Bill To Change Massachusetts Lead Laws Clears First Committee Review

8/11/2015

Currently pending before the Massachusetts House and Senate is Bill H.2049, which would amend MGL c. 62, Section 6(e) to increase tax credits to property owners who have lead abatement work performed on their properties. The proposed tax credits would increase the current credits between $500 to $10,000, depending on the type of abatement work performed.

A separate section of Bill H.2049, however, proposes that local boards of health should be allowed to enact lead poisoning standards that are stricter than state law. Critics of this provision of the bill argue that giving local health boards the power to create standards that are not in conformity with the Commonwealth's will create confusion among the various municipalities throughout the state and impose an unnecessary burden on property owners who will be left to figure out what the standard is and whether it applies to them.

On August 3, 2015, the Massachusetts Committee on Public Health reported favorably on Bill H.2049 in its entirety. The bill was sent to the Committee on Health Care Financing for further consideration.

Lead poisoning has been highly regulated in Massachusetts since the 1970's and the number of children with elevated blood lead levels has dropped dramatically. Similarly, litigation related to lead poisoning has declined, despite the strict liability statute, which is among the most burdensome for landlords in the country. If you would like further information regarding Bill H.2049 or have any questions regarding lead poisoning claims, paint laws and compliance or about toxic tort litigation in general, please contact David Governo (dgoverno@governo.com) or John Gardella (jgardella@governo.com).