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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3J: MOBD partnerships with regional economic development organizations

Section 3J. (a) The Massachusetts office of business development shall partner with regional economic development organizations to establish a plan to support regionally based efforts to grow and retain existing businesses and attract new business to the commonwealth. To implement the regional plan and to provide efficient and consistent responses to businesses seeking assistance from the commonwealth, the office shall create a regional economic development program. To implement the program, the office shall contract with regional economic development organizations, as defined in section 3K. The contracts and reimbursements shall be designed to support regionally based efforts to stimulate, encourage, facilitate and nurture economic growth and prosperity in the commonwealth including, but not limited to, the identification of regional competitive strengths, challenges and opportunities, regional cluster development strategies, long-range regional workforce skills, pipeline, transportation and land use planning and other systems-based activities related to the growth and retention of existing businesses and the attraction of new businesses into the commonwealth. The contracts shall support a network of partnerships between regional economic development organizations and the Massachusetts office of business development.

The Massachusetts office of business development shall locate staff throughout the regions of the commonwealth in order to establish efficient and rapid access to all state government and quasi-public business services. The Massachusetts office of business development shall provide information to the regional economic development organizations about state economic development, business assistance, capital access and incentive programs, marketing activities and programs offered by agencies, authorities and private entities.

(b) Each contract shall include performance criteria specific to the contracting organization developed under section 16G of chapter 6A and uniform standards for the use of contract funds related to accounting procedures, personnel practices, purchasing procedures and conflict of interest rules. As a condition to its receipt of funds, the contracting organization shall agree to follow these standards and to perform the contracted services in conformity with conflict of interest rules which shall include provisions requiring that in any matter in which a person, corporation or other business entity in which any partner is in any way interested, such interest shall be disclosed in advance and that no partner having such an interest may participate in a decision relating to such person, corporation or other business entity. The contracting organization shall submit its audited financial statements annually to the state auditor and shall be subject to an audit by the state auditor, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards, as often as the state auditor determines is necessary.

(c) The Massachusetts office of business development shall establish standard governance provisions to be required of regional economic development organizations that contract with the commonwealth as provided in this section. The standards shall include the participation of local government officials and a broad range of regional representatives of businesses, nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, planning professionals, organizations and economic and workforce development professionals.

(d) Contracts for services entered into under this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following services to be performed by the regional economic development organizations on behalf of the commonwealth: (i) assessing regional competitive strengths, weaknesses and opportunities; (ii) representing the regional business community in long-range workforce skills pipeline planning efforts to ensure robust skills and talent pipelines that meet regional needs; (iii) representing the regional business community in collaborative, long-range workforce skills, transportation and land use planning; (iv) promoting regionally significant industry clusters; (v) promoting connections across sectors of the regional economy; (vi) maintaining an inventory of key development parcels; (vii) marketing the region in coordination with the Massachusetts marketing partnership established under section 13A; and (viii) furnishing advice and assistance to businesses and industrial prospects which may locate in the region.