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Merrimack Valley

February 6, 2013

Freshman Rep. Mirra files bills

BOSTON — Newly sworn-in state Rep. Lenny Mirra has had a busy first month, sponsoring or co-sponsoring over 25 pieces of legislation that he hopes will help save the state money and support vital programs within the district.

Among these proposals are several amendments to the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system, including one that would place photo identification on EBT cards and another that would modernize the payment of benefits, and a proposal that would exempt energy efficiency programs from certain sales tax and wage laws. The state’s ETB program has been under fire due to numerous abuses.

The West Newbury Republican said over 5,000 bills have been filed since the start of the new session last month, and he said the first, and so far only, bill he sponsored himself was a proposal to alter the current plumbing code that would make it more compatible with farm buildings.

“That’s the first bill I’ve ever sponsored,” Mirra said, explaining that a constituent in the agriculture industry called him to ask why state regulations required him to use copper or cast iron pipes on his state sponsored project.

Using copper or cast iron would’ve been much more expensive than using PVC, and Mirra said the idea that farmers were required to using more expensive materials was ludicrous.

“It made the cost much higher than it had to be,” Mirra said. “It’s ridiculous that we’re requiring copper and cast iron piping for certain projects.”

Mirra expects this and many of the other bills he worked on to pass when they come up for a vote, saying there is broad bipartisan support for proposals that will save money and allow funds to go further. Because there are 5,000 bills on the table, there will be a period of time before they can all be dealt with, he added.

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