- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Town meeting moderators have been given broader powers to postpone the gatherings because of severe weather or other public safety emergencies.

A new law passed in the closing days of last year’s legislative session allows moderators, in consultation with selectmen and other town officials, to reschedule town meetings without having to first call the meeting to order. Under the old law, moderators would have to convene the meeting - regardless of weather or other circumstances - before declaring a recess.

Senate Republican leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, who co-sponsored the bill with Democratic Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport, said public officials should not have to risk their own personal safety to comply with the law.

As examples, the lawmakers pointed to town meetings that were scheduled when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.

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