With the clock ticking for potential legislative action to extend housing relief measures, sponsors of a new bill aimed at preserving a mandatory pause on housing removals highlighted support and strategies on Thursday.
An eviction and foreclosure moratorium required under a state law approved in April expires on Aug. 18.
Reps. Mike Connolly and Kevin Honan and Sen. Patricia Jehlen filed bills that would impose a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for failure to pay until one year after Gov. Charlie Baker lifts the COVID-19 state of emergency, freeze rent for the same duration and create a fund to aid those unable to pay housing costs due to the pandemic.
In a videoconference joined by at least 18 other lawmakers and several aides, Honan said the success of the initial moratorium law was "because we internally built a strong coalition of legislators" and called it "heartening to see so many representatives joining us today."
"When you're talking about movements and advancing legislation it's a team effort in every way, and the pain and suffering is clearly there," he said. "We have advocates who work on the direct front line and helped draft this legislation, people who deal with people who are in pain, and they have offered their services and now we are going to try to carry the ball like we did the last time."
The bills (HD 5166, SD 2992) were filed June 30. Formal sessions end for the year on July 31, a timeline Rep. Nika Elugardo broke down in the call's chat.
Elugardo wrote that the bill should pass by July 20 to allow time to override a potential veto, leaving "roughly a week and change to get this through committee and to the House floor and another week and change for the Senate to do the same, provided there are no changes requiring a conference committee."