Legislative Update: Week of April 6, 2020

Apr 06, 2020

Last Week

Governor Baker announced last week that his “Essential Employees Order” and “Stay at Home Advisory” that were scheduled to end on April 7, 2020, will be extended to May 4, 2020, ordering all non-essential businesses to remain physically closed for the next month.  The new order retained language to classifies all biotech & pharma R&D as essential. 

Concerned for public safety with the coronavirus pandemic, the Massachusetts Democratic Party took steps to cancel the 2020 Nominating Convention, which was slated to be held on May 30th at the Tsongas Center – UMass Lowell.  In the high-profile race for U.S. Senate between Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy III, both campaigns agreed that Senator Markey would win the Convention’s endorsement, since he won over 70 percent of the delegates elected at the caucuses that were held across the state, and that Congressman Kennedy would surpass the 15% threshold needed to get on the ballot.

Friday marked that date when small businesses could begin applying for financial assistanceunder the US Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Included in the recently passed CARES Act, this program provides up to eight weeks of financial assistance for small businesses that employ 500 or fewer individuals.  Money from the program may be used to cover overall payroll costs if businesses retain employees.  Payroll costs include salary, wages, healthcare premiums, commission, vacation time, retirement benefits, and sick leave time.

This Week

On Monday, the Baker Administration launched a new corporate- and foundation-backed fund, the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund, that will support healthcare workers, the homeless, and others affected by the pandemic. Currently, the Fund has collected more than $13 million and is open to donations from the general public.

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