Mayor Thomas Menino is supporting a renewed focus on education and public safety for the 2013-14 legislative session, he announced Tuesday.
During a short press conference attended by state legislators, their aides and others, Menino presented the city’s 2013-14 legislative initiative package, which features 49 bills including 24 new initiatives.
“The concentration of those new bills is on the public schools and education and also on public safety,” Menino said. “We were fortunate enough a couple of years ago to get the educational reform bill through, and that gave us some tools to really move some of our schools forward, and we’re going to file another bill on educational reform with Representative [Martha] Walz.”
Among the new education-related legislation the mayor supports:
• An Act to Promote Public School Success—A bill that seeks to provide further autonomy and support to “turnaround,” “innovation” and Horace Mann charter schools;
• An Act Relative to Special Education Evaluation and Referral—A bill designed to help ease the transition from early childhood special-education programs to public schools for students and their families.
On the subject of public safety, Menino’s legislative initiatives include establishment of a gun offender registry, creation of a statewide “gang prevention task force” and sentencing reform that follows up on the habitual offender legislation passed during the 2012-13 session.
“We in Massachusetts have probably the toughest laws when it comes to public safety, and this package reinforces some of those laws we have and also reinforces what the vice president will announce on Wednesday,” Menino said.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to hold a press event on Wednesday, Jan. 16, where they will unveil a package aimed at reducing gun violence and preventing future tragedies like the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
Menino also spoke of his position as co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
“There’s a group of us down in Washington right now talking to our congressmen and -women, asking them to help us,” Menino said. "We all heard the other day when the NRA made some ridiculous statements about guns. This is about public safety for all. Sixty-two percent of the people we surveyed, who are NRA members, support more regulations. It’s about making our streets safer.”
One proposal, “An Act to Establish a Gun Offender Registry,” would require defendants who are convicted of certain gun crimes to register their addresses with police, to verify their address in person every six months and to notify police if they change addresses for a period of time after their conviction or period of incarceration.
A sampling of other new bills included in the mayor’s 2013-14 legislative initiatives package:
• An Act Relative to Dangerous Dogs—This bill would provide an opt-out provision in the 2012 Animal Control Law so cities and towns could pass breed-specific rules based on municipal attack data. In particular, the bill could help resurrect Boston’s pit bull ordinance.
• An Act to Promote Worksite Safety and Restoration of Local Roads—This bill would clarify the city’s ability to enforce Department of Public Utilities regulations for work zone safety and roadway repair and establish fines for non-compliance with these regulations, among other changes.
• And several bills involving environmental regulation, such as “An Act to Establish Steam Utility Energy Efficiency Standards” and a bill requiring all commercial tenant spaces to be sub-metered by 2025 in an effort to promote energy efficiency in large buildings.
A full summary of the mayor's 2013-14 legislative initiatives can be viewed as a PDF in the gallery above or on the mayor's website at cityofboston.gov.