House of Delegates passes tax, criminal justice measures

Issue October 2015

The Massachusetts Bar Association's House of Delegates (HOD) hit the ground running at its first meeting of the 2015-16 year in Boston on Thursday, Sept. 24, passing separate proposals from the Taxation Law and Criminal Justice section councils.

The Taxation Law Section Council requested that the HOD endorse communication with the state secretary of administration and finance to discuss issues related to the Appellate Tax Board, including the board's ad valorem filing fee structure. The measure passed unanimously.

The Criminal Justice Section Council urged the MBA to endorse in principle the concept of legislation that would raise the threshold amount for a felony. According to the proposal, the existing $250 threshold amount has been around for many years and is "sorely outdated due to inflation." The measure also passed unanimously.

Earlier at the HOD meeting, MBA President Robert W. Harnais welcomed everyone in attendance and was one of several presenters to thank the MBA's active section councils, whose work is so vital to the association. MBA President-elect Jeffrey N. Catalano made special mention of the energy brought by the MBA's Young Lawyers Division.

Officer reports were also given by MBA Vice President Christopher A. Kenney and MBA Secretary John J. Morrissey. Kenney, who chairs the MBA's Consumer Advocacy Task Force, updated HOD members on the task force's work on the Consumer Resource Center at, and said an announcement about the next Consumer Advocacy Symposium and Pinnacle Awards would be coming soon.

Alice Richmond, the American Bar Association's state delegate, also addressed the HOD members, offering personal remarks on her friend and fellow past MBA President Richard K. Donahue, who died in September. Recalling his sense of humor, she called Dick Donahue "an extraordinary man of extraordinary vision."

Following the HOD meeting, many HOD members went next door to the Back Deck, where the MBA held its "Welcome Back" member reception.