West Stockbridge bill on Governor’s desk; Pittsfield bill passed by Senate
BOSTON – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces that two local home rule petitions were advanced during the Massachusetts Senate’s formal legislative session yesterday.
S. 1755, An Act providing for the establishment and administration of rent regulations and the control of evictions in mobile home accommodations in the town of West Stockbridge was enacted by the House of Representatives and Senate and is now on the Governor’s desk for final approval. This bill, approved by the voters of West Stockbridge during a Special Town Meeting on February 25, 2013, was sponsored by Downing and State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D – Lenox). It authorizes West Stockbridge to establish a rent control board for the purpose of regulating rent adjustments, minimum standards for occupancy, and evictions of tenants in the Town’s mobile home parks. Modeled after a similar Special Act signed into law in 1987 for the Town of Cheshire, S. 1755 seeks to protect mobile home residents, mostly low-to-middle income families and individuals, from exorbitant rent increases, while also setting standards for occupancy and evictions that will guide park owners in the administration of their property. Once established, the Board will provide protections to park residents and owners while also serving as an important intermediary between the two parties. Governor Patrick has ten days to review and act on this legislation.
Additionally, S. 1803, An Act revising the charter of the city of Pittsfield, was engrossed by the Senate last night. This home rule petition, filed on behalf of Pittsfield by Downing and State Representatives Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D- Pittsfield) and Paul W. Mark (D- Peru) is a revision of the City’s Charter, drafted in consultation with the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston. It is the product of an 11-member Charter Review Study Committee, charged last fall with conducting a full evaluation of the Charter for the first time in 80 years. After a thorough vetting process that included multiple public forums and committee meetings, the recommendations received the unanimous approval of the Pittsfield City Council on May 28th. The new Charter provides the foundation for a modern, transparent and responsive municipal government for Pittsfield residents. City officials hope to place it on the November 2013 municipal election ballot; if approved by local voters, the new Charter will go into effect in January 2016. S. 1803 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.