With a desk piled high with legislation from the final frantic days of formal sessions last week, Gov. Charlie Baker signed 53 bills into law Thursday, including a version of his legislation to expand access for opioid addiction treatment and recovery services and a bill that will accelerate the state' adoption of clean energy resources.
The governor, according to his office, also signed into law bills to implement automatic voter registration by 2020, improve care for those suffering from Alzheimer's disease, extend new benefits to veterans, protect animals from inhumane treatment, allow firefighters to enroll in smoking cessation programs before losing their jobs, and improve background checks for early education professionals in compliance with federal rules.
Much of the $2.4 billion environmental borrowing bill to enhance the state's climate change preparedness also won the governor's signature, but he did veto one section of the bond bill and returned five more with amendments.
Baker vetoed a section of the bill that would have transferred oversight of agricultural composting from the Department of Agricultural Resources to the Department of Environmental Protection.
The amendments returned to the Legislature recommended changes to a proposal to allow the delivery of unpasteurized milk, to the financing of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership, to a transfer in ownership of Willet Pond in Norwood to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and to the membership and charge of new commission to study options for state acquisition of land prone to flooding.
The governor also filed an amendment that would push out a deadline by five months for the Department of Transportation to complete a study of roadway lighting.
Aides to the governor said Thursday that Baker will sign a sales tax holiday for this weekend, but is still reviewing a significant economic development bill that includes reforms to employers' use of non-compete agreements.
The deadline for the governor to sign, veto or amend the economic development bill is Saturday.