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General Laws

  Section 7. In construing statutes the following words shall have the meanings herein given, unless a contrary intention clearly appears:

  First, "Aldermen'', "board of aldermen'', "mayor and aldermen'', "city council'' or "mayor'' shall, in a city which has no such body or officer, mean the board or officer having like powers or duties.

  Second, "Annual meeting'', when applied to towns, shall mean the annual meeting required by law to be held in the month of February, March or April.

  Second A, "Appointing authority'', when used in connection with the operation of municipal governments shall include the mayor of a city and the board of selectmen of a town unless some other local office is designated as the appointing authority under the provisions of a local charter.

  Third, "Assessor'' shall include any person chosen or appointed in accordance with law to perform the duties of an assessor.

  Third A, "Board of selectmen'', when used in connection with the operation of municipal governments shall include any other local office which is performing the duties of a board of selectmen, in whole or in part, under the provisions of a local charter.

[ There is no clause Fourth.]

  Fifth, "Charter'', when used in connection with the operation of city and town government shall include a written instrument adopted, amended or revised pursuant to the provisions of chapter forty-three B which establishes and defines the structure of city and town government for a particular community and which may create local offices, and distribute powers, duties and responsibilities among local offices and which may establish and define certain procedures to be followed by the city or town government. Special laws enacted by the general court applicable only to one city or town shall be deemed to have the force of a charter and may be amended, repealed and revised in accordance with the provisions of chapter forty-three B unless any such special law contains a specific prohibition against such action.

  Fifth A, "Chief administrative officer'', when used in connection with the operation of municipal governments, shall include the mayor of a city and the board of selectmen in a town unless some other local office is designated to be the chief administrative officer under the provisions of a local charter.

  Fifth B, "Chief executive officer'', when used in connection with the operation of municipal governments shall include the mayor in a city and the board of selectmen in a town unless some other municipal office is designated to be the chief executive officer under the provisions of a local charter.

  Sixth, "City solicitor'' shall include the head of the legal department of a city or town.

  Sixth A, "Coterminous'', shall mean, when applied to the term of office of a person appointed by the governor, the period from the date of appointment and qualification to the end of the term of said governor; provided that such person shall serve until his successor is appointed and qualified; and provided, further, that the governor may remove such person at any time, subject however to the condition that if such person receives notice of the termination of his appointment he shall have the right, at his request, to a hearing within thirty days from receipt of such notice at which hearing the governor shall show cause for such removal, and that during the period following receipt of such notice and until final determination said person shall receive his usual compensation but shall be deemed suspended from his office.

  Seventh, "District'', when applied to courts or the justices or other officials thereof, shall include municipal.

  Eighth, "Dukes'', "Dukes county'' or "county of Dukes'' shall mean the county of Dukes county.

  Ninth, "Fiscal year'', when used with reference to any of the offices, departments, boards, commissions, institutions or undertakings of the commonwealth, shall mean the year beginning with July first and ending with the following June thirtieth.

  Tenth, "Illegal gaming,'' a banking or percentage game played with cards, dice, tiles or dominoes, or an electronic, electrical or mechanical device or machine for money, property, checks, credit or any representative of value, but excluding: (i) a lottery game conducted by the state lottery commission, under sections 24, 24A and 27 of chapter 10; (ii) a game conducted under chapter 23K; (iii) pari-mutuel wagering on horse races under chapters 128A and 128C and greyhound races under said chapter 128C; (iv) a game of bingo conducted under chapter 271; and (v) charitable gaming conducted under said chapter 271.

  Eleventh, "Grantor'' may include every person from or by whom a freehold estate or interest passes in or by any deed; and "grantee'' may include every person to whom such estate or interest so passes.

  Twelfth, "Highway'', "townway'', "public way'' or "way'' shall include a bridge which is a part thereof.

  Thirteenth, "In books'', when used relative to the records of cities and towns, shall not prohibit the making of such records on separate leaves, if such leaves are bound in a permanent book upon the completion of a sufficient number of them to make an ordinary volume.

  Fourteenth, "Inhabitant'' may mean a resident in any city or town.

[ There is no clause Fifteenth.]

  Sixteenth, "Issue'', as applied to the descent of estates, shall include all the lawful lineal descendants of the ancestor.

  Seventeenth, "Land'', "lands'' and "real estate'' shall include lands, tenements and hereditaments, and all rights thereto and interests therein; and "recorded'', as applied to plans, deeds or other instruments affecting land, shall, as affecting registered land, mean filed and registered.

  Eighteenth, "Legal holiday'' shall include January first, July fourth, November eleventh, and Christmas Day, or the day following when any of said days occurs on Sunday, and the third Monday in January, the third Monday in February, the third Monday in April, the last Monday in May, the first Monday in September, the second Monday in October, and Thanksgiving Day. "Legal holiday'' shall also include, with respect to Suffolk county only, Evacuation Day, on March seventeenth, and Bunker Hill Day, on June seventeenth, or the day following when said days occur on Sunday; provided, however, that all state and municipal agencies, authorities, quasi-public entities or other offices located in Suffolk county shall be open for business and appropriately staffed on Evacuation Day, on March seventeenth, and Bunker Hill Day, on June seventeenth, and that section forty-five of chapter one hundred and forty-nine shall not apply to Evacuation Day, on March seventeenth, and Bunker Hill Day, on June seventeenth, or the day following when said days occur on Sunday.

  Eighteenth A, "Commemoration day'' shall include March fifteenth, in honor of Peter Francisco day, May twentieth, in honor of General Marquis de Lafayette and May twenty-ninth, in honor of the birthday of President John F. Kennedy. The governor shall issue a proclamation in connection with each such commemoration day.

  Eighteenth B, "Legislative body'', when used in connection with the operation of municipal governments shall include that agency of the municipal government which is empowered to enact ordinances or by-laws, adopt an annual budget and other spending authorizations, loan orders, bond authorizations and other financial matters and whether styled a city council, board of aldermen, town council, town meeting or by any other title.

  Nineteenth, "Month'' shall mean a calendar month, except that, when used in a statute providing for punishment by imprisonment, one "month'' or a multiple thereof shall mean a period of thirty days or the corresponding multiple thereof; and "year'', a calendar year.

  Nineteenth A, "Municipality'' shall mean a city or town.

  Twentieth, "Net indebtedness'' shall mean the indebtedness of a county, city, town or district, omitting debts created for supplying the inhabitants with water and other debts exempted from the operation of the law limiting their indebtedness, and deducting the amount of sinking funds available for the payment of the indebtedness included.

  Twenty-first, "Oath'' shall include affirmation in cases where by law an affirmation may be substituted for an oath.

  Twenty-second, "Ordinance'', as applied to cities, shall be synonymous with by-law.

  Twenty-third, "Person'' or "whoever'' shall include corporations, societies, associations and partnerships.

  Twenty-fourth, "Place'' may mean a city or town.

  Twenty-fifth, "Preceding'' or "following'', used with reference to any section of the statutes, shall mean the section last preceding or next following, unless some other section is expressly designated in such reference.

[ Introductory paragraph of first paragraph of clause Twenty-sixth effective until July 1, 2013. For text effective July 1, 2013, see below.]

  Twenty-sixth, "Public records'' shall mean all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee of any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth, or of any political subdivision thereof, or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose, unless such materials or data fall within the following exemptions in that they are:

[ Introductory paragraph of first paragraph of clause Twenty-sixth as amended by 2013, 38, Sec. 4 effective July 1, 2013. See 2013, 38, Sec. 219. For text effective until July 1, 2013, see above.]

  Twenty-sixth, "Public records'' shall mean all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee of any agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth, or of any political subdivision thereof, or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose, or any person, corporation, association, partnership or other legal entity which receives or expends public funds for the payment or administration of pensions for any current or former employees of the commonwealth or any political subdivision as defined in section 1 of chapter 32, unless such materials or data fall within the following exemptions in that they are:

  (a) specifically or by necessary implication exempted from disclosure by statute;

  (b) related solely to internal personnel rules and practices of the government unit, provided however, that such records shall be withheld only to the extent that proper performance of necessary governmental functions requires such withholding;

  (c) personnel and medical files or information; also any other materials or data relating to a specifically named individual, the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

  (d) inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters relating to policy positions being developed by the agency; but this subclause shall not apply to reasonably completed factual studies or reports on which the development of such policy positions has been or may be based;

  (e) notebooks and other materials prepared by an employee of the commonwealth which are personal to him and not maintained as part of the files of the governmental unit;

  (f) investigatory materials necessarily compiled out of the public view by law enforcement or other investigatory officials the disclosure of which materials would probably so prejudice the possibility of effective law enforcement that such disclosure would not be in the public interest;

  (g) trade secrets or commercial or financial information voluntarily provided to an agency for use in developing governmental policy and upon a promise of confidentiality; but this subclause shall not apply to information submitted as required by law or as a condition of receiving a governmental contract or other benefit;

  (h) proposals and bids to enter into any contract or agreement until the time for the opening of bids in the case of proposals or bids to be opened publicly, and until the time for the receipt of bids or proposals has expired in all other cases; and inter-agency or intra-agency communications made in connection with an evaluation process for reviewing bids or proposals, prior to a decision to enter into negotiations with or to award a contract to, a particular person;

  (i) appraisals of real property acquired or to be acquired until (1) a final agreement is entered into; or (2) any litigation relative to such appraisal has been terminated; or (3) the time within which to commence such litigation has expired;

  (j) the names and addresses of any persons contained in, or referred to in, any applications for any licenses to carry or possess firearms issued pursuant to chapter one hundred and forty or any firearms identification cards issued pursuant to said chapter one hundred and forty and the names and addresses on sales or transfers of any firearms, rifles, shotguns, or machine guns or ammunition therefor, as defined in said chapter one hundred and forty and the names and addresses on said licenses or cards;

[ There is no subclause (k).]

  (l) questions and answers, scoring keys and sheets and other materials used to develop, administer or score a test, examination or assessment instrument; provided, however, that such materials are intended to be used for another test, examination or assessment instrument;

  (m) contracts for hospital or related health care services between (i) any hospital, clinic or other health care facility operated by a unit of state, county or municipal government and (ii) a health maintenance organization arrangement approved under chapter one hundred and seventy-six I, a nonprofit hospital service corporation or medical service corporation organized pursuant to chapter one hundred and seventy-six A and chapter one hundred and seventy-six B, respectively, a health insurance corporation licensed under chapter one hundred and seventy-five or any legal entity that is self insured and provides health care benefits to its employees.

  (n) records, including, but not limited to, blueprints, plans, policies, procedures and schematic drawings, which relate to internal layout and structural elements, security measures, emergency preparedness, threat or vulnerability assessments, or any other records relating to the security or safety of persons or buildings, structures, facilities, utilities, transportation or other infrastructure located within the commonwealth, the disclosure of which, in the reasonable judgment of the record custodian, subject to review by the supervisor of public records under subsection (b) of section 10 of chapter 66, is likely to jeopardize public safety.

  (o) the home address and home telephone number of an employee of the judicial branch, an unelected employee of the general court, an agency, executive office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth, or of a political subdivision thereof or of an authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose, in the custody of a government agency which maintains records identifying persons as falling within those categories; provided that the information may be disclosed to an employee organization under chapter 150E, a nonprofit organization for retired public employees under chapter 180, or a criminal justice agency as defined in section 167 of chapter 6.

  (p) the name, home address and home telephone number of a family member of a commonwealth employee, contained in a record in the custody of a government agency which maintains records identifying persons as falling within the categories listed in subclause (o).

  (q) Adoption contact information and indices therefore of the adoption contact registry established by section 31 of chapter 46.

  (r) Information and records acquired under chapter 18C by the office of the child advocate.

  (s) trade secrets or confidential, competitively-sensitive or other proprietary information provided in the course of activities conducted by a governmental body as an energy supplier under a license granted by the department of public utilities pursuant to section 1F of chapter 164, in the course of activities conducted as a municipal aggregator under section 134 of said chapter 164 or in the course of activities conducted by a cooperative consisting of governmental entities organized pursuant to section 136 of said chapter 164, when such governmental body, municipal aggregator or cooperative determines that such disclosure will adversely affect its ability to conduct business in relation to other entities making, selling or distributing electric power and energy; provided, however, that this subclause shall not exempt a public entity from disclosure required of a private entity so licensed.

  (t) statements filed under section 20C of chapter 32.

  (u) trade secrets or other proprietary information of the University of Massachusetts, including trade secrets or proprietary information provided to the University by research sponsors or private concerns.

  Any person denied access to public records may pursue the remedy provided for in section ten of chapter sixty-six.

  Twenty-seventh, "Salary'' shall mean annual salary.

  Twenty-eighth, "Savings banks'' shall include institutions for savings.

[ There is no clause Twenty-ninth.]

  Thirtieth, "Spendthrift'' shall mean a person who is liable to be put under guardianship on account of excessive drinking, gaming, idleness or debauchery.

  Thirty-first, "State'', when applied to the different parts of the United States, shall extend to and include the District of Columbia and the several territories; and the words "United States'' shall include said district and territories.

  Thirty-second, "State auditor'' and "state secretary'' shall mean respectively the auditor of the commonwealth and the secretary of the commonwealth. "State treasurer'' or "treasurer of the commonwealth'' shall mean the treasurer and receiver general as used in the constitution of the commonwealth, and shall have the same meaning in all contracts, instruments, securities and other documents.

  Thirty-third, "Swear'' shall include affirm in cases in which an affirmation may be substituted for an oath. When applied to public officers who are required by the constitution to take oaths therein prescribed, it shall refer to those oaths; and when applied to any other officer it shall mean sworn to the faithful performance of his official duties.

  Thirty-fourth, "Town'', when applied to towns or officers or employees thereof, shall include city.

  Thirty-fifth, "Valuation'', as applied to a town, shall mean the valuation of such town as determined by the last preceding apportionment made for the purposes of the state tax.

  Thirty-sixth, "Water district'' shall include water supply district.

  Thirty-seventh, "Will'' shall include codicils.

  Thirty-eighth, "Written'' and "in writing'' shall include printing, engraving, lithographing and any other mode of representing words and letters; but if the written signature of a person is required by law, it shall always be his own handwriting or, if he is unable to write, his mark.

  Thirty-ninth, "Annual election'', as applied to municipal elections in cities holding such elections biennially, shall mean biennial election.

  Fortieth, "Surety'' or "Sureties'', when used with reference to a fidelity bond of an officer or employee of a county, city, town or district, shall mean a surety company authorized to transact business in the commonwealth.

  Forty-first, "Population'', when used in connection with the number of inhabitants of a county, city, town or district, shall mean the population as determined by the last preceding national census.

[ There is no clause Forty-second.]

  Forty-third, "Veteran'' shall mean (1) any person, (a) whose last discharge or release from his wartime service as defined herein, was under honorable conditions and who (b) served in the army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, or air force of the United States, or on full time national guard duty under Titles 10 or 32 of the United States Code or under sections 38, 40 and 41 of chapter 33 for not less than 90 days active service, at least 1 day of which was for wartime service; provided, however, than any person who so served in wartime and was awarded a service-connected disability or a Purple Heart, or who died in such service under conditions other than dishonorable, shall be deemed to be a veteran notwithstanding his failure to complete 90 days of active service; (2) a member of the American Merchant Marine who served in armed conflict between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946, and who has received honorable discharges from the United States Coast Guard, Army, or Navy; (3) any person (a) whose last discharge from active service was under honorable conditions, and who (b) served in the army, navy, marine corps, coast guard, or air force of the United States for not less than 180 days active service; provided, however, that any person who so served and was awarded a service-connected disability or who died in such service under conditions other than dishonorable, shall be deemed to be a veteran notwithstanding his failure to complete 180 days of active service.

  "Wartime service'' shall mean service performed by a "Spanish War veteran'', a "World War I veteran'', a "World War II veteran'', a "Korean veteran'', a "Vietnam veteran'', a "Lebanese peace keeping force veteran'', a "Grenada rescue mission veteran'', a "Panamanian intervention force veteran'', a "Persian Gulf veteran'', or a member of the "WAAC'' as defined in this clause during any of the periods of time described herein or for which such medals described below are awarded.

  "Spanish War veteran'' shall mean any veteran who performed such wartime service between February fifteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight and July fourth, nineteen hundred and two.

  "World War I veteran'' shall mean any veteran who (a) performed such wartime service between April sixth, nineteen hundred and seventeen and November eleventh, nineteen hundred and eighteen, or (b) has been awarded the World War I Victory Medal, or (c) performed such service between March twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and seventeen and August fifth, nineteen hundred and seventeen, as a Massachusetts National Guardsman.

  "World War II veteran'' shall mean any veteran who performed such wartime service between September 16, 1940 and July 25, 1947, and was awarded a World War II Victory Medal, except that for the purposes of chapter 31 it shall mean all active service between the dates of September 16, 1940 and June 25, 1950.

  "Korean veteran'' shall mean any veteran who performed such wartime service between June twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and fifty and January thirty-first, nineteen hundred and fifty-five, both dates inclusive, and any person who has received the Korea Defense Service Medal as established in the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2003.

  "Korean emergency'' shall mean the period between June twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and fifty and January thirty-first, nineteen hundred and fifty-five, both dates inclusive.

  "Vietnam veteran'' shall mean (1) any person who performed such wartime service during the period commencing August fifth, nineteen hundred and sixty-four and ending on May seventh, nineteen hundred and seventy-five, both dates inclusive, or (2) any person who served at least one hundred and eighty days of active service in the armed forces of the United States during the period between February first, nineteen hundred and fifty-five and August fourth, nineteen hundred and sixty-four; provided, however, that for the purposes of the application of the provisions of chapter thirty-one, it shall also include all active service between the dates May seventh, nineteen hundred and seventy-five and June fourth, nineteen hundred and seventy-six; and provided, further, that any such person who served in said armed forces during said period and was awarded a service-connected disability or a Purple Heart, or who died in said service under conditions other than dishonorable, shall be deemed to be a veteran notwithstanding his failure to complete one hundred and eighty days of active service.

  "Lebanese peace keeping force veteran'' shall mean any person who performed such wartime service and received a campaign medal for such service during the period commencing August twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and eighty-two and ending when the President of the United States shall have withdrawn armed forces from the country of Lebanon.

  "Grenada rescue mission veteran'' shall mean any person who performed such wartime service and received a campaign medal for such service during the period commencing October twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and eighty-three to December fifteenth, nineteen hundred and eighty-three, inclusive.

  "Panamanian intervention force veteran'' shall mean any person who performed such wartime service and received a campaign medal for such service during the period commencing December twentieth, nineteen hundred and eighty-nine and ending January thirty-first, nineteen hundred and ninety.

  "Persian Gulf veteran'' shall mean any person who performed such wartime service during the period commencing August second, nineteen hundred and ninety and ending on a date to be determined by presidential proclamation or executive order and concurrent resolution of the Congress of the United States.

  "WAAC'' shall mean any woman who was discharged and so served in any corps or unit of the United States established for the purpose of enabling women to serve with, or as auxiliary to, the armed forces of the United States and such woman shall be deemed to be a veteran.

  None of the following shall be deemed to be a "veteran'':

  (a) Any person who at the time of entering into the armed forces of the United States had declared his intention to become a subject or citizen of the United States and withdrew his intention under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July ninth, nineteen hundred and eighteen.

  (b) Any person who was discharged from the said armed forces on his own application or solicitation by reason of his being an enemy alien.

  (c) Any person who has been proved guilty of wilful desertion.

  (d) Any person whose only service in the armed forces of the United States consists of his service as a member of the coast guard auxiliary or as a temporary member of the coast guard reserve, or both.

  (e) Any person whose last discharge or release from the armed forces is dishonorable.

  "Armed forces'' shall include army, navy, marine corps, air force and coast guard.

  "Active service in the armed forces'', as used in this clause shall not include active duty for training in the army national guard or air national guard or active duty for training as a reservist in the armed forces of the United States.

  Forty-fourth, "Registered mail'', when used with reference to the sending of notice or of any article having no intrinsic value shall include certified mail.

  Forty-fifth, "Pledge'', "Mortgage'', "Conditional Sale'', "Lien'', "Assignment'' and like terms, when used in referring to a security interest in personal property shall include a corresponding type of security interest under chapter one hundred and six of the General Laws, the Uniform Commercial Code.

  Forty-sixth, "Forester'', "state forester'' and "state fire warden'' shall mean the commissioner of environmental management or his designee.

  Forty-seventh, "Fire fighter'', "fireman'' or "permanent member of a fire department'', shall include the chief or other uniformed officer performing similar duties, however entitled, and all other fire officers of a fire department, including, without limitation, any permanent crash crewman, crash boatman, fire controlman or assistant fire controlman employed at the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, or members of the Massachusetts military reservation fire department.

  Forty-eighth, "Minor'' shall mean any person under eighteen years of age.

  Forty-ninth, "Full age'' shall mean eighteen years of age or older.

  Fiftieth, "Adult'' shall mean any person who has attained the age of eighteen.

  Fifty-first, "Age of majority'' shall mean eighteen years of age.

  Fifty-second, "Superior court'' shall mean the superior court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court.

  Fifty-third, "Land court'' shall mean the land court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court.

  Fifty-fourth, "Probate court'', "court of insolvency'' or "probate and insolvency court'' shall mean a division of the probate and family court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court.

  Fifty-fifth, "Housing court'' shall mean a division of the housing court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court.

  Fifty-sixth, "District court'' or "municipal court'' shall mean a division of the district court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court, except that when the context means something to the contrary, said words shall include the Boston municipal court department.

  Fifty-seventh, "Municipal court of the city of Boston'' shall mean the Boston municipal court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court.

  Fifty-eighth, "Juvenile court'' shall mean a division of the juvenile court department of the trial court, or a session thereof for holding court.

  Fifty-ninth, "Gender identity'' shall mean a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person's core identity; provided, however, that gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.

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