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Thursday Feb 27, 2014

Wu Files Hearing Orders On Small Business Permitting, Arts Funding; Files Resolution Supporting Domestic Workers

Michelle Wu, Boston City Councilor At-Large, today announced plans to file her first agenda items as Councilor at the Boston City Council meeting on Wednesday, February 26th. A brief overview of each is below.

Streamlining business permitting: Councilor Wu will call a hearing to address the permitting process through consolidation of certain permits, licenses and fees in order to support small business owners and entrepreneurs.

"Streamlining the permitting process will empower Boston's small businesses to create more economic opportunity in our neighborhoods," said Wu. "From licensing milk to eggs to fortune-telling, it's time to revisit our regulatory structure and think about how to streamline through consolidation or elimination of certain permits and licenses."

Evaluating the distribution of arts and culture funding: Councilor Wu will call a hearing to examine how best to utilize and distribute arts funding from the City of Boston to maximize impact for the arts, cultural and creative community.

Wu cites creative examples employed by other cities, the Mayor's strong commitment to supporting the arts and culture community and creative economy through the creation of a Cabinet-level Arts Commissioner, and the Administration's plans for a designated arts and culture line-item in the budget.

Wu's intent is to "gather recommendations for funding distribution and communication mechanisms to ensure impact and access to information about funding."

Supporting Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights: Councilor Wu will introduce a resolution in support of Domestic Workers, calling on the Massachusetts legislature to pass the "Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights" (H. 3884) sponsored by Representative Michael Moran and Senator Anthony Petruccelli.

Massachusetts has over 600,000 domestic workers. These nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers have been excluded from basic state and federal labor protections and are often vulnerable to exploitation. This legislation would extend basic workplace protections to domestic workers, including: clarity on what constitutes working time, freedom from discrimination, sexual harassment, and the abuses of trafficking and from retaliation for asserting wage violations.

As Chair of the Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Chair of the Committee on Arts and Culture, Wu has prioritized strengthening Boston's innovation economy, creative economy, and small businesses.

Boston City Council Forms Three New Special Committees

City Council President Bill Linehan to Focus on Transportation, Small Business & Investment

Boston City Council President Bill Linehan is proud to announce today the council's 2014-2015 Committee Chairs, the consolidation of committees, and the formation of three new special committees which will address the City of Boston's current and future needs.

The new committees will focus on Transportation, Public Infrastructure, Planning & Investment; Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation; and Charter Reform. At this time in Boston the need for broad discussion on these matters is extremely important. The Boston City Council is positioned well to move these areas of concern forward.

"I'm excited to chair the Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation and the Committee on Arts & Culture. These two committees represent a combination of issues to strengthen Boston's innovation economy, creative economy and neighborhood businesses. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Mayor to streamline permitting, support arts and innovation and create pipelines to opportunity for all of Boston's residents," said At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu.

President Linehan has also spent the last several weeks meeting with his colleagues to discuss his priorities for moving the City of Boston forward, and each councilor's priorities and preferences regarding committee assignments. Through this inclusive process of healthy dialogue, several councilors maintained chairmanships they had held previously and others were given new assignments. President Linehan also expanded the roles of Committee Chairs and consolidated similar issues under the same committee.

"The Committee assignments reflect the strengths that each of my colleagues bring to the table," said President Linehan. "While we each bring expertise and insight to every issue, our past experiences give each councilor a unique skill set to shape policy and planning as well as improve service delivery to the people of Boston. Those skills and experiences weighed heavily on my assignments."

"I would like to commend President Linehan on the restructuring of the City Council Committees, which involved an inclusive process where all ideas were heard. Economic Development, Planning and Labor is a huge priority for my district, as well as the entire City. I look forward to chairing this committee in 2014. In addition, I am happy to be the Vice Chair of City, Neighborhood Services & Veterans Affairs, as well as Environment & Parks working closely with Councilor McCarthy and Councilor O'Malley, respectively," said District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina.

The restructuring of committees and the creation of the three special committees reflect the City of Boston's evolving needs and challenges. The changes made by President Linehan are designed to further enhance the Council's work with more specificity and reciprocity.

Working together with Mayor Martin Walsh, the new structure of the City Council is in a good position to address the needs of those who live, work and visit Boston.

"It is an honor to serve as Chairman of the Boston City Council's Education Committee. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that every student in the City of Boston, the education capital of the world, receives a world class education that will prepare them for higher education or a career," said District 7 City Councilor Tito Jackson.

You can contact Council President Linehan at Bill.Linehan@boston.gov or 617-635-3203. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter at @LinehanBill. For a complete listing of committee assignments here.

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