Boldyga discusses his focus for this legislative session

SOUTHWICK – Along with his fellow colleagues throughout the commonwealth, Rep. Nick Boldyga was sworn in by Gov. Charlie Baker on January 2 for the 191st legislative session for the general court of the state of Massachusetts.

In the press release sent on January 7 by Boldyga’s legislative aid, Mark O’Neill, Boldyga touched on being sworn in for another session.

“It is an honor to be sworn-in by Gov. Baker,” said Boldyga. “I am very proud to represent the citizens of our district at the state house and work on issues that are crucial to our commonwealth.”

The State Representative for Agawam, Southwick, and Granville has certain issues that he wants to focus on for his three communities during the next legislative session.

Nick Boldyga, the State
Representative in the 3rd Hampden District. (Photo by Greg Fitzpatrick)

The last couple of years Boldyga has put a lot of his focus on Chapter 70 funding, which is for education. Despite that, Boldyga believes there needs to be change within the state.

“The Chapter 70 formula needs to be revamped,” said Boldyga. “I think there needs to be some more parity and equity.”

Specifically, Boldyga would like Agawam, a smaller city, to receive more money for education for their school district. Looking at a neighboring city like West Springfield, Boldyga feels that Agawam should be receiving a similar amount of funding that their bordering city does.

“We think that we’re pretty comparable to West Springfield,” said Boldyga.

By changing the formula with the Chapter 70 funding, Boldyga is confident it could help with keeping real estate taxes in check and also making more communities increasingly attractive and affordable.

“I think that would help every city and town in Massachusetts,” said Boldyga.

Another key focus for Boldyga is he recently filed for a bill to update the state’s open container law. Currently, the open container law involves a bottle, can or other receptacle that’s used to hold a liquid that’s been opened or has a broken seal containing alcohol. Possession of an open container in a motor vehicle could result in the individual or individuals being charged with a fine of nothing less than $100 and no more than $500.

The bill that Boldyga filed would allow marijuana to be included in the open container law, meaning possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle would result in receiving the same fines an individual would for an open container of alcohol.

“Just because marijuana is legal does not mean you can operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana or any drug,” said Boldyga. “We need some major updates and major changes, we want the roadways to be safe.”

If the update happens to be included in the open container law, Boldyga would like to have all police officers trained on aspects of marijuana detection such as how it smells and how to identify erratic operations of a motor vehicle. Boldyga noted this filing is very early in the process and there’s no timetable when and if that bill could pass through Gov. Baker’s office.

Besides specific issues that he’s honing in on, Boldyga simply wants to spend taxpayer’s dollars as efficiently as possible and look at the priorities that his constituents need.

“I want to get rid of as much wasteful spending as possible,“ said Boldyga. “I’m going to continue to go in there (state house) and fight for responsible spending.”

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