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A combination of high costs, tougher standards and million-dollar court settlements may force changes in the state's tough lead-paint law as soon as July.
A recent hearing brought property owners and real estate brokers to Beacon Hill by the busload to protest the costly burden of deleading and the broad liability owners face in childhood lead-poisoning cases. They followed it up with a "lobby day" of visiting individual legislators to push a major rewrite of the law.
It was not the first time property owners have brought their case to the Legislature. But this year, key lawmakers seem ready to make a change.
"I think it's absolutely time for something to happen," said state Rep. Carmen Buell (D-Greenfield), House chairwoman of the Joint Health Care Committee. "The level of fear, anxiety and exasperation of property owners--particularly small owners, with buildings of three or four units--has reached a point of crisis. Anywhere in the state, if you call a meeting on lead paint, you will have 200 to 300 people show up."
This year, the …