Recent land development disputes in Western Massachusetts have triggered calls for revisions in Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. For more information, see this link to Mass Audubon.
Recently, Mass Audubon reported with concern that the House-controlled Joint Committee on Environmental Affairs voted to report the bill out to the House. All joint committees have more House members than Senate members and, since in Committee, Senators and Reps have equally weighted votes, the joint committees are all procedurally controlled by the House. The measure passed on a voice vote — there was no actual roll call. There were seven House members present. Both Senate members present for the vote “reserved their rights”. This is a statement that we may not support the bill if it comes before us for a vote and is the polite equivalent of a no vote; it recognizes and shows respect for the House committee chair’s procedural control of the situation, but expresses concern about the bill.
The procedural complexities of this vote have created some confusion in the blogosphere. For the record, let me say here that I oppose the bill. The species protection process appears to be well run and to pose little impediment to development.