home e-mail

Bill: HR 1333

/ /
/Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:/

SECTION 1. Whereas, multinational private water companies are currently going from town to town in Massachusetts attempting to convince municipalities that they will save money and provide better service by privatizing their water and sewer systems in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary; and
/Whereas/, the very idea of turning such a basic resource as water—and one absolutely necessary for human existence—into a commodity should be repugnant to a democratic society.
/Whereas/, the policy of the Commonwealth should be to protect every Massachusetts resident's right to a reasonably priced, publicly administered supply of clean water.

/Whereas/, the Commonwealth should defend the principle of water as a public trust

/Therefore/, the Great and General Court hereby approves this bill that will ban the privatization of public water and sewer systems as well as the use of local springs and municipal taps for commercial bottling purposes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

SECTION 2. Chapter 165 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following new sections:

Section 29. A city, town, or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth shall not sell the municipal water or sewer infrastructure, nor shall it sell or contract out the operation and maintenance of the municipal water or sewer department, which serves that city or town in whole or in part to a company or any other legal entity that is not controlled by elected officials of the city, town or other political subdivision.

Section 30. A private company which serves, in whole or in part a city or town with water or sewer service shall no later than five years from the effective date of this section offer to sell to said city or town the corporate property and all the rights and privileges of said company at the actual cost of the same as determined by an independent auditor appointed by the Attorney General or at such price and terms as may be mutually agreed upon between said corporation and the city or town which it serves in whole or in part; provided further that any dispute of the price or terms shall be determined by the department upon appeal from either party; provided further that all such sales shall be completed no later then five years following the offer for sale.

A city or town may exempt itself for a period of ten years from the provisions of the previous paragraph, in a town by two-thirds vote of town meeting and in a city by two-thirds vote of the city council. At the expiration of said exemption period said private company shall offer the corporate property and all rights and privileges of the water company as required in the previous paragraph.

Section 31. A private company may not draw from any municipal water supply or any privately owned spring of any city or town or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth in order to commercially sell said water.

MassGlobalAction • 33 Harrison Ave. 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02111 • (t) 617-482-6300 (f) 617-482-7300