Massachusetts State House.
Policy Library

Joint Committee on Judiciary Holding Many Hearings This Summer

June 20, 2013

On Wednesday, June 19th, the BBA submitted written testimony to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in support of S 700 An Act to Provide Landowner’s Title Protection.  Part of the committee’s 45 bill agenda this week, this bill is co-sponsored by Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative Ruth Balser.

If passed, the Landowner’s Title Protection Bill will eliminate title defects and encumbrances that would otherwise render title to real estate unmarketable.  These include issues such as defectively drafted and unrecorded deeds; trusts and powers of attorney; breaks in chain of title; unintelligible property descriptions in ancient conveyancing instruments; missing, incomplete or inconclusive probates; unused cart paths shown on recorded plans; and “paper streets” that have never been built, but appear on recorded plans.

Put more simply, this legislation will provide protections for a person having an unbroken chain of title to land for 50 years or more.  That person shall be deemed to have a good and clear record and marketable title.   Public testimony at the hearing included an attorney who described the plight of their clients badly affected by title piracy in the absence of this bill.

This isn’t a new bill. In fact, the BBA has been involved in negotiating changes to prior versions of this bill since the late 1990’s.

In the coming months, there will be other Judiciary Committee hearings.  The Judiciary Committee will hear bills that fall into the crime, privacy and 209A category in July.  Hearings in September, October and November will address issues pertaining to motor vehicles and OUI, torts and court administration.

The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is taking their hearings on the road this summer.  They’ve scheduled two public hearings for this month on gun-related bills.  Meeting this week at Cape Cod Community College and next week at Assumption College in Worcester, there will be more hearings scheduled for the end of July and early August.  The statewide hearings on gun-related bills will culminate with a final public hearing in September at the State House.

Watch Issue Spot for more information on how the BBA will participate in this discussion to come.  The BBA’s Gun Control Working Group is still reviewing these bills, gathering information and researching the issues.  They are approaching this public safety issue from all appropriate angels.  The plan is to have the BBA’s position firmed up by the September hearing at the State House so that we can participate and contribute to this discussion.

– Kathleen Joyce
Director of Government Relations
Boston Bar Association