Public Law


Continued Pandemic-Era Flexibility for Town Meetings

by Sean M. Grammel, Paul Kominers, Nina L. Pickering-Cook

Over the weekend, Governor Baker signed a supplemental budget bill funding COVID-19-related items.  The bill also addresses several other pandemic-related issues.  Of greatest importance to towns are Sections 15 and 26, which give towns continued flexibility to modify their town meetings in light of the pandemic. Section 15 permits towns, upon a… READ MORE

New DHCD Guidelines on Multi-Family Districts for MBTA Communities

by Ezra Dunkle-Polier, Nina L. Pickering-Cook

Long-awaited guidance for municipalities concerning how to comply with new requirements under the Governor’s Housing Choice legislation have finally been issued by the Department of Health and Community Development (“DHCD”).  General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 3A(a) (“Section 3A”) requires that all “MBTA Communities” have at least one zoning district of… READ MORE

Federal Court Issues Nationwide Injunction on Biden Administration’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

by Ezra Dunkle-Polier, Mina S. Makarious

On December 7, 2021, United States District Court Judge R. Stan Baker at the Southern District of Georgia granted Plaintiffs’ motion to enjoin the Biden administration “from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory.”  Specifically, the Court determined… READ MORE

Alexander Hamilton, Public Records Law Share Top Billing at the First Circuit

by Paul Kominers

The First Circuit recently delved into a mustier corner of the Public Records Law in United States v. Letter from Alexander Hamilton to the Marquis De Lafayette Dated July 21, 1780, shedding some light on how the Public Records Law affects historic documents. The case concerned a 1780 letter from… READ MORE

When it Comes to Pot Shops, Local Control Wins

by Nina L. Pickering-Cook

On July 20, 2021, the Supreme Judicial Court confirmed that municipalities enjoy substantial deference in dealing with marijuana retailers applying for Host Community Agreements (“HCA”).  In Mederi, Inc. v. City of Salem, the SJC affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by Mederi, whose HCA application was denied after Salem determined… READ MORE

FAA Announces Additional Aid Available to Airports under ARPA

by Ezra Dunkle-Polier, Mina S. Makarious

On June 22, 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) announced its process for distributing Airport Rescue Grants pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319, Pub. L. 117-2) (“ARPA”).  The FAA is issuing nearly $8 billion in total grants to airports all over the country based on airport… READ MORE

Governor Signs Bill Making Zoning Changes and Promoting Housing

by Arthur P. Kreiger

The Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth that Governor Baker signed (with some specific vetoes) on January 14 has several provisions affecting municipal zoning.  Foremost among these are provisions mandating density and the Housing Choice provisions.  All of the provisions discussed here are effective immediately. Zoning Near Transit… READ MORE

Aid for Airports and the Aviation Industry in the 2021 Appropriations Act

by Mina S. Makarious

Image by Alexey Hulsov from Pixabay On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, H.R. 133 (the “2021 Appropriations Act”).  The President signed the legislation on December 27.  The 2021 Appropriations Act authorizes $2.3 trillion in federal spending, including a… READ MORE

Governor Mandates Wearing of Face Masks in Public and Delegates Enforcement Authority to Local Boards of Health

Anderson & Kreiger

On May 1, Governor Baker issued an order mandating that people wear face coverings in public.  The order, available here, is the governor’s latest measure responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The governor is acting pursuant to his authority under the public health statute (G.L. c. 17) and the Massachusetts… READ MORE

Notarizing By Video Chat: Massachusetts Temporarily Allows Remote Notarization

by Jillian B. Bargar

With the closure of non-essential businesses, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the challenges and risks associated with meeting a notary in person has become a significant obstacle in many transactions – until now.  During the Covid-19 state of emergency, documents may be notarized “remotely”… READ MORE