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Massachusetts legislation nears approval

The Massachusetts legislature has approved and sent to Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci a bill which would make Massachusetts law essentially identical to federal law in defining what makes a mutual fund director independent. Both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate approved the bill last month, according to state records.

The bill, introduced in January, primarily deals with matters unrelated to mutual fund governance. In July, the House added a two-sentence amendment concerning the directors' independence issue. The measure, introduced by Rep. John H. Rogers (D-Norwood), is similar to a Maryland law approved earlier this year on the same issue, according to a legislative summary. The law essentially would increase protection for independent directors against shareholder suits.