Legislative Update: Week of July 4, 2022

Jul 05, 2022

Last week:

A tax relief package filed by Governor Charlie Baker passed the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee last week. The $600 million tax relief package, as redrafted by the Committee, would include tax breaks for renters, seniors, parents, and low-income workers, and makes changes to the estate and capital gains taxes.

The MA House of Representatives unanimously passed H.4929, An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety, legislation that limits the use of step therapy in Massachusetts. Step therapy occurs when an insurer requires a patient to fail on one drug prior to authorizing a different drug that may be more expensive. This is the first time such legislation passed the House. It now moves to the Senate for consideration, which passed similar legislation in 2020. 

The Baker Administration and the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs on Thursday released a Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2025 and 2030. The Plan includes action steps to meet statewide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) limits and sector specific sub-limits created by 2021 state law. The plan includes environmental justice policy, lowering GHG emissions from transportation and buildings, support cleaner energy sources, and protecting natural and working lands to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States on Thursday. Jackson was nominated as Associate Justice by President Biden in February and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in April.

Boston City Council President Ed Flynn and Councilor Kendra Lara proposed a resolution declaring traffic safety a public health crisis, citing traffic-safety issues and a need for safer streets.

Mary Skipper is Boston Public School’s new superintendent following last week’s vote by the Boston School Committee. Skipper, who has lived in Dorchester for nearly 30 years, has been superintendent for Somerville Public Schools for the past seven years and was founding headmaster of TechBoston Academy of the BPS system.

The Vaccine Equity Now coalition issued the Baker Administration a report card on their COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The group of racial justice, immigrant advocacy, and public health leaders gave the state a C in intent of addressing historical and present-day context and an F in intent of accountability, and a B in intent of implementation.

This week:

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate will debate a bill to fund early education and childcare in the state (S.2973). The legislation, unveiled last week by Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Mike Rodrigues and Senate Education Committee Chair Jason Lewis, would make childcare more affordable and increase salaries for early educators. Amendments to the bill are due on Tuesday at 3:00pm. 

Many Senate and House sessions are expected in the coming weeks as formal sessions for the two-year legislative session end on July 31.

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