5/17/21 Digest

The Landscape

It’s a busy week ahead on Beacon Hill with eight committee hearings and state senators and staff reviewing the 923 proposed amendments to their version of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget bill, S3. This week also offers a milestone in the race for Boston Mayor: Candidates for Mayor of Boston must turn in their nomination signature papers Tuesday by 5 p.m.

Small businesses across Massachusetts are joining together for a virtual day of action today to spotlight local businesses, amplify their voices, engage with elected officials and understand current legislative proposals to help aid the small business community as they continue to recover from COVID-19. Advanced registration is required prior to the 11 a.m. start time. Additionally, the Joint Committee on Financial Services meets today for the first time this session.

The Board of Higher Education meets Tuesday to consider appointments of new presidents for Massasoit Community College, Middlesex Community College and Westfield State University.  At the same time, the Joint Committee on Higher Education will hear 28 bills, including proposals on the cost of college affordability, the state’s financial commitment to the higher education institutions and other financial matters. 

Paging Leslie Knope: The Joint Committee on the Environment & Natural Resources meets virtually Tuesday afternoon to hear testimony on 19 bills related to parks, recreation and land policy. 

After an unprecedented year of job loss and strain on the state’s unemployment system, the Joint Committee on Labor & Workforce Development will convene virtually Tuesday to hear testimony on 21 bills related to unemployment insurance. With the recent U.S. Treasury guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), state Labor & Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta affirmed that Massachusetts is able to utilize the ARPA funds to replenish the unemployment insurance trust fund. For context, in 2020, Massachusetts paid close to $22 billion in unemployment benefits to about one million out of work residents. Additional guidance is expected Thursday, when the House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census oversight meets. 

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Election Laws will meet to hear bills focused on voting rights, expansion and access. Also on Wednesday, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary meets for the first time this session to hear 19 bills, including proposals on the legality of animal abuse, ownership and hunting. The Joint Committee on Public Service will also meet Wednesday to hear bills focused on requests by municipalities or municipal departments. 

Closing out the week of hearings, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will meet Thursday to hear bills from various cities and towns. 

The News

SILVER LINING: 

TO MASK OR NOT TO MASK: Did you miss Kate McKinnon playing Dr. Fauci on this week’s Saturday Night Live cold open? She attempts to explain the latest CDC mask guidance.

2021-05-17T10:11:32+00:00