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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE III LAWS RELATING TO STATE OFFICERS
  • CHAPTER 29 STATE FINANCE
  • Section 27C Certain laws, rules, etc. relating to costs or assessments effective only by vote of acceptance or appropriation; written notice requesting determination; class actions

Section 27C. Notwithstanding any special or general law to the contrary:

(a) Any law taking effect on or after January 1, 1981 imposing any direct service or cost obligation upon any city or town shall be effective in any city or town only if such law is accepted by vote or by the appropriation of money for such purposes, in the case of a city by the city council in accordance with its charter, and in the case of a town by a town meeting, unless the general court, at the same session in which such law is enacted, provides, by general law and by appropriation, for the assumption by the commonwealth of such cost, exclusive of incidental local administration expenses and unless the general court provides by appropriation in each successive year for such assumption.

(b) Any law taking effect on or after January 1, 1981 granting or increasing exemptions from local taxation shall be effective in any city or town only if the general court, at the same session in which such law is enacted, provides by general law and by appropriation for payment by the commonwealth to each city and town of any loss of taxes resulting from such exemption.

(c) Any administrative rule or regulation taking effect on or after January 1, 1981 which shall result in the imposition of additional costs upon any city or town shall not be effective until the general court has provided by general law and by appropriation for the assumption by the commonwealth of such cost, exclusive of incidental local administration expenses and unless the general court provides by appropriation in each successive year for such assumption.

(d) Any city or town, any committee of the general court, and either house of the general court by a majority vote of its members, may submit written notice to the division of local mandates, established under section 6 of chapter 11, requesting that the division determine whether the costs imposed by the commonwealth by any law, rule or regulation subject to this section have been paid in full by the commonwealth in the preceding year and, if not, the amount of any deficiency in such payments. The division shall make public its determination within 60 days after such notice.

(e) Any city or town, or any 10 taxable inhabitants of any city or town may in a class action suit petition the superior court alleging that under subsections (a), (b) and (c) of this section with respect to a general or special law or rule or regulation of any administrative agency of the commonwealth under which any city or town is required to expend funds in anticipation of reimbursement by the commonwealth, the amount necessary for such reimbursement has not been included in the general or any special appropriation bill for any year. Any city or town, or any 10 taxable inhabitants of any city or town may in a class action suit petition the superior court alleging that under subsections (a), (b) and (c) of this section with respect to any general or special law, or rule or regulation of any administrative agency of the commonwealth which imposes additional costs on any city or town or which grants or increases exemptions from local taxation, the amount necessary to reimburse such city or town has not been included in the general or any special appropriation bill for any year. The determination of the amount of deficiency provided by the division of local mandates under subsection (d) of this section shall be prima facie evidence of the amount necessary. The superior court shall determine the amount of the deficiency, if any, and shall order that said city or town be exempt from such general or special law, or rule or regulation of any administrative agency until the commonwealth shall reimburse such city or town the amount of said deficiency or additional costs or shall repeal such exemption from local taxation.

(f) Any of the parties permitted to submit written notice to the division of local mandates under subsection (d) of this section may submit written notice to the division requesting that the division determine the total annual financial effect for a period of not less than 3 years of any proposed law or rule or regulation of any administrative agency of the commonwealth. The division shall make public its determination within 60 days of such notice.

(g) Notwithstanding subsection (a), (b) and (c), any city or town shall be allowed to accept any law, rule or regulation specified by said subsections whether or not such law, rule or regulation is funded by the commonwealth.

(h) This section shall apply to regional school districts and educational collaboratives organized under section 4E of chapter 40, to the same extent as it applies to cities and towns. A regional school district may accept a law, rule or regulation by vote of its school committee and an educational collaborative by vote of its board of directors.

(i) This section shall not apply to any costs to cities and towns or exemptions to local taxation resulting from a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, or to any law, rule or regulation enacted or promulgated as a direct result of such a decision.