House bill would give Beacon Hill oversight of Olympics bid process

A bill filed in the Legislature last month would create a seven-member commission charged with ensuring that Boston’s bid process to become the 2024 Summer Olympics host city “be transparent and accountable to the people of the commonwealth,” according to a copy of the bill provided to the Reporter.

The bill, filed by state Reps. Michael Moran of Brighton and Aaron Michlewitz of the North End, is co-sponsored by more than 85 state representatives. State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry signed on to co-sponsor the legislation in the Senate this week.

The bill would also give Gov. Charlie Baker the ultimate yea or nay on the bid before it is submitted to international Olympic officials in September.

Under the bill, the seven-member commission would be made of individuals appointed by mostly elected officials on Beacon Hill: the governor, attorney general, treasurer, inspector general, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and the mayor of Boston, with the chairperson designated by the governor.

Should the bill be enacted, a number of mandates would be set in place:

• The Boston 2024 group would be required to submit its bid to the commission prior to submitting it to the International Olympic Committee. If the commission signs off on the bid, then “the governor shall have final approval of the bid.”

• In line with the deadline for Boston to submit its bid to the International Olympic Committee – September 15 of this year – the bill would require that the commission, the city of Boston, and Boston 2024 to enter into a memorandum of understanding “on or before Sept. 14, 2015” incorporating the commission’s recommendations. If passed, this law would stay in place until Dec. 1, 2017 or until the IOC selects the official 2024 host city. Should Boston be selected, the law would remain in place until June 30, 2025.

The commission would be responsible for gathering “facts and information related to public safety, economic and social impacts of siting the 2024 games,” as well as for approving any orders of land taking by eminent domain.

Land ownership will be a key aspect leading up to the Games. While Boston 2024 maintains that 70 percent of the game sites would be located on college and university land, significant large developments, including locations in Widett Circle, Columbia Point, and Franklin Park, are private or protected land. Boston 2024 has said it will “pursue omnibus state legislation” to implement and integrate facilities.

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