Legislative Update: Week of December 13, 2021

Dec 13, 2021


The Biden Administration’s federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates for contractors across the country were blocked by a federal judge in Georgia. The U.S. Senate last week passed a resolution to repeal the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for companies of more than 100 employees.

The Senate Finance Committee released updated language for the Build Back Better bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated the bill will be passed by Christmas.

Massachusetts hospitals have been instructed to limit elective, non-essential treatments by 50% in the face of a worsening healthcare staffing shortage. UMass Memorial, the third-largest healthcare system in the state, does not currently have enough inpatient beds to meet demand. Meanwhile, despite rising COVID-19 cases, Governor Baker has indicated there is not a need for field hospitals to address the COVID-19 surge.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu unveiled the city’s plans to combat COVID-19 in the face of rising positive cases. Measures include opening city hall as a vaccination site, distributing free rapid antigen home tests, offering free masks in high-risk neighborhoods, expanding vaccination access to clinics and schools, and creating a COVID-19 Advisory Committee

The Massachusetts State House won’t be open to the public anytime soon, according to House Speaker Ron Mariano. In an interview of the weekend, Mariano spoke to prioritizing the health and safety of the hundreds of staff who work in the State House.

A handful of higher education institutions in Massachusetts, including UMass Amherst, Emerson College, and Bentley College, are requiring COVID-19 booster shots for students and staff before the spring semester.


In Massachusetts, at-home COVID-19 testing will be more widely available following the first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in Massachusetts last week. Beginning this week, over 2 million at-home tests will be distributed across the Commonwealth.

Tuesday is the last day voters across Revere, Winthrop, and parts of Cambridge and Boston will have the opportunity to cast their ballots in the Democratic primary for State Senate. Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards and Revere School Committee member Anthony D’Ambrosio are running in the special election to represent the First Suffolk and Middlesex District, vacated by Joe Boncore earlier this year.

See all MassBio News