The White House and U.S. Senate leadership have come to an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package to attempt to bolster the sagging the American economy.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts is stepping up its emergency communications with the launch of a new digital alert service, Governor Baker filed an omnibus bill focused on municipal relief efforts but also including provisions allowing beer and wine to-go when ordering your favorite takeout.
Dateline Dukakis: Former Governor Michael Dukakis is recovering in an LA area hospital, not COVID-19 but with bacterial pneumonia.
- The state has launched a new digital alert service. People can text COVIDMA to 888-777 to receive updates on the state’s coronavirus response.
- Baker filed H.4974, a bill that intends to cut red tape for municipalities during COVID-19. Highlights of the bill include, allowing restaurants to sell wine and beer with takeout orders, granting the state’s K-12 education commissioner the authority to modify or waive MCAS testing requirements, and allowing electronic signatures on search warrants and criminal complaints.
- After days of intense negotiations, the Senate has reached a bipartisan $2 trillion stimulus package to rescue the economy from the effects of COVID19. The bill would send direct payments of $1,200 to most Americans, $500 to most children, create a $500 billion lending program for companies, states and cities, extend an additional $367 billion to help smaller companies deal with payroll problems. Companies will be able to defer payment of 6.2 percent of their social security tax while unemployment benefits will expand with a $600 additional benefit per week. For the first time ever, gig economy workers such as Uber drivers will be covered by unemployment. It is anticipated Congress will pass this bill swiftly in both branches today and send it to President Trump’s desk for his signature. Details including income guidelines for direct payments are forthcoming…Story developing
- Despite pleas to the contrary from medical professionals, President Trump continues to push for resuming “business as normal” by April 12. Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction – staying home from work and isolating themselves – the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system.
- The Boston Globe published an editorial this morning calling for the protection of the 2020 elections. Massachusetts should drop the number of signature candidates must gather amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Globe said.
- Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis hospitalized in Los Angeles. While teaching his annual winter semester course at the University of California – Los Angeles campus, former Gov. Dukakis was hospitalized and tested, twice, for COVID-19. Thankfully, both tests came back negative. He is being treated for bacterial pneumonia. Speedy recovery, Governor.