A bill that would exempt a proposed high-rise development from laws meant to protect the Boston Common from shadows cast by tall buildings may have gotten a bit of cold water thrown on it today after one of the state’s more influential elected officials told lawmakers that he wanted them to hold off on passing the measure.

Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin, who also serves in that capacity as chairman of the State Historical Commission, told a joint committee of the state legislature that the Historical Commission had been kept out of the loop and that he had learned of new developments – notably, that the final height of the proposed building was still being determined – only last Friday.

“This building would be an illegal building. You’re being asked to legalize it,” Galvin told the committee, asking them to delay passage of the bill before them until more details were finalized.

"This is not about whether there is going to be a building – there should be a building,” Galvin said. “This is about the process.”

After hours of testimony, the committee recessed without taking action on the bill; Committee Co-Chair State Representative James O’Day, of Worcester, told reporters that the committee would not act on the bill immediately.

“Probably for a few weeks, anyway,” O’Day said, “given how the whole hearing started off, with the Secretary having some questions on some of the details within this bill.” 

The bill is a so-called “home rule petition,” which passed Boston City Council in a 10-3 vote earlier this year. It would allow the more-than seven hundred foot tall tower proposed by Millenium Partners to go forward even though the building will cast some amount of shadow on the Common as well as on the Public Garden.

The deal would net some $120 million for the city up front for the land, with an anticipated $30 million in related development, an estimated $12 million in annual property taxes, and about $10 million towards affordable housing in Chinatown.

Most of the groups present testified in favor of the measure, and a few groups who had opposed the exemption or been skeptical of it seemed to have come around.  

Vicki Smith, of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, which had been against the exemption, noted today that “the bill was not the outcome we advocated, but it was approved by [Boston] City Council.”

Leslie Adam, board chair of the Friends of the Public Garden, said that her group was still “engaged in conversations” with the developer and city, but her group’s goal, at this point, was “to minimize or mitigate the impact of shadows and gain assurances about the future impact” of development.

Testifying against the bill, Greg Galer, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance, said that allowing the exemption created a “slippery slope” and that “to support this petition is to say that rules are up for sale.”

“Once this pandora’s box is opened,” Galer said, “the temptation will be too great when outrageously compelling funds are placed within reach.”