Members of Reading’s State House delegation have unanimously endorsed legislation to provide ongoing funding support for municipal police training.
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), Representative James J. Dwyer (D-Woburn) and Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) recently voted to support the creation of a new $2 car rental surcharge, which would take effect on January 1, 2019. The proceeds from this surcharge will be used to provide basic training for new police recruits, as well as mandatory in-service training and specialized training for veteran police officers across the Commonwealth.
House Bill 4516, An Act relative to the municipal police training fund, is now on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk awaiting his signature.
“This is a long overdue bill that will help support critical training programs for police officers in Massachusetts,” said Representative Jones. “Creating a dedicated revenue stream to fund this training will also help to ease the financial burden on communities like Reading that currently have to shoulder these costs.”
“It is no secret that we needed additional funds for the training of our public safety heroes in the Commonwealth and this legislation accomplishes just that,” said Representative Dwyer. “With this new source of revenue, the burden will be eased on the hardworking taxpayers of Reading while also achieving our goal in enhancing the training of our men and women in blue.”
“Our municipal police officers have a very difficult job to do and must respond to many challenging situations every day, including individuals in the midst of mental health or substance use crises,” said Senator Lewis. “The least we can do to support them is ensure that municipal police training is well funded and that’s exactly what this important legislation does.”
The Legislature established a new Municipal Police Training Fund as part of the criminal justice reform bill, which was signed into law by Governor Baker on April 13. The fund is already authorized to receive money from the state’s Marijuana Regulation Fund, including revenues generated from the licensing of marijuana establishments and the state tax on recreational marijuana sales. The car rental surcharge is expected to provide the Municipal Police Training Fund with an additional $8 million in revenues.
Certain car rentals will be exempt from the surcharge, including rentals lasting less than 12 hours and ride-sharing services offered through companies like Uber and Lyft.
House Bill 4516 first came before the House on May 23, where it passed on a vote of 149-4. The Senate, which had previously offered a similar proposal as part of its Fiscal Year 2019 state budget, engrossed the bill on a vote of 36-0 on July 18, the same day it was enacted in both branches.