April 24, 2012: In an outstanding show of support for the Community Preservation Act, the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed the long-awaited CPA legislation Monday evening (4/23). The roll call vote was taken just after 8pm, with 155 representatives voting YES and none opposed. Next stop for the CPA legislation is the Massachusetts Senate, which will take up the proposal as part of their debate on the state budget in mid-May.
Monday's vote was an opportunity for CPA to shine. The CPA legislation had been filed as an amendment to the House's version of the state budget. House Ways and Means Committee Vice-Chairman Stephen Kulik and House Minority Leader Bradley Jones introduced the amendment at about 7:30pm, and many other legislative supporters followed them to the podium to speak about CPA. Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo then introduced Representative Paul Schmid of Westport who delivered his maiden House speech in support of the amendment. After an extended ovation, Speaker DeLeo opened the roll call vote and then announced the final tally.
The amendment's language contains the full text of An Act to Sustain Community Preservation (HB 765), with one exception. The funding mechanism in the amendment that passed is an annual transfer of $25 million from the state's end-of-year budget surplus into the CPA Statewide Trust Fund, rather than an increase in the registry of deeds recording fees. Click here for the State House News article on the House vote.
If it passes in the Senate and is signed by the Governor, $25 million from the state's budget surplus would be added each year to the revenue from the existing CPA deeds recording fees, beginning with the Fall 2013 CPA Trust Fund payment. All of the other provisions of HB 765 are included in this budget amendment, including the changes to the rules for CPA recreation projects.
You can read the full text of the amendment here.
The Coalition is grateful to Vice Chairman Kulik, Minority Leader Jones, Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, Speaker Bob DeLeo, our many CPA legislative supporters in the House, and the 100+ statewide organizations who advocated for this important legislation. But most of all we are grateful to you, the CPA advocates across the state. Through your hard work on CPA at both the local and state level, you have created a program that is a national model. Congratulations on this important milestone!