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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Partner Selected as President of The Wheeler School Board of Trustees

The Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island recently selected an alumna from the class of 1986 as President of its Board of Trustees. Alisia St. Florian is the first alumna to serve as President since 1982. Prior to becoming President, Mrs. St. Florian has been a member of the Wheeler Board for four years, chairing the Hamilton School Committee and serving as Vice President.

“I think of Wheeler as the place I grew up,” said St. Florian. “I am so proud to be serving as President of the Board of Trustees. This school and community has meant and continues to mean so much to me.”

The Wheeler school was founded in 1889 as the Mary C. Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island. Upon the death of Mary C. Wheeler in 1920, the Wheeler School Board of Trustees was formed. The Board of Trustees helps further The Wheeler School’s Mission “To Learn Our Powers and Be Answerable For Their Use” and support the vision and strategic plan of the school. St. Florian began her role as President on July 1, 2019.

St. Florian is a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, and is a member of the firm’s Special Education Law Group, representing school districts in all aspects of special education litigation, from administrative hearings at the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) through to all levels of judicial appeal. In addition, St. Florian frequently presents workshops on issues regarding special education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, state and federal student record regulations, bullying, and civil rights laws both to client groups and at state conferences including at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE).

St. Florian was a speaker at the LRP School Law Conference in West Palm Beach, FL in January 2018 and in Savannah, GA on January 2017, and is a frequent contributor to special education articles published by LRP. She has been appointed as a Hearing Officer for the Board of Bar Overseers for the 2019-2021 Term. In addition, St. Florian co-founded and has co-chaired the Massachusetts Bar Association Education Law Group. She is a past Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association Juvenile and Child Welfare Section Counsel.

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MARIJUANA REFORM BILL BECOMES LAW

On August 12, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed S. 3096, “An act relative to equity in the cannabis industry,” (“Act”) into law. The Act reforms Massachusetts’s existing marijuana laws, particularly with respect to host community agreements (“HCAs”), community impact fees (“CIFs”), and social consumption sites (e.g. marijuana cafes). The Act empowers the Cannabis Control Commission (“Commission”), the state regulatory agency, to exert greater control over HCAs and their CIFs. Municipalities levy CIFs on cannabis businesses to account for the costs they impose on the municipality as a result of their operations. Additionally, the Act allows municipalities to permit on-premises social consumption of marijuana at designated sites. Other notable provisions of the Act include the new Social Equity Trust Fund (“Trust Fund”), changes to the tax law regarding cannabis businesses, and various provisions concerning those persons and communities most impacted by the prior illegality of marijuana usage and sale. Governor Baker vetoed only one section of the final bill: the provision calling on the state to conduct a study of medical marijuana usage in schools.

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