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Rushing Proposes Legislation to Investigate the Impact of Trade Agreement on Massachusetts State Law and Policies

Press release from the office of MA Rep. Byron Rushing

What the Bill Does:

H. 374 will establish a special commission to investigate the impact of international trade agreements on the laws, regulations and legislative powers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.Trade agreements may place obligations on Massachusetts which conflict with existing state laws or create binding constraints on future legislative actions.This Commission would report to the legislature and to the Massachusetts congressional delegations on the impacts of these trade agreements, and also recommend when the Commonwealth may support or withhold support for any proposed revisions or amendments to these trade agreements. The Commission would suggest ways the Commonwealth could protect the economic, social and employment interests of its citizens from attempts by foreign companies conducting to change or ignore Massachusetts state law or regulations.

The proposed Commission would include three members of the senate and the house of representatives, the governor or his designee, the attorney general or his designee, the treasurer of his designee, and four persons appointed by the governor that are from organized labor, Massachusetts Municipal Association, graduate faculty of economics of a private university in Massachusetts, and graduate faculty of economics from University of Massachusetts.

International trade organizations and agreements (which may be investigated) include, but are not limited to, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

What Other States are Doing:

Commissions have been enacted in Utah, Maine, Vermont, and Washington.These commissions investigate the impact of international trade agreements on state sovereignty and regulatory authority.These Commissions include state officials, legislators, and public citizens.Other legislators across the country have also filed similar legislation.In Hawaii, Rhode Island and Maryland, legislation has passed that would require governors to solicit approval from the legislature before signing onto any international agreement.

Please contact Heather Ross Schwab, Legislative Director for Second Assistant Majority Leader, State Representative Byron Rushing, at 617.722.2180 or heather.ross@state.ma.us.

Further Information:

H. 374.  Resolve Providing for the Creation of a Special Commission Relative to the Impact on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of the World Trade Organization and Similar International Agreements 

Bill Summary and History of Representative Byron Rushing's Legislation to Establish a Special Commission to Study the Impacts on Local Laws of the WTO and Similar Agreements

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