A FAR-REACHING climate change bill that could affect almost every facet of daily life whisked through both branches of the Legislature on Monday and landed on the governor’s desk, but time is running out for economic development and transportation bills that have been stuck in conference committees for close to six months.
Key lawmakers said they were still working on the legislation on Monday, but the odds of passage were not good, given that the legislative session expires at midnight Tuesday.
“They’re a really big deal,” Gov. Charlie Baker said of the two bills stuck in limbo between the two branches.
Baker said failure to pass the transportation bond bill, which authorizes state government to borrow money for transportation projects, would have a major impact on the state.
“We literally are almost out of transportation bond authority, and we need that bill for the spring construction and summer construction season, and we also need it to sign multi-year agreements that involve federal reimbursement,” Baker said at a State House press conference.
With the Legislature’s session set to expire Tuesday, here is where some of the bigger pieces of legislation stand.
Conference committees: Two panels set up to resolve differences between House and Senate bills have reached no agreements yet.
Transportation bond – Sent to conference July 23, 2020. Possible disagreement over whether funding to support the issuance of bonds is adequate. To learn more, click here.
Economic development – Sent to conference July 30, 2020. Possible areas of conflict including a change that would allow local boards to pass zoning bylaw changes with a majority reather than a two-thirds vote. The House version of the bill included sports betting; the Senate’s did not. To learn more, click here.
Ping-ponging between the branches:
Unemployment insurance legislation – Would ease impact on businesses about to be hit by a roughly 60 percent increase in assessments. H5206 is in Labor and Workforce Committee. To learn more, click here.
On the governor’s desk:
Climate change – Sent to conference committee on August 6, 2020. Released from committee Sunday afternoon and passed by both branches Monday. To learn more, click here. One provision in the bill would clarify how solar projects should be taxed.