New Ipswich

Gilmore offers update on state legislation

NEW IPSWICH — State Sen. Peggy Gilmore stopped in during the Select Board’s Tuesday meeting to gain insight into any legislation the town would like her to submit before the Senate deadline for new bills passes Friday. The board discussed several issues with Gilmore, but ultimately didn’t offer any proposals for new bills.

Gilmore explained that she had met already with the New Ipswich Planning Board. The Planning Board had asked for some clarification on the requirements of plan designs for site plan reviews, and had asked for Gilmore to facilitate contact with the Department of Environmental Services to inspect some properties in town that may have hazardous materials, Gilmore said, but did not request any official legislation. The board told the senator it did not have any particular concerns to address in legislation, either. Select Board member Mike Conlin asked Gilmore what legislation she had already submitted.

Gilmore replied that she had served on a committee focused on transportation. There would be some bills sponsored by her this year related to that, she said. One had to do with penalties for drivers with recorded DWIs. Some drivers with a DWI history are required to use an Interlock system, which does not allow their car to start until they have submitted to and passed an attached breathalyzer. Drivers are required to notify the Department of Safety when an Interlock system is installed, but not when it is removed. The new bill would require both, she said. Also, she is involved with a bill that would require stiffer penalties to drivers who are caught speeding in excess of 100 miles an hour.

Aside from transportation, she said, there is also a bill to include volunteer architects and construction workers under the good Samaritan law, which would exempt them from liability during times of crisis. Often, during disasters, they will offer services to help shore up bridges or construction, she explained, but they are not protected under the law.

The board also questioned whether the Senate would be addressing the state minimum wage this year. Gilmore said the state does not have a set minimum wage, and is bound by the federal minimum wage, which has been $7.25 since 2009. There was a bill which might have set a minimum wage for the state last year, she said, but it did not pass. She does not believe there is a bill to raise minimum wage coming out of the Senate, although there is still time for one to be filed. She told the board that because of the political makeup of the two legislating bodies, such a bill would have a harder time gaining traction in the Senate than the House of Representatives.

Gilmore told the board she would come back before them in December. Residents with questions or concerns can contact Gilmore. The Select Board will meet next on Tuesday in the meeting room of the town offices at 6:30 p.m.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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