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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018 TO PROVIDE FOR SUPPLEMENTING CERTAIN EXISTING APPROPRIATIONS AND FOR CERTAIN OTHER ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purposes, which are forthwith to make supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2018 and to make certain changes in law, each of which is immediately necessary to carry out those appropriations or to accomplish other important public purposes, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. To provide for supplementing certain items in the general appropriation act and other appropriation acts for fiscal year 2018, the sums set forth in section 2 are hereby appropriated from the General Fund unless specifically designated otherwise in this act or in those appropriation acts, for the several purposes and subject to the conditions specified in this act or in those appropriation acts and subject to the laws regulating the disbursement of public funds for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. These sums shall be in addition to any amounts previously appropriated and made available for the purposes of those items. 

SECTION 2.

JUDICIARY

Committee for Public Counsel Services

0321-1510............................................................ $700,000

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

0940-0100............................................................ $250,000

SECTION 2A. To provide for certain unanticipated obligations of the commonwealth, to provide for an alteration of purpose for current appropriations and to meet certain requirements of law, the sums set forth in this section are hereby appropriated from the General Fund unless specifically designated otherwise in this section, for the several purposes and subject to the conditions specified in this section and subject to the laws regulating the disbursement of public funds for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. These sums shall be in addition to any amounts previously appropriated and made available for the purposes of these items. These sums shall be made available until June 30, 2018. 

SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH

Office of the Secretary

0521-0007.. For reimbursements to municipalities for costs associated with the implementation of the mandated provisions of early voting for the November 8, 2016 State Election as required by section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws, as was determined through the collection and certification of accurate accounting by the state auditor and division of local mandates; and provided further, any unexpended funds in this item shall be made available until June 30, 2018....... $1,063,978.14 

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF EDUCATION

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

7061-0011.. For a reserve to provide extraordinary relief to school districts educating students who are residents of Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands who have enrolled in their schools or in an educational entity to which they pay tuition to educate their students after October 2, 2017 due to the impact of hurricanes Maria and Irma; provided, that financial support shall be provided to the districts, on a full time equivalent basis, and in a manner consistent with the aid calculations made under the chapter 70 school aid program; provided further, that funds distributed from this item, shall not be considered prior year chapter 70 aid and shall not be used in the calculation of the minimum required local contribution for fiscal year 2019; provided further, that the department of elementary and secondary education shall adopt equitable and proportionate guidelines and application procedures for grants to be made pursuant to this item within 60 days after the effective date of this act; and provided further, that the department shall report to the joint committee on education and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the calculation and planned distribution of funds to school districts not less than 15 days prior to disbursement of funds appropriated in this item....... $15,000,000

SECTION 3. The second paragraph of section 1 of chapter 211D of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the seventh sentence.

SECTION 4. Item 0940-0101 of section 2 of chapter 47 of the acts of 2017 is hereby amended by striking out the figure “$3,100,000”, inserted by section 28 of chapter 110 of the acts of 2017, each time it appears, and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- $3,500,000.

SECTION 5. Item 0940-0102 of said section 2 of said chapter 47 is hereby amended by striking out the figure “$240,000”, each time it appears, and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- $410,000.

SECTION 6. Item 7004-0099 of said section 2 of said chapter 47 is hereby amended by adding the following words:- and provided further, that not less than $200,000 shall be expended for the Citizen Planner Training Collaborative to develop an updated curriculum, expand the program across the commonwealth, develop online training and testing materials, track certification for qualified planning board and zoning boards of appeals members and recruit and train new instructors.

SECTION 7. Said item 7004-0099 of said section 2 of said chapter 47 is hereby further amended by striking out the figure “$8,158,469” and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- $8,358,469. 

SECTION 8. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, if the committee for public counsel services determines that there exists a limited availability of qualified private counsel appointed or assigned to care and protection cases in any county, the committee may, by a majority vote, declare an emergency in that county. 

(b) Upon the declaration of an emergency pursuant to subsection (a), the committee may authorize a temporary increase in the rate of compensation for private counsel appointed or assigned to care and protection cases in that county who, prior to the declaration of an emergency, have billed not less than 350 hours in the current fiscal year as private counsel appointed or assigned to care and protection cases or who have billed not less than 700 hours in the previous fiscal year as private counsel appointed or assigned to care and protection cases. The committee shall designate a certain minimum number of cases to be taken by each private appointed counsel who is designated eligible to receive the emergency temporary rate of compensation. The temporary increase in the rate of compensation shall be for new case assignments made on or after the date of the declaration of an emergency pursuant to subsection (a). The temporary increase in the rate of compensation shall apply for the duration of those new case assignments. The temporary increase in the rate of compensation for private counsel appointed or assigned to care and protection cases approved by the committee shall not exceed $75 per hour. If the committee determines that the increase in the rate of compensation has not resulted in a sufficient increase in the number of care and protection assignments being taken by private counsel, the committee may modify the eligibility criteria. The chief counsel shall notify the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means upon any such modification.

(c) Upon the declaration of an emergency pursuant to subsection (a), the chief counsel of the committee may waive the annual cap on billable hours for private counsel appointed or assigned to represent clients in care and protection cases in the specified county; provided, however, that any counsel appointed or assigned to such cases shall not be paid for any time billed in excess of 2,000 billable hours.

(d) The committee may limit the availability of the rate of compensation authorized under subsection (b) based on the committee’s monitoring and evaluation of the performance of counsel under section 10 of chapter 211D of the General Laws or to attorneys whose offices are located in particular counties. 

The committee for public counsel services shall submit a report of the effectiveness of section 8 to the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the secretary of administration and finance not later than October 1, 2018.

SECTION 9. Section 8 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 10. Section 9 shall take effect on July 1, 2018.

Approved, February 16, 2018.