Legislative panel oversees consumer protection, alcohol licensing policy
BOSTON — Sen. Barbara L’Italien has been appointed the new Senate chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, succeeding the late Sen. Thomas Kennedy, who passed away last month.
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, announced the appointment Thursday following a formal session of the full Senate.
The Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee oversees matters and legislation concerning consumer credit, consumer protection, the issuance of licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages and the registration of various trades and professions such as daycare facilities.
“I am pleased the Democratic Caucus approved my recommendation to appointment Sen. L’Italien to serve as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure,” Senate President Stan Rosenberg said.“Throughout her career in the House and her short time in the Senate, she has shown that she has the work ethic, compassion and intellect to take on the issues that come before this important committee. I look forward to working with her in this new role.”
Sen. L’Italien, D-Andover, a freshman senator who served eight years in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2011, is also the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.
“There is a wide variety of consumer protection bills that come before the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure every year that directly impact businesses and Massachusetts residents,” Sen. L’Italien said. “My top priority on this committee will be to make it as easy and cost-effective as possible to do business in Massachusetts, while at the same time always keeping an eye on public safety and protecting consumers.”
The committee plays a key role in overseeing local retail alcohol sales licenses and policy.
A specific number of licenses are made available in several categories for liquor stores and businesses such as bars, restaurants and clubs. Each city and town receives a quota based on the federal 2010 census, in a process that is overseen by the state Alcohol Beverages Control Commission. To exceed those population-based quotas, a community must petition and receive approval from the Legislature, which relies on recommendations from the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
Sen. L’Italien is a former two-term state representative who began serving in the Senate in January, She represents Andover, Lawrence, Tewksbury and Dracut.