The Boston Globe reported this morning that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will propose legislation today that would eliminate non-compete agreements in technology, life sciences, and “other industries,” with his secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Greg Bialecki, stating that the administration “feel[s] like noncompetes are a barrier to innovation in Massachusetts.” No word just yet on what “other industries” might include.
While Governor Patrick had previously been more tempered in his views on non-compete agreements, his current position supporting the outright elimination of such restrictive covenants is hardly surprising in light of comments made by Bialecki at a hearing before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development just seven months ago. At that hearing, on which we previously reported here, Bialecki foreshadowed today’s move, stating that the Patrick Administration supported the outright elimination of non-compete agreements, stating that such agreements “stifle movement and inhibit competition.”
While the proposed legislation has not yet been filed, the Globe has reported that it is modeled after California’s ban on non-compete agreements, and that it will include a provision adopting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (the “UTSA”). As we have previously noted here, Massachusetts is currently one of only a handful of states that has not adopted the UTSA.
More details to follow once the proposed legislation is publicly available, including what other industries may be affected by the administration’s proposal. It is not often that you hear states wanting to be more like California particularly on labor and employment issues.