Bill to Fund Municipal Police Training on Governor’s Desk

The House of Representatives and Senate have finalized legislation creating a new dedicated revenue stream to pay for municipal police training in Massachusetts.  The bill is now on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk awaiting his signature.

House Bill 4516 authorizes a new $2 surcharge on car rentals to support the Municipal Police Training Fund, which was created as part of the criminal justice reform law signed by Gov. Baker on April 13.  Money from the fund 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.

State Rep. Donald H. Wong, R-Saugus, supported the bill when it first came before the House on May 23, where it passed on a vote of 149-4. The bill was engrossed by the Senate on July 18, and enacted in both branches the same day.

The Municipal Police Training Fund is already authorized to receive money generated by the licensing of marijuana establishments, the state excise tax on recreational marijuana sales, and civil penalties imposed under the voter-approved recreational marijuana law.  The car rental surcharge – which is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019 – is expected to produce an additional $8 million in revenues for the fund.

Certain car rentals will be exempt from the surcharge, including rentals lasting less than 12 hours.  The surcharge will also not apply to ride-sharing services offered through companies like Uber and Lyft.

House Bill 4516 caps the amount of money that can be deposited in the Municipal Police Training Fund from the car rental surcharge at $10 million annually, with any additional revenues transferred to the General Fund.

Gov. Baker has until July 28 to sign the bill into law.

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