SECTION 1. Section 1A of Chapter 15D, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the definition of “family foster care” the following definitions:
“Governmental mandate” shall mean a state or federal statutory requirement, administrative rule, regulation, assessment, executive order, judicial order or other governmental requirements that directly or indirectly imposes an obligation and associated compliance cost upon a subsidized child care provider to take any action or to refrain from taking any action in order to fulfill the subsidized child care provider’s contractual duty to a procuring governmental unit.
''Governmental unit'' shall mean the commonwealth, any department, agency board, commission or political subdivision of the commonwealth.
SECTION 2. Section 1A of Chapter 15D, as so appearing, shall be amended by inserting after the definition of “services” the following definition:
“Subsidized Child Care Provider” shall mean a licensed or exempt child care center, or a licensed, family-child care home located within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that provides subsidized early education and care programs and services to low-income and other at-risk children.
SECTION 3. Chapter 15D, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 18, the following new sections:
Section 19. “Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law or regulation to the contrary, the board in fulfilling its responsibility in section 2(e) of chapter 15D to establish and develop a schedule for revising a rate structure for voucher and contracted payments to subsidized child care providers shall have the sole responsibility for establishing rates and methods of payment for subsidized child care providers which are reasonable and adequate to meet the actual costs which are incurred by subsidized child care providers in providing early education and care programs to low income and other at risk children in conformity with federal and state law, regulations, and quality and safety standards. In establishing rates and methods of payment for early education and care programs that provide care and services to low income and other at-risk children, the board shall adjust rates to take into account factors, including, but not limited to: (i) the cost to subsidized child care provider of any existing or new governmental mandate that has been enacted, promulgated or imposed by any governmental unit or federal governmental authority since rates were last established by the board; (ii) inflation costs of subsidized child care providers; and (iii) other available cost and market data relating to subsidized child care providers including, but not limited to, workforce credentialing and professional development requirements under state and federal laws and the market cost associated with unsubsidized early education and child care programs including, but not limited to, salaries and benefits. The board shall not consider the resources specified in section 13G of chapter one hundred and eighteen E in establishing, reviewing or approving rates of payment for early education and care programs that provide care and services to low income and other at-risk children.
The board shall: (i) determine, after public hearing, at least annually, the rates to be paid by each governmental unit to subsidized child care providers. In advance of the public hearing, the board shall hold a series of meetings with subsidized child care providers to discuss the establishment of rates pursuant to the methodology set forth herein. After conducting a hearing, the Board shall establish fair and reasonable rates to be paid for early education services, provided that said rates shall not be less than the previous year and inclusive of an inflation adjustment consistent with the annual Massachusetts consumer price index as determined by the federal bureau of statistics. Said rates are to be filed with the state secretary and shall be deemed certified.
Section 20. “Any subsidized child care provider aggrieved by an interim rate or a final rate established by the board, or by failure of the board to set a rate or to take other action required by law and desiring a review thereof shall, within 30 days after said rate is filed with the state secretary or may, at any time, if there is a failure to determine a rate or take any action required by law, file an appeal with the division of administrative law appeals established by section 4H of chapter 7. Any appeal filed under this section shall be accompanied by a certified statement that said appeal is not interposed for delay. On appeal, the rate determined for any subsidized child care provider shall be adequate, fair and reasonable for such provider, based upon, the costs of such provider, but not limited thereto.
On an appeal from an interim rate or a final rate the division of administrative law appeals shall conduct an adjudicatory proceeding under chapter 30A, and said division shall file its decision with the board and the state secretary within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.
Said decision shall contain a statement of the reasons for such decision, including a determination of each issue of fact or law upon which such decision was based. If such decision results in a recommendation for a rate different from that certified, the board shall establish a new rate based upon such statement of reasons. If the board determines that the statement of reasons is inadequate to determine a fair, reasonable and adequate rate, it may remand the appeal to the hearing officer for further investigation. Any party aggrieved by a decision of the division may, within 30 days of the receipt of such decision, file a petition for review in superior court for the county of Suffolk, which shall have exclusive jurisdiction of such review.
A subsidized child care provider may appeal as an aggrieved party under the preceding sentence, in the event that a remand by the board to a hearing officer does not result in a final decision by the board within 21 days of the date of remand.
The petition shall set forth the grounds upon which the decision of the division should be set aside. The aggrieved party shall, within 7 days after the petition for review is filed, notify the board and all the parties to the appeal before said division that a petition for review has been filed by sending each a copy thereof. Within 40 days after the petition for review is filed, or within such further time as the court may allow, the division of administrative law appeals shall file in court the original or a certified copy of the record under review. The court may affirm, modify or set aside the decision of the board in whole or in part, remand the decision to the board for further proceedings or enter such other order as justice may require. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the division from granting temporary relief if, in its discretion, such relief is justified nor, from informally adjusting or settling controversies with the consent of all parties.
Judicial review shall be governed by section 14 of chapter 30A to the extent not inconsistent with this section.”
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.
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