Governor Baker last week signed into law a number of bills passed by the Massachusetts Legislature before July 31 – the last day for formal sessions in the 191st legislative session, which started in January 2021.
Proposals to address the climate crisis and promote sustainable energy are now law. The new law includes policies to advance offshore wind, update the state’s renewable energy goals, and allow municipalities to ban fossil fuels in new buildings and large-scale renovations. MassBio successfully advocated for the exemption of labs and healthcare facilities from the law.
Massachusetts has joined over 30 states that have legalized sports betting. The law requires individuals to be 21-year-old in order to place bets, sets 15% tax on in-person wagers and a 20% tax on mobile bets. The law also allows sports betting on college teams, a point of contention between the Senate and House of Representatives. As a compromise, the law prohibits betting on Massachusetts college and university teams, unless they are participating in post-season tournaments. The Gaming Commission expects implementation to be a months-long process.
Policies to update emergency department boarding, expand access to mental health acute treatment, and require insurers to cover emergency service programs were included in the new mental health law also signed by the Governor last week.
Six years after recreational marijuana was approved by Massachusetts voters, the law has been updated to increase diversity in the industry, ensure oversight of municipal and business agreements, and take steps toward social consumption sites.
Michael Cox is sworn-in as Boston Police Commissioner on Monday.
On Friday, August 19, planned shutdowns begin on the MBTA. Service will be suspended at all stops on the Orange Line and stops north of Government Center station on the Green Line through September 18. Commuters can sign up for MBTA alerts to stay updated on service changes.