Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Boston City Council Looks At Gas Safety, Opioid Crisis, Voter Registration & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered the following items and more at their September 12 and September 19, 2018 meetings:

Today (September 19), we declared September 24-30 as Climate Preparedness Week in the City of Boston! Next week, community leaders are hosting events around greater Boston to help prepare residents for the dangerous impacts of climate change and extreme weather. For more information or to find out about activities near you, check out climatecrew.org/prepweek.

Appointments & Confirmations:

  • Kara Elliott-Ortega as the new Chief of Arts and Culture after the departure of Chief Julie Burros, effective September 3.
  • Cathleen Douglas Stone confirmed to be reappointed to the Boston Water & Sewer Commission.
Public Accommodations Protections: The Council voted (11-0, Councilors Flaherty & Zakim absent) to adopt Councilor O’Malley’s resolution in support of voting yes on Question 3 on this year’s ballot, which asks voters whether to maintain the anti-discrimination and public accommodation laws passed in 2016 to protect the rights of transgender people. This referendum is the first attempt in the country to repeal transgender public accommodation laws. Voting Yes would preserve the statewide anti-discrimination protections.

Gas Infrastructure: Councilors O’Malley, Flynn and Pressley called for a hearing to examine the safety of gas infrastructure in the city and look at our emergency preparedness measures in the face of risks from gas leaks and incidents. In the wake of what happened in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover, we need to make sure that natural gas companies have the standards to ensure the safety of neighborhoods, and that the City is taking all the necessary steps to ensure this disaster is not repeated. Specifically, the Councilors called for discussing natural gas safety features such as automatic shutoff valves, communications strategies to inform residents through multiple sources about disaster preparedness, and optimized coordination with utilities. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability & Parks for a hearing.

Opioid Crisis: Councilor Essaibi-George filed a hearing order in compliance with open meeting law as the Council and Boston State Delegation convene a working session regarding a collaborative approach to tackle the opioid crisis on Monday, September 24th, at 10AM in the Curley Room at City Hall. She noted that the meeting will be open to the public, but there will be no public testimony taken.

Voter Registration: Councilors Pressley, Edwards & Zakim called for a hearing to discuss the possibility of requiring landlords in Boston to provide voter registration information to new tenants when they sign a lease. The Councilors emphasized that nearly 64% of Bostonians are renters, and voter turnout has hovered around 30%. Other cities around the country have implemented ordinances with this requirement. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Civil Rights for a hearing.

Upcoming Hearings (In the City Council Chamber unless otherwise noted. Watch Live or At Your Leisure )

  • Thursday, 9/20, 5:30pm: Working Session re: East Boston Master Plan (Planning, Development, and Transportation)[Offsite at the East Boston YMCA, 215 Bremen Street]
  • Monday, 9/24, 10am: Working Session re: the opioid crisis (Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery)[Curley Room]
  • Thursday, 9/27, 12pm: Hearing re: land disposition and stewardship (Planning, Development, and Transportation)
  • Monday, 10/1, 3pm: Hearing to review the Boston Public School's strategies to serve off-track youth (Education)
  • Tuesday, 10/2, 1pm: Hearing re: plans regarding reconstruction of the Long Island Bridge and the reopening of service facilities (Planning, Development, and Transportation; Homelessness, Mental Health and Recovery)
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on September 26, 2018 at 12pm
For complete notes on Boston City Council meetings, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically. 

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