Updates

Updates

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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OPEN MEETING LAW TEMPORARY AUTHORIZATION FOR REMOTE PARTICIPATION EXTENDED BY LEGISLATURE – AWAITS GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE

Last night, the House and Senate enacted S. 3007, which extends the authorization for remote participation for all public bodies until March 31, 2023. The legislature enacted the bill with Emergency Authorization, meaning it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it. This measure simply extends the prior authorization, which expired at 12:01AM on July 15, 2022, and allows public bodies the ability to choose to continue the now well-established remote meeting protocols, dating back to March 2020.

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Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization: The Supreme Court Overrules Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overruled the landmark constitutional case Roe v. Wade and the key subsequent decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey in a majority opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito. The Court held that “[t]he Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

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The World Needs to Act

  MHTL supports the international effort to help Ukraine and bring an end to the political and humanitarian crisis that is unfolding.   Too long has the world, and this country also, allowed bad actors to use the weapons of war, including the threat of...

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AUTHORIZATION FOR REMOTE PARTICIPATION FOR PUBLIC BODIES AND FOR REPRESENTATIVE TOWN MEETINGS IS EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 14, 2022

On February 12, 2022, the Governor signed Chapter 22 of the Acts of 2022, which extends the authority for remote participation for all public bodies through July 14, 2022. This session law also extends the authority for representative town meetings to meet by remote means, through July 14, 2022. These temporary measures provide public bodies and representative town meetings the ability to choose to continue the now well-established remote meeting protocols, first established back in March of 2020. In response to public demand and interest from cities and towns, the General Court will take the additional time to evaluate long-term action, to decide if remote participation for public bodies and representative town meetings is here to stay. The extended authorization keeps all of the same procedural requirements and safeguards in place from the original authorizations and extensions.

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies Definition of “Regular Compensation” for Retirement Boards

          In 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), in a case commonly known as the Vernava decision, declared that vacation or sick pay used to supplement workers’ compensation payments did not constitute “regular compensation” as defined in M.G.L. c. 32, 1.

          Based on the Vernava decision, PERAC issued a memorandum which interpreted the SJC’s Vernava decision as being limited to the calculation of regular compensation for those members who received accidental disability retirement benefits under M.G.L. c. 32, § 7. PERAC instructed all retirement boards to follow its interpretation of Vernava as outlined in the memorandum but not to apply the SJC’s analysis of regular compensation to ordinary disability or superannuation retirement applications.

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OSHA Withdraws Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard

OSHA has just announced that it is withdrawing this ETS effective immediately. Although OSHA is withdrawing the ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, OSHA is not withdrawing the ETS to the extent that it serves as a “proposed” rule; instead OSHA has indicated that it will prioritize its resources to focus on a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard. Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the ETS for large employers, OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace.

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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Welcomes Three New Associate Attorneys

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is delighted to announce the addition of three new associate attorneys, Blair Wigney, Katherine Blum and Mariem Marquetti. Ms. Blum and Ms. Marquetti will primarily be assisting in the firm’s Labor & Employment and Litigation practices, while Ms. Wigney will be focused on the firm’s Corporate & Business and Benefits practices.

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Latest News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Recognized as a Top Women of Law Honoree for 2022

  Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is proud to announce that Attorney Kathryn Murphy, a Partner at the firm, has been selected as a Top Women of Law 2022 honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The honorees are selected based upon their “ significant contributions to the legal profession while also serving as role models for women entering the law.” Ms. Murphy is the first attorney at the firm to receive this prestigious honor. She has been practicing law at Read More

Legal Updates

NEW LEGISLATION ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO CARE FOR MENTAL HEALTH HAS IMPACTS ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

On August 10, 2022, Chapter 177 of Acts of 2022, “An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health” was signed by Governor Baker. For public schools, it has impacts on student discipline, special education services, and emergency response plans. The bill goes into effect on November 8, 2022. Set forth below are summaries of the new law’s impact in the identified areas.

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