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Historical Documents

Chapter 143.


In the Year One Thousand Nine Hundred and Forty-nine


      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

      SECTION 1. There is hereby established in the town of Framingham the form of representative town government by limited town meetings hereinafter set forth.

      SECTION 2. Upon the acceptance of this act by said town, as hereinafter provided, the selectmen shall forthwith divide the territory thereof into eight voting precincts, each of which shall be plainly designated and shall contain approximately an equal number of registered voters. The precincts shall be so established as to consist of compact and contiguous territory to be bounded, as far as possible, by the center line of known streets and ways or by other well-defined limits. The boundaries shall be reviewed and, if need be, wholly or partly revised by the selectmen in May, once in five years, or in May of any year when so directed by a vote of a representative town meeting held not later than April twentieth of that year. The selectmen shall, within ten days after any establishment or revision of the precincts, file a report of their doings with the town clerk, the registrars of voters and the assessors, with a map or maps or description of the precincts and the names and residences of the registered voters therein. The selectmen shall also cause to be posted in the memorial building a map or maps or description of the precincts as established or revised from time to time, or cause the same to be published in a newspaper published in the town. The division of the town into voting precincts and any revision of such precincts shall take effect upon the date of the filing of the report thereof by the selectmen with the town clerk. Whenever the precincts are established or revised, the town clerk shall forthwith give written notice thereof to the state secretary, stating the number and designation of precincts. Meetings of the registered voters of the several precincts for elections or primaries and for voting on any question to be submitted to all the registered voters of the town shall be held simultaneously and at such place or places within the town as the selectmen shall in the warrant for such meeting direct. The provisions of the general laws relating to precinct voting at elections, so far as the same are not inconsistent with this act, shall apply to all elections and primaries in the town upon the establishment of voting precincts as above provided.

      SECTION 3. Upon the acceptance of this act by the town and after the establishment of precincts as provided in section two, the registered voters in every precinct, at an election to be held on the first Monday of the March following such acceptance, and at elections held on the first Monday of March of each second year thereafter, shall elect by ballot twenty-five registered voters resident in the precinct, other than persons elected or appointed to some other town office, to be members of the representative town meeting for a term of two years. The town clerk shall after every election of town meeting members, forthwith notify each member by mail of his election.

      SECTION 4. Nominations of candidates for town meeting members to be elected under this act shall be made by nomination papers, which shall bear no political designation, shall be signed by not less than twenty-five voters in the precinct in which the candidate resides, and shall be filed with the town clerk no later than five o'clock post meridian on the fourth Monday preceding the election. No nomination papers shall be valid in respect to any candidate whose written acceptance is not thereon or attached thereto when filed, or which purport to nominate a person elected or appointed to some other town office.

      SECTION 5. A town meeting member may resign by filing a written resignation with the town clerk and such resignation shall take effect on the date of such filing. A town meeting member who removes from the town or who is elected or appointed to any other town office shall cease to be a town meetin~ member. Notice of any vacancy in the full number of town meeting members from any precinct shall be given at once by the town clerk to the remaining members from that precinct and he shall call a special meeting of the remaining members from that precinct, not less than five nor more than fourteen days later, at a time. and at a~place within the town to be designated by him for the purpose of filling such vacancy. At said specia] meeting a majority of said remaining members shall constitute a quorum. The choice to fill any vacancy shall be by ballot, and a plurality of the votes cast shall be required for a choice. The town clerk shall count the ballots, make a certificate of the choice, and notify the person so chosen; and, upon receipt by the town clerk of a written acceptance by the person so chosen, that person shall be deemed elected and qualified as a town meeting member, subject to the right of all the town meeting members to judge of the election and qualification of members, as provided in section six.

      SECTION 6. The town clerk shall notify the town meeting members of the time and place at which town meetings are to be held, the notices to be sent by mail at least seven days before the meeting. The town meeting members, as aforesaid, shall be the judges of the election and qualifications as set forth in this act, of their members. Eighty town meeting members shall constitute a quorum for doing business, but a less number may organize temporarily and may adjourn from time to time. All town meetings shall be public. Town meeting members as such shall receive no compensation. Subject to such conditions as may be determined from time to time by the members of the representative town meeting, any registered voter of the town, although not a town meeting member, shall have the right to speak at least once on any matter coming before any town meeting, but only elected town meeting menibers shall vote on such matters.

      SECTION 7. It shall be the duty of the chairman of each board or committee of the town, elected or appointed, the head of each department, and the town counsel to attend throughout that part of each town meeting at which matters other than those to be acted upon and determined otherwise than by ballot are to be considered.

      SECTION 8. The articles in the warrant for every town meeting, so far as they relate to the election of town officers and town meeting members, and, as herein provided, to referenda, and all matters to be acted upon and determined by ballot, shall be so acted upon and determined by the registered voters of the town in their respective precincts. All other articles in the warrant for any town iheeting, beginning with the town meeting at which said town meeting members are first elected, shall be acted upon and determined exclusively by town meeting members at a meeting to be held at such time and place as shall be set forth by the selectmen in the warrant for the meeting, subject to the referendum provided for by section nine hereof.

      SECTION 9. No vote, except a vote to adjourn or authorizing the borrowing of money in anticipation of the receipt of taxes for the current year, passed at any representative town meeting shall be operative until the expiration of five days, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, from the dissolution of the meeting. If, within said five days, a petition, signed by not less than five per cent of the registered voters in the town, containing their names and addresses as they appear on the list of registered voters, is filed with the selectmen, asking that the question or questions involved in such vote be submitted to the registered voters of the town at large, then the selectmen, after the expiration of five days, shall forthwith call a special meeting for the sole purpose of presenting to the registered voters at large the question or questions so involved. The polls shall be opened at twelve o'clock noon and shall be closed not earlier than eight o'clock in the evening, and all votes upon any question so submitted shall be taken by ballot and the check list used in the several precinct meetings in the same manner as in the election of town officers. The questions so submitted shall be determined by vote of the same proportion of voters at large voting thereon as would have been required by law of the town meeting members, had the question been finally determined at a representative town meeting. The questions so submitted shall be stated upon the ballot in substantially the same language and form in which they were stated when presented to the representative town meeting by the moderator and as appears from the records of said meeting. If such a petition is not filed within said period of five days, the vote of the representative town meeting shall become operative and effective at the expiration of said period.

      SECTION 10. This act shall be submitted to the registered voters of the town of Framingham for acceptance at the biennial state election in the year nineteen hundred and fifty in the form of the following question which shall be placed upon the official ballot to be used in said town at said election: "Shall an act passed by the general court in the year nineteen hundred and forty-nine, entitled 'An Act establishing in the town of Framingham representative town government by limited town meetings', be accepted by this town?" If a majority of the voters voting on this question shall vote in the affirmative, this act shall take effect forthwith so far as it relates to dividing the territory of the town into eight precincts as provided in section two of this act; and so far as it relates to the election of town meeting members, it shall take effect for the purposes of the town election to be held on the first Monday of March thereafter and for all things pertaining thereto.

Approved April 7,1949.

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