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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO INITIATIVE PETITIONS IN THE CITY KNOWN AS THE TOWN OF GREENFIELD.

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
      Section 7-7 of the charter of the city known as the town of Greenfield, which is on file in the office of the archivist of the commonwealth, as provided in section 12 of chapter 43B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by striking out subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 5 subsections:-
      (a)  Commencement - Initiative procedures shall be started by the filing of a proposed initiative petition with the town clerk. The petition shall be addressed to the town council or to the school committee, shall contain a request for the passage of a particular measure which shall be set forth in full in the petition, and shall be signed by not less than 10 voters of the town. The petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit signed by 5 voters and containing their residential address, stating they will constitute the petitioners committee and be responsible for circulating the petition and filing it in proper form and shall indicate which member shall serve as clerk of the petitioners committee.
      (b)  Referral to Town Attorney - The town clerk shall, following receipt of each such proposed petition, deliver a copy of the petition to the town attorney. The town attorney shall, not later than 15 days after receipt of a copy of the petition, in writing, advise the town council or the school committee, as may be appropriate, whether: (i) the measure as proposed may lawfully be proposed by the initiative process; (ii) whether, in its present form it may be lawfully adopted by the town council or the school committee; and (iii) whether the town clerk may issue blank forms as provided pursuant to paragraph 7-7(c). If the opinion of the town attorney is that the measure fails in any respect, the reply shall state the reasons for that opinion, in full. A copy of the opinion of the town attorney shall also be mailed to the person designated as clerk of the petitioners committee.
      (c)  Submission to Town Clerk - If the opinion of the town attorney is that the petition is eligible pursuant to section 7-7(b), the town clerk shall provide blank forms for the use of subsequent signers, and shall print at the top of each blank a fair, concise summary of the proposed measure, as determined by the town attorney, together with the names and addresses of the first 10 voters who signed the originating petition. Not later than 90 days following the date the blank forms are issued by the town clerk, the petitions shall be returned and filed with the town clerk signed by not less than 10 per cent of the total number of voters voting in the most recent biennial town election, but not less than 5 per cent of all registered voters on the same date. Signatures to an initiative petition need not all be on 1 paper, but all such papers pertaining to a measure shall be fastened together and filed as a single instrument, with the endorsement thereon of the name and residence address of the person designated as filing the same. With each signature on the petition there shall also appear the street and number of the residence of each signer.
      Not later than 10 days after the filing of the petition, the board of registrars of voters shall ascertain by what number of voters the petition has been signed, and what percentage that number is of the total number of voters as of the date of the most recent regular biennial town election. The town clerk shall attach to the petition a certificate showing the results of the town clerk’s examination and shall return the petition to the clerk of the council or the secretary of the school committee according to how the petition is addressed. A copy of the board of registrars of voters certificate shall also be mailed to the person designated as clerk of the petitioners committee.
      (d)  Action on Petitions - Not later than 60 days after the date a petition is returned to the clerk of the council or the secretary of the school committee by the town clerk, and after publication in accordance with section 2-9(c), the town council or the school committee shall act with respect to each initiative petition by passing it without change, by passing a measure which is stated to be in lieu of the initiative measure or by rejecting it. The passage of a measure which is in lieu of an initiative measure shall be considered a rejection of the initiative measure. If the town council or the school committee fails to act with respect to any initiative measure which is presented to it not later than 60 days after the date it is returned to it by the town clerk, the measure shall be considered to have been rejected on the sixtieth day. If an initiative measure is rejected, the town clerk shall promptly give notice of that fact by certified mail to the person designated as clerk of the petitioners committee.
      (e)  Supplementary Petitions - Not later than 60 days after the date an initiative petition has been rejected, a supplemental initiative petition may be filed with the town clerk by the petitioner's committee as determined in section 7-7(a). The supplemental initiative petition shall be in the same form as the initial petition and signed by a number of additional voters which is equal or greater than 5 per cent of the total number of voters voting in the most recent regular biennial town election, but not less than 2 ½ per cent of all registered voters as of the same date. If the number of signatures to a supplemental petition is found to be sufficient by the town clerk, the town council shall call a special election to be held on a date fixed by it that is not less than 120 nor more than 180 days after the date of the certificate of the town clerk that a sufficient number of voters have signed the supplemental initiative petition, and shall submit the proposed measure, without alteration, to the voters for determination; provided, however, that if the next regular biennial town election is to be held not later than 1 year after the date of the certificate, the town council may omit the calling of a special election and cause the question to appear on the election ballot at the approaching election for determination by the voters at that election

Approved, January 11, 2017