State Representative Tom Walsh gave the citizens of Peabody an update on what’s been going on so far this quarter at the State House.

State Budget

The first item Walsh discussed was the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget, which is $40.9 billion. It begins with state-wide hearings of the Ways and Means Committee. One of the hearings was held in Peabody at the Wiggin Auditorium, which you can watch below. At each hearing the secretary of the Governor’s cabinet will present their budget needs, and citizens also have the opportunity to participate. The House will debate their budget in mid-late April and then the Senate will debate the budget, with the goal of having the Governor sign the budget and put it in place for July 1st.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Legislation

One of the recent bills Walsh is working on is Bill H.4116, which will help families handle a loved one with Alzheimers or Dementia. It will be creating a new set of guidelines and licensing requirements. Read more about the bill here and see the status here.

MA House Sexual Harassment Policy Changes

Walsh calls this the “most comprehensive and stringent policy in the USA”. The human resources office will expand to include a “Director of Employee Engagement”, who will be in charge of any complaints and training for members, staff, and interns. The policy will also cover how to discipline a House member in the event a complaint does arise. Read more here.

 

Short-term Rental Tax Bill

Bill H.4314 is trying to regulate Airbnb (and similar) to be accountable the same way a hotel would be when renting out a room/house. Prior to this bill, you could rent your home without any inspections or fire codes. The amendment protects occupants if the host rents under false pretenses, and they could be punished by law with a misdemeanors. See the current status of the bill here.

 

Sex Offender Registry Changes

State Auditor Suzanne Bump did an audit on the Sex Offender Registry board tracks the offenders. Almost 1,800 people were not accounted for during that audit, whether they passed away, moved or another reason. Now the law is being updated to protect residents and better account for the offenders.

 

An Act of Establishing the Blue Star Family License Plate

Walsh himself created the petition to establish a Blue Star Family license plate, which will recognize that they had a family member in the police force who was killed in the line of duty. See the current status of Bill H.1916 here.

 

Honoring Fallen First Responders

Bill H.1459 is an act that provides the family of a fallen police or fire fighter with an American flag and the Massachusetts flag. See the current status of Bill H.1459 here.

 

Activism

Walsh also talks about the increasing amount of activism in recent years, including the student walkout at Peabody High School which can be found below.

 

Tom Walsh’s Contact Information:

thomas.walsh@mahouse.gov

617-722-2676

 

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