Baker signs fiscal challenges bill


Gov. Charlie Baker signed H.4617, a bill to address challenges facing municipalities and state authorities resulting from COVID-19 issues, according to the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

The bill, which was passed late Thursday by the House and Senate, loosens certain requirements and deadlines in state law, particularly with town meetings and budgets. The bill also takes effect immediately and contains many provisions of two previous bills filed by Baker such as allowing takeout restaurants to sell alcohol.

Some of the bill’s provisions are allowing town meetings to be delayed beyond June 30, and allowing town moderators to recess and continue town meetings.

Towns will be able to adopt temporary fiscal 2021 budgets if the town is unable to adopt an annual budget by June 30. If the COVID-19 emergency delays adoption of a budget, towns may be able to use undesignated funds or free cash certified by the Division of Local Services.