SECTION 1. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development shall initiate a commission to study the impact of opportunity fund investments; ensure equitable and inclusive development in designated opportunity zones; recommend regulations towards the use of opportunity fund money; and the creation of new opportunity zones in the Commonwealth: -
(a) There shall be a commission to study the infrastructure, displacement, transportation and environmental impacts of designated opportunity zones; opportunity fund investments; and the creation of new opportunity zones in the Commonwealth, hereinafter referred to as the “commission”. The commission shall consist of five commissioners: one of whom shall be appointed by the governor; one of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; one of whom shall be appointed by the president of the senate; one of whom shall be nominated by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; and one of whom shall be nominated by the joint committee on community development and small businesses. Once appointed, the commissioners shall appoint 10 members: one of whom shall be a representative from the non-profit community, who has an expertise in affordable housing for low-income families; one of whom shall be a representative from the small business community, who has not received and does not intend to receive investments from an opportunity fund; one of whom shall be a representative from a local institution of higher education, who has focused research on economic development; one of whom shall have expertise in transportation policy; one of whom shall have expertise in environmental policy; one of whom shall have expertise in fair housing policy; one of whom shall have expertise in infrastructure policy; one of whom shall have expertise in anti displacement policy; and two of whom shall be residents residing in designated opportunity zones for a period of no less than 4 years from the time of nomination and shall include one resident from a city with greater than or equal to 100,000 residents and one resident from a city with less than or equal to 100,000 residents.
Said commissioners and members shall serve for a term of 2 years or until a successor is appointed and shall be eligible for reappointment; provided, however, that no commissioner shall serve more than 8 years. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on the commission shall be appointed in a like manner and shall serve for only the unexpired term of such commissioner or member.
No commissioner or member may own any interest in or contribute to any opportunity fund that invests in designated opportunity zones in the Commonwealth at the time of its appointment to the commission or for a period of at least two years after said commissioner or member leaves the commission.
The commission may remove a commissioner and/or member if the commissioner or member: (i) is guilty of malfeasance in office; (ii) substantially neglects the duties of a commissioner; (iii) is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the commissioner’s office; (iv) commits gross misconduct; or (v) is convicted of a felony.
Members of the commission shall serve without compensation. The commission may, subject to appropriation, incur expenses and appoint an executive director who shall be the executive and administrative head of the commission. The commission may authorize the executive director to appoint such employees as may be necessary to administer this section. There shall be paid by the commonwealth to each appointive member of the commission the necessary expenses actually incurred in the discharge of his official duties.
(b)The commission shall have the following responsibilities:
1.to collect and track data on the potential impacts of transportation, environmental and displacement in designated opportunity zones throughout the program’s existence including, but not limited to, rental rates, property values, small business creation, and success of workforce development programs.
2.to review and analyze all opportunity fund investments in designated opportunity zones in the Commonwealth and to deliver an economic impact report of such effects on municipalities to the governor, and to the minority and majority leadership of the House and Senate at the end of each legislative session;
3. to promote and facilitate collaboration among investors, community based organizations, local small businesses and community members as the commission deems necessary and appropriate;
4. to act as an independent advocate for the interests of local and state governments in their relations with the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Treasury, and other federal government entities; and
5. to perform such other like services as the commission shall decide upon.
(c)The commission may hold hearings and invite testimony from experts and the public. The commission shall review and identify best practices learned from cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
(d)The opportunity funds, investors, real estate corporations, and any other individuals or entities contributing to opportunity funds in a designated opportunity zone in the district shall ensure that any data, information or materials that the commission requests for purposes of its review and deliberations are provided to the commission in a timely manner.
(e)The commission shall meet at least four times annually. At the close of each regular session of the general court, the commission shall report to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and the general court the results of its findings and provide recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect by filing the same with the clerks of the house of representatives. The clerk of the house of representatives shall post the report on the website of the general court.
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