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Since 1952
we have been the voice of private, independent schools, colleges and universities at the State House. MANSC represents members’ interests, advocates on their behalf with lawmakers, and informs members about bills that threaten their independence and economic security.
 

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2021 Annual Meeting and Special Guest


We are excited to announce our 2021 Annual Meeting with guest speaker State Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield)


The Annual Meeting will be Tuesday October 26 at 12pm and will be held via Zoom. It is free to attend and you must register using the link below Following Senator Hinds’ talk we will have a question and answer session.


Senator Hinds is the chairperson of the Joint Committee of Revenue and is a member of the Ways and Means as well as Education committees. He represents the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden Counties. Senator Hinds is a champion of diversity and inclusion and we hope you can join us for his remarks.



Legislative Update


We are coming up on a crucial period for the State Legislature, as October and November are widely seen as the window for pushing important legislation through before the start of the next budget cycle.


At this time there are several bills of concern we are tracking. Though some are applicable only to public schools at the moment, the chance of a trickle-down effect into the private sector is always a possibility.


HB2141 and SB1325 are both refiled versions of previous bills. They are an attempt to prevent nonprofit institutions from avoiding wetlands or natural resource protections under the Dover Amendment. Another Senate bill seeks to form a committee to study the impacts of the Dover Amendment.


HB3080 and SB1874 concern payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOT. These bills would require certain non-profits who are traditionally exempt from property taxes to pay 25% on the property taxes they would pay if not tax exempt.


Other concerning bills we are following, HB2137 and HB2136, would allow Somerville and Medford respectively to require institutional master plan reviews, effectively letting them dictate building plans for non-profit educational institutions. In the past municipalities have only had limited control over development for this sector, though some colleges and universities have voluntarily agreed to such measures.


House Bill 635 and Senate Bill 332 both set forth requirements on the use of carbon monoxide detectors in schools, define the allocation of capital from general funds, and update building code.


MANSC Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane keeps a watchful eye on the bills making progress on Beacon hill, and is in regular contact with leaders in both the House and Senate. We will keep our members informed as to how these bills progress, as well as any other relevant news coming from Beacon Hill.

Upcoming Hearings of Note


10/13/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 11:00 AM

Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

HB2425 An Act to require seat belts on school buses

SB1569 An Act relative to seatbelts on school buses

SB1572 An Act relative to seat belts on school buses

SB1632 An Act relative to the safety of children in school buses


10/13/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 1:00 PM

Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity

HB105 An Act reducing non-ionizing radiation such as wireless from early to higher education

HB106 An Act regulating screen time in early and K-12 education

HB10 An Act regulating privacy and technology in education

HB115 An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education

HB136 An Act relative to data privacy


10/14/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 10:00 AM

Joint Committee on Transportation

HB3495 An Act relative to bicycle safety


10/18/2021 - Public Hearing, Virtual Hearing - 11:00 AM

Joint Committee on Education

HB127 An Act relative to student and educator data privacy

HB591 An Act relative to wages for substitute teacher

SB290 An Act to prioritize violence prevention and social emotional health in school support staff hiring


 

An Overview
MANSC on Beacon Hill


MANSC members and guests got an insider’s look at the new Massachusetts legislative session recently from the organization’s veteran legislative counsel, John J. Spillane. 


Speaking at a board-sponsored informational meeting at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School, Spillane also outlined his work at the Statehouse, advocating for the interests of Massachusetts nonprofit schools, colleges and universities. 


“Even the best-intentioned bills may have serious financial implications or erode the historic independence of our institutions,” Spillane said.  “I represent the interests of MANSC members and keep them informed 

about issues of concern on Beacon Hill.  Legislators also look to me as a resource to help them understand the effects these bills will have on our institutions – and on our communities.”


The articles in this newsletter will give you an idea of how the legislature works, the trends in bills that Spillane sees and what he does at the Statehouse to represent the interests of MANSC members.


You’ll also find information about new regulations approved recently by the state Board of Higher Education regarding financial oversight of nonprofit colleges and universities.


What MANSC Does on Beacon Hill

For many years, MANSC Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane has had unparalleled success in stopping bills that would negatively affect Massachusetts nonprofit schools, colleges and universities.


He is either at the Statehouse or in close contact with legislators on a daily basis, and even spends time with them in their district visits.


Spillane tracks and follows all bills and last-minute amendments that affect MANSC members.  He monitors and attends committee hearings, prepares opposition testimony on bills of concern, confers with legislators and observes legislative sessions from the gallery.


He also keeps track of bills that apply only to public schools, because they can easily be changed to include nonprofit institutions.


Spillane works closely with AICUM and other trade organizations to develop a strategic approach to stopping bills of concern.



How the Legislature Works

The 191st session of the legislature began on January 2, 2019 and is slated to conclude January 6, 2021. In the 160-member House, there are 127 Democrats and 31 Republicans and 1 Independent; the Senate has 40 members, including 34 Democrats and 6 Republicans. John Spillane expects 5,000 to 5,500 bills will be filed.  Generally, speaking, legislators file bills:

>     In response to a problem in a district
>     Based on legislation in other states,
       policy issues, studies or white papers


Once filed, the bills are assigned to committees. After studying the issues and implications of the bills, as well as getting input at public hearings, committees either report out the bills as “ought to pass” or “ought not to pass,” or they may be put to study or discharged to other committees.


Both the House and Senate must pass a bill and agree on the final language before it is sent to the Governor for signing.  If the Governor vetoes a bill, the veto can be overridden by two-thirds 

votes in the House and Senate.


Each legislative session runs for two years and includes formal and informal sessions.  Formal sessions run from January through the end of July and deal with bills that have been vetted by committees.  The informal sessions run from August through December 31.  Bills may still be voted on in the informal session but require unanimous approval to pass.


Discussions on the state budget typically begin in the spring, but this year the COVID-19 Pandemic has delayed passing of the budget. Both the House and Senate create and vote on budgets, which then go to a Conference Committee to iron out the differences between the two versions.


Our legislative counsel closely monitors the lengthy and complex budget process every year because of the financial implications the state budget may have for nonprofit education, and also because failed bills may be tacked onto the budget as last-minute amendments.







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