Legislative Update – Week of January 9, 2023

Jan 10, 2023

Last week:

Maura Healey (D-Cambridge) was inaugurated as Governor of Massachusetts on Thursday, becoming the first woman elected Governor in Massachusetts history and the first out-lesbian governor in U.S. history. She and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll (D-Salem) are the first woman executive leadership team in the Commonwealth. Healey has also appointed members of her cabinet:

  • Matthew Gorzkowicz as Secretary of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance
  • Dr. Patrick Tutwiler as Education Secretary
  • Gina Fiandaca as Transportation Secretary
  • Rebecca Tepper as Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Jason Snyder as Secretary of the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security
  • Yvonne Hao as Economic Development Secretary
  • Terrence Reidy as Public Safety Secretary
  • Melissa Hoffer to lead the newly-created Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience

Following the swearing-in of the 193rd General Court, both House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka were re-elected by their colleagues to lead the House and Senate, respectively. In her first speech to the Senate this session, the Senate President announced that the Senate plans to address drug pricing reform this session. Spilka also announced her goal to make community colleges tuition free for all students.

The Joint Committee on Transportation released a 78-page report outlining recommended structural changes to the MBTA, following a series of oversight hearings last year. Recommendations include moving responsibilities of commuter rail to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) Rail and Transit Division, shifting ferry operations under MassDOT or a new oversight body, and moving construction currently overseen by the MBTA to the High Performance Project Office at MassDOT.

Zach Stanley, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, talks about a citizen zoning petition that would limit where labs can go in the City of Cambridge. This content originally aired on Bloomberg Boston Radio’s Baystate Business Hour on Wednesday, January 4, 2023.

Despite a Republican majority, the U.S. House of Representatives took 15 rounds of floor votes on to elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker of the House. The new Speaker faces a very slim majority, with 222 Republican members and 212 Democratic members, and fractures within his own party.

In the Senate, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) became the first woman to serve as Senate President pro tempore.

This week:

The U.S. House of Representatives could face another lengthy session as they vote on the House rules package, which determines how the House of Representatives does their business.

UMass Boston and Chelsea Public Schools are among those who will reinstate indoor mask mandates this week following a spike in COVID-19 cases in Suffolk County. Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) indicated On The Record a potential return of mask mandate at the State House. COVID-19 hospitalizations in Boston have increased 41% over the past two weeks and Boston Health Commissioner Dr. Bisola Ojikutu is encouraging city residents to mask indoors, stay home when sick, and test for COVID-19.

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