On the heels of the House budget debate which resulted in, among other things, members of the House testing positive for COVID, the state Senate will meet in a formal session on Tuesday for the first time since July to debate its version of the COVID-delayed FY21 budget. Senate budget writers maintained a similar approach to the House by limiting the scope of spending to essential services and delaying a tax debate in order to get the bill on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk as quickly as possible. With no federal pandemic relief in sight, lawmakers are drawing heavily on the state’s reserves and federal reimbursements to balance the budget.
In past years, the budget has served as a vehicle for stalled legislation to make its way through the chambers and expedite the formal debate process. This year, however, legislative leaders signaled they had no appetite for extensive policy debate and most were not adopted. A notable exception was an abortion access amendment filed by House Judiciary Chair Claire Cronin and passed 108-49 after, at times, a heated debate. The Senate sponsor of the ROE Act, Senate President Emeritus Harriett Chandler, filed the identical amendment to the Senate bill, S4. Paid leave activists will host a virtual press conference this afternoon to urge Senators to include language in the budget to provide Massachusetts workers access to paid sick time if they’re diagnosed or quarantined with COVID-19. Despite having more than 100 cosponsors, the amendment was not adopted in last week’s House budget
Governor Charlie Baker was notably absent from this weekend’s emergency summit on COVID convened by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. With newly diagnosed cases rapidly climbing and with the holidays approaching, many fear the worst of the coronavirus is yet to come.
Plenty to keep us busy while most of #MaPoli plays musical chairs and makes best guesses for who gets appointments in the Biden/Harris administration and then who runs for the then-vacated seats.
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DUNKIN NUPTIALS: Couple ties the knot in the drive through of a Dunkin Donuts.