Legislative Update – Week of February 20, 2023

Feb 21, 2023

Last week:

U.S. Secretary of Labor and former Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh will be the next executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), according to a statement from the union last week. Walsh will begin the role in mid-April.

In Washington, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chair of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP Committee), announced that Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel will testify next month in front of the committee for a hearing entitled, “Taxpayers Paid Billions For It: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of the COVID Vaccine?” Bancel is expected to testify March 22 at 10:00am, which will be livestreamed on the HELP Committee’s website.

The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing last Thursday on the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act, which would bring transparency to PBM business practices and prohibit conduct that increases prescription drug costs for consumers.

Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano made committee appointments of Democratic Senate and House members in their respective chambers. While the Senate President’s leadership team remains unchanged, Speaker Mariano appointed Rep. Mike Moran (D-Boston) as Majority Leader following a vacancy left last session by former state representative Claire Cronin (D-Brockton), who was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ireland by President Joe Biden. The Senate and House also passed a Joint Rules package, agreeing on a Joint Committee structure for the legislative session.

Governor Maura Healey announced she will release the state’s fiscal year 2024 budget on March 1, kicking off the annual budget process on Beacon Hill. The budget has traditionally been debated and passed by the House of Representatives in April, followed by the Senate in May. The fiscal year 2024 begins on July 1, 2023. Governor Healey also plans to release a tax package on March 1.

State Representative and former Boston mayoral candidate Jon Santiago (D-Boston) will be the next Secretary of Veterans Services for Massachusetts. A new state law elevates the Veterans Services Department to a cabinet-level office, making Santiago the first Secretary on March 1.

This week:

Monday, February 20 is President’s Day and a quiet week on Beacon Hill as this is school vacation week in Massachusetts.

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