased to see that the BPDA reduced the rainwater requirement from 1.5 inches to 1.25 inches. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the District Microgrid feasibility and encourage members undertaking large projects (greater than 1.5M square feet) to keep us posted on their experiences. Read the BPDA’s announcement for more information.
BBRS Considers NAIOP Comments on Public Hearing Proposals
On June 5, the state Board of Building Regulations & Standards (BBRS) met to consider and vote on multiple public hearing proposals. Prior to the meeting, NAIOP submitted a comment letter on the following proposals:
NAIOP was pleased that the BBRS did not advance the Outstanding Code Issues proposal and delayed action on all other items opposed by NAIOP. Special thanks to all NAIOP members who provided feedback on the proposed changes.
The Department of Energy Resources is expected to issue a draft stretch energy code proposal in the coming months. We will keep members posted on this and we will continue to oppose the stretch energy code.
Real Estate Industry and MMA Issue Joint Statement Supporting Housing Choice Legislation
On June 28, NAIOP, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association issued a joint statement in support of An Act to Promote Housing Choices (H. 4290). Read the full statement here. This important bill is a unique opportunity to increase the supply of housing in Massachusetts. NAIOP will continue to advocate for an unamended version of this bill to be passed by the end of the legislative session on July 31.
Regulation of PFAS in Drinking Water and Site Cleanup Advances
On June 8, MassDEP’s Office of Research and Standards (ORS) released drinking water guideline for five chemicals that are part of a larger group of PFAS. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in many consumer products, including firefighting foam, and in a number of industrial processes. EPA published a Health Advisory for the sum of two PFAS chemicals - PFOA and PFOS at 70 parts per trillion. EPA is expected to issue a drinking water standard for these two compounds later this year. Due to similar health concerns, MassDEP established its guidelines to include three additional PFAS chemicals. In addition, MassDEP’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup will be proposing a site clean- up standard (MCP Method 1 GW-1 Standard) for PFAS later this year. NAIOP will continue to weigh in on this issue and identify any issues that may be of concern to the commercial real estate industry.
NAIOP Comments on MAAB Regulatory Changes
NAIOP recently submitted comments on the proposed changes to the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board (MAAB) regulations, 521 CMR - the first full rewrite since 1996. Special thanks to all NAIOP members who contributed to this comment letter. NAIOP will monitor and weigh in on the regulatory changes as they move through the review process.
The legislative session concludes on July 31. The Legislature is now in high gear, with many critical meetings and negotiations now underway. In the coming weeks, it is extremely important for NAIOP members to review communications from NAIOP’s government affairs team and to quickly respond to requests for outreach or information on specific issues. Major changes are expected to happen very quickly. Member input and feedback are critical to NAIOP’s advocacy efforts! Thank you for your support.
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 committee and issue-specific subcommittees are a great way to stay informed on the important issues affecting the industry. New members are welcome (and encouraged)! Contact Tamara Small, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, at (781) 453-6900 ext. 5 for more information.