By Bob Katzen
The House 150-10, (Senate on a voice vote without a roll call) approved legislation that would extend many of the measures instituted in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 state of emergency that expired when the original emergency declaration ended.
Provisions include allowing public bodies subject to the open meeting law to continue to hold remote meetings; allowing cities and towns to approve and extend permits for outdoor dining; allowing restaurants to offer alcoholic beverages, including mixed drinks, for off-site consumption with the purchase of food; and extending several protections that have been granted to tenants who have difficulty paying rent.
Other provisions include reinstating the remote option for representative town meetings and meetings of nonprofits and public corporations; notary services; reverse-mortgage loan counseling; and flexibility for assisted living residences.
Supporters said that these provisions have been helpful to businesses, municipalities, health care providers, residents and communities during this extraordinary time.
Opponents said the measure limits homeowners’ rights to eject a nonpaying renter and puts many in a terrible financial bind as they still have to pay taxes, insurance, mortgage and upkeep of the building. They said they do not believe it is fair or constitutional that the government has the ability to seize private property—which is basically what is happening.
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against it.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes