Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding section 22A of chapter 55 of the General Laws, section 21C of chapter 59 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the board of selectmen of the town of Dedham shall, at least 10 days before any election at which a binding or nonbinding question shall be submitted solely to the voters of said town cause to be printed and sent to each residence of 1 or more voters whose name appears on the latest active voting list for said town and make available at each polling place (1) the full text of the question; (2) a fair and concise summary of the question, including a 1 sentence statement describing the effect of a yes or no vote, prepared by the town counsel of said town; and (3) arguments for and against such question as provided in section 2.
SECTION 2. The board of selectmen of the town of Dedham shall cause to be printed and sent, in the manner provided in section 1, arguments for and against each question submitted solely to the voters of said town pursuant to any General Law, including but not limited to, section 21C of chapter 59 of the General Laws. No argument shall contain more than 250 words. Said board of selectmen, or, at its request the town counsel shall seek such written arguments from the principal proponents and opponents of each such question. Said board of selectmen shall designate a date by which written arguments must be received, in a written notice to the principal proponents or opponents. Said notice must be issued at least 14 days before the date by which the written arguments must be received.
For the purposes of this act, the principal proponents and opponents of any such question shall be those persons determined by said board of selectmen to be best able to present the arguments for and against such question. The principal proponents or opponents of such a question may include a town officer or committee, and the principal proponents may include the first 10 signers or a majority of the first 10 signers or any petition initiating the placement of such question on the ballot. In determining the principal proponents and opponents of such a question, said board of selectmen shall contact each ballot question committee, if any, as defined in section 1 of chapter 55 of the General Laws, organized specifically to influence the outcome of the vote on such question. If no argument is received by said board of selectmen within the time allowed by this act, said town counsel shall prepare such argument.
All arguments filed with or prepared by the board of selectmen under this act, and the summary prepared under section 1, shall be open to public inspection at the office of the town clerk of said town.
SECTION 3. The official ballot shall include the summary and statements describing the effect of a yes or no vote as provided in clause (2) of section 1.
SECTION 4. This act shall also apply where the question presented involves the regional district of which the town of Dedham is a member or involves a joint undertaking by said town of Dedham and any 1 or more cities or towns.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon its passage.