Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mass. Law About Unions and Collective Bargaining

In light of the news out of Wisconsin, we've added a page on Massachusetts Law About Unions and Collective Bargaining. Here you can find Massachusetts laws and regulations, as well as federal sources and other websites on the topic.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unemployment Insurance Rates Frozen

Last week, Gov. Patrick signed St.2011, c.2 (added by S00008), which freezes employer contributions to unemployment insurance. "Without this legislation employers would have seen an average increase of $228 per employee,” said Governor Patrick. “We want to encourage a positive climate for employers and by signing this bill we are helping to position the state for continued economic recovery.”  See the Governor's Press release for more information about the law. For more on unemployment in Massachusetts, see Mass. Law About Unemployment.

Conscience Clause Regulations Updated

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued new regulations amending 45 CFR Part 88 to continue to allow health care workers to refuse to perform abortions or sterilizations, but to "rescind[] those parts of the 2008 Final Rule that were unclear and potentially overbroad in scope. ...The Department partially rescinds the 2008 Final Rule based on concerns expressed that it had the potential to negatively impact patient access to contraception and certain other medical services without a basis in federal conscience protection statutes." The new regulations will appear in the February 23, 2011 Federal Register and will be effective 30 days after publication. More information is available from the Washington Post.

Transgender Equal Rights

Earlier this month, Governor Patrick issued two executive orders, 526 and 527, which extend the state's equal rights protections to gender identity and expression, effective February 17, 2011. The orders cover state workers and employees of private companies that contract with the state. These and all other executive orders are available at Mass. Executive Orders. More information is available at Boston.com.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

File a Police Report Online

According to yesterday's Patriot Ledger, Weymouth has joined three other Massachusetts towns-- Fall River, Natick and Peabody-- in allowing citizens to file police reports online. "Capt. Joseph Comperchio, the department’s executive officer, said the new system will free up officers’ time to focus on more serious crimes instead of having to write reports on traffic complaints, lost property and other cases in which the perpetrator is not known....Comperchio said it’s not intended to be used to report crimes with a known suspect or in emergencies, and officers will still respond whenever a caller requests one." Here are links to the four towns' reporting systems:
If you know of other towns with online reporting systems, please let us know!

Drunk Driving License Suspensions Clarified

In DiGREGORIO vs. REGISTRAR OF MOTOR VEHICLES, issued today, the Appeals Court ruled that when relying on an out-of-state drunk driving conviction to impose a license suspension, the suspension begins with the date of conviction, not the date the registry found out about it. G.L. c. 90, § 24 (1)(c )(3) reads in part: "the registrar shall not restore the license or reinstate the right to operate to such person, unless the prosecution of such person has terminated in favor of the defendant, until eight years after the date of conviction." According to the court, "Courts must follow unambiguous statutory language "unless 'following the Legislature's literal command would lead to an absurd result, or one contrary to the Legislature's manifest intention.'"" More information is available at Boston.com.