Thursday, August 28, 2008

State Withdraws Lead Jewelry Regulations

The much-disputed regulations that limited lead levels in children's jewelry, 105 CMR 650 amendments, have been withdrawn by the Department of Public Health following enactment of a new federal law, PL 110-314, sec.101, that sets lead limits for children's jewelry. They say, "Under this legislation, children's jewelry must meet a total lead content standard of no more than 600 ppm as of February 14, 2009, with reductions to follow. Massachusetts' long-sought objective of better protecting children from dangerous levels of lead in children's jewelry will thus be achieved nationally. Given the pre-emptive nature of the federal legislation, the Department of Public Health now withdraws its model children's jewelry regulations."

More information on lead paint rules and regulations is available at Mass. Law About Lead Paint.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Laws by Popular Name

One of the hazards of doing legal research electronically is that if your exact search terms are not in the document you need, you won't find it. Since many laws and regulations are known by a popular name, like the lemon law or Megan's law, they can be hard to locate. To help the researcher, our site includes a table of Massachusetts Laws by Popular Name, compiled by librarians. The table includes entries such as bottle bill, Jessica's law, spite fence, and Title 5. It also includes links to cases or law review entries when appropriate, such as the listings for Duquette waiver and Ginsberg formula for alimony. The newest addition is Yolanda's Law, signed last week, which improves children's mental health treatment in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gifts to Doctors Limited

On August 10, 2008, Gov. Patrick signed St.2008, c.305, which limits the gifts pharmaceutical companies can give to health care providers. According to the Boston Globe, the law bans "certain types of gifts such as sports tickets and free travel, and requires that pharmaceutical and medical device-making firms publicly disclose gifts worth more than $50."

"The new law also provides $25 million to promote electronic medical record-keeping in doctors' offices, requires the state university to graduate more primary care doctors, and gives regulators the power to hold hearings when health insurers want to raise premiums."

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Guardianship Petition

Earlier this week, the Mass. Probate and Family Court released a new form for Guardianship Petition (CJ-P 110). The new form requires more detailed information, and furthers the objectives of the new medical certificate required with all guardianship requests.

According to the press release, " This new petition is designed to protect proposed wards and to ensure that judges have the information they need in order to craft a guardianship, if appropriate, that interferes with an individual’s personal liberty only to the extent necessary... Petitions for limited guardianship rather than full guardianship are encouraged, if possible, in order to fully protect the proposed ward’s individual autonomy and personal liberty interests." The new form will be required effective September 1, 2008.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jessica's Law and Statutory Rape

On July 24, Gov. Patrick signed a modified "Jessica's Law," St.2008, c.205, which provides for minimum mandatory sentences for certain sexual crimes against children.

One of the changes in the law refines statutory rape laws. It still remains a crime for anyone of any age to have sex with a child under 16 under MGL c.268, s.23, but Jessica's Law has added a new MGL c.268, s.23A, which provides a 10-year minimum sentence for statutory rape in the following instances:
  1. The child is under 12 and the defendant is more than 5 years older
  2. The child is between 12 and 16 and the defendant is more than 10 years older
  3. The defendant is a mandatory reporter under MGL c.119, s.21

More information on sex crimes and their consequences is available at Mass. Law About Sex Offenders.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 Unemployment Handbook is Now Online

The 2008 DUA Service Representatives' Handbook is available online from Mass. Legal Services. This handbook is invaluable for those dealing with unemployment claims and includes:

  • "Able and available"
  • "Suitable work"
  • Voluntary leaving
  • Discharge-suspension-conviction
  • Other pay and benefits
  • Special determinations (includes aliens and school employees among others)
  • General determinations
  • Procedural instructions
  • Monetary consideration
This and many more sources are linked from Mass. Law About Unemployment.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Mass. City and Town Bylaws

Today we've added links to bylaws from twenty more Massachusetts towns to our list of city and town bylaws available on the web, bringing the total to over 250. There are over 350 cities and towns in Massachusetts, though, so if you know of bylaws available on the web that we've missed, please let us know!