A western Massachusetts lawmaker is pushing a proposed bill that would make it easier for houses of worship to provide sanctuary to immigrants facing deportation.
Massachusetts churches that offer sanctuary can get a break from building codes required for dwellings if the housing is deemed temporary.
If building commissioners decide it's permanent, the costs of bringing a living space up to code could balloon.
Representative Mindy Domb of Amherst is helping draft legislation that would say people seeking sanctuary are to be considered temporary residents.
"It takes the guesswork out of it," Domb said. "It takes the discretion out of it. So you don't have to worry, necessarily, if there are commissioners that feel one way or another about a particular situation. If the house of worship is providing this particular purpose, then this is how it's to be deemed."
Domb said she hopes the bill will be approved this legislative session.