• SJC: Ballot question campaigns may collect needed signatures electronically
  • Nearly a quarter of the state workforce has filed for unemployment
  • State Senate looks to June for Formal Session
  • Marathon meeting of House leadership ends in stalemate
  • Small businesses in Boston are struggling to get government help. Is it the same across the state?
  • Friday Silver Lining: 15 local breweries open for pick-up this weekend


  1. After last month’s ruling cut by half the required signatures for candidates, the Supreme Judicial Court again ruled in favor of allowing e-signatures for ballot question campaigns. The four ballot campaigns, ranked-choice voting, nursing home funding, allowing beer and wine sales at food stores, and increasing access to automobile computer repair data, each need 13,347 signatures to be certified by Secretary of State by July 1, 2020 in order to appear on the November ballot.


  1. A staggering 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last six weeks. According to The Department of Labor, 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week alone. Here in Massachusetts, more than 893,000 people, about 24 percent of the state’s work force, have filed for unemployment. Industries hardest hit are restaurants, hotel and hospitality and retail.


  1. Senate President Karen Spilka appointed Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem to lead a bipartisan group of senators to devise a plan that would allow the Senate to hold formal sessions in the State House with roll call votes by early June. Options for voting include allowing masked senators in to the Chamber one at a time, proxy voting through court officers from their State House offices or voting remotely by proxy. The group is charged with creating a process for voting, admitting amendments, further amendments and other procedural moves, including how to hold a debate in a safe and secure manner for the members and staff.


  1. The House met for more than five hours on Thursday trying, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a bipartisan solution on an emergency order allowing debate and roll call votes to take place on an overdue spending bill. Both the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader agreed that the discussions would continue over the weekend.


  1. Only a third of Boston’s small businesses have applied for all three of the public assistance programs available to them: federal disaster loans, round two of the SBA’s Payroll Protection Program and small-business grants from the city. With two-thirds of business in Boston closed, help is needed. Many claim the lack of awareness, particularly among minority and immigrant communities, could be due to a language barrier. But, there is good news to report, the City’s $2 million small business relief fund has been replenished and applications are being accepted.


  1. ON TAP: While you still can’t physically enter your favorite brewery, many across the state have adopted new “take out” business practices thanks to COVID-19 emergency legislation. Here’s 15 central mass breweries open and ready for your business. Cheers!