Resolved, There is hereby established a special commission on protecting the archaeological, geological, and fossil resources of the Connecticut River Valley. Said special commission shall review existing special and general laws, may hold hearings at various locations across the Commonwealth to obtain written and oral testimony and may consult with state and federal agencies, educators, technical experts, town boards and commissions and native american tribes to determine if existing state laws and regulations adequately protect and provide public access to the archaeological, geological and fossil resources located within or from the Connecticut River Valley. Said special commission shall be comprised of three members of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker, which shall be from districts in western Massachusetts that include a portion of the Connecticut river that has significant fossil, archaeological or geological deposits; three members of the Senate, appointed by the President, which shall be from a district in western Massachusetts that includes the Connecticut river; eleven of whom shall be appointed by the Governor, of which one shall be a professor of archaeology from a Massachusetts college or university, one of whom shall be a recognized authority on western Massachusetts geological formations who is a professor at a Massachusetts college or university, one of whom shall be a member of a western Massachusetts geological organization, one whom shall be an environmental police officer who has experience with investigating the unlawful removal of archaeological, geological or fossil resources, one who shall be a private landowner who owns property with significant archaeological deposits, two who shall be members of town historical commissions within the region and four of whom shall be of native American descent or active in efforts to preserve and educate the public about native american living, meeting, spiritual and burial sites and ways of life; one member shall be appointed by the secretary of the commonwealth, who shall be knowledgeable of the archaeological and historic resources of the Connecticut river valley. Said special commission shall review all statutes, regulations, ordinances and practices related to these resources, including but not limited to how public and private institutions and agencies collect, preserve, display, notify the public of discoveries, return objects and sacred remains to native American tribes and related organizations and provide public access to educate and inform the public about these archaeological, geological and fossil discoveries. Said special commission may receive funding through state appropriation or grants, federal appropriation or grants, private gifts and donations, provided, that said special commission shall file its report with the joint committee on natural resources and agriculture and the clerks of the House and Senate no later than October 1, 2016.
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