SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Governor Charlie Baker and his administration, are rolling out new legislation designed to help local governments function more safely during the coronavirus outbreak.
The bill announced at a press conference where the governor also criticized federal lawmakers for partisan bickering over the COVID-19 stimulus package.
Even when an emergency strikes, local governments can’t just change protocol that is in the law books.
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Karyn Polito said that the governor's bill would help ease some of the strict regulations that help the government-run in times of peace.
"For them to be more flexible and make decisions and respond to the needs of their community, there are some things that we, the executive branch and the legislature, will need to do to support them," Lt. Gov. Polito explained.
Lt. Gov. Polito along with Gov. Baker, announcing legislation to help local governments run more effectively during the coronavirus pandemic.
For first responders, the bill would allow electronic signatures on warrants and criminal complaints...to cut down on in-person criminal proceedings.
"It would also allow qualified workers like retired city employees to step in and help if regulars on the job get sick," Lt. Gov. Polito explained.
School districts would be allowed to suspend 2021 budget votes.
"And under the bill, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education can modify or waive the required competency determination for high school graduation..." and "...Modify or waive the MCAS testing requirement.”
Baker, who Tuesday lauded decisive actions already taken by local governments, lambasted federal lawmakers for failing to do the same with the coronavirus stimulus package.
"Make a deal. Make a deal," Lt. Gov. Polito said.
Closer to home, nonessential businesses, such as M.J. Norton Security have now closed their doors for the next two weeks, per the governor's order.
Western Mass News spoke with M.J. Norton Security manager, Lisa Young over video chat.
"I think the main concern is everybody’s just worried about being away," Young said.
Representatives with the company said they've seen an increase in business owners requesting surveillance on the temporarily empty buildings
"Right now we have about 20 to 30 clients that have increased their coverage. If we get enough feedback, we can do a roving patrol in an area," Young explained.
They said their goal, is to help the business community feel secure, so they can focus on helping their employees rather than worrying about potential break-ins.
"A visible deterrent," Young said.
Young also said they know the local police force will be out patrolling as well.
With respect to Baker's bill to help local governments, it will still have to be approved by the legislature before it can go into effect.