Legislative Update, Week of June 27, 2022

Jun 27, 2022

Last week:

State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston) ended her campaign for Governor. Her name will still appear on the Democratic primary ballot in September. Chang-Diaz, who has represented several neighborhoods in Boston since 2009, is the first Latina and first Asian-American state senator, and the first woman of color to make it on the gubernatorial ballot in Massachusetts

The Boston and Cambridge cluster remains the top ranked metro area for life sciences talent in the United States, according to a report released by real estate firm CBRE on “Life Sciences Research Talent 2022.” The Boston/Cambridge area has the highest density of medical scientists, bioengineers and biomedical engineers, microbiologists, and biological technicians in the country. Boston and Cambridge are also home to the highest number of biological/biomedical sciences degrees. CBRE’s findings show that the life sciences cluster stretches beyond the city limits of Boston and Cambridge, “optimal talent pools of life sciences research talent exist along two of the region’s notable subway lines: the Green line, running west through Brookline and Newton, and the Red Line, stretching through Cambridge and the city of Boston.”

The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed an $11 billion transportation infrastructure bond bill, which includes major investments in the MBTA and the expansion of regional rail systems as well as funding for initiatives to reduce congestion and electrify public transit. The bill will next be considered by the Senate.

Massachusetts leaders on Friday responded to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, which overturns constitutional protections to abortion established in Roe v. Wade. Read MassBio’s statement from CEO Joe Boncore and President & COO Kendalle Burlin O’Connell. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order to protect patients from other states who receive abortion care in Massachusetts, and to protect healthcare providers who perform these abortions. During a rally in front of the Massachusetts State House, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren called on the Biden Administration to expand the Supreme Court and examine whether abortions could be offered on federal land in states where abortions are banned.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker aimed to strengthen the state’s supplier-diversity efforts through an executive order released on Friday to create inclusion and diversity efforts under the Supplier Diversity Office (SDO). The executive order coincides with the SDO’s fiscal year 2021 report released on Friday which showed that overall Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) spending grew by $88 million in FY2021 over the prior year.

A conference committee of Massachusetts House and Senate members has been appointed to reconcile the differences between mental health legislation (H 4879S 2584). Senators Julian Cyr (D-Truro), Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Representatives Adrian Madaro (D-East Boston), Denise Garlick (D-Needham), and Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) will serve on the Conference Committee for the legislation intended to improve access to mental and behavioral health services.

This week:

On Monday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a temporary $6 billion budget to keep state operations running in July. Fiscal year 2023 begins this Friday, July 1. Legislators from the Massachusetts House and Senate are still working to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the $50 billion fiscal year 2023 budget, led by Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston).

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) meets on Tuesday to determine next steps for the Boston Public School system. Commissioner Jeff Riley has recommended that Boston Public Schools be designated as an underperforming district. If Riley’s recommendation is approved, the district will not enter a receivership and would still be run by the school district, but DESE would like appoint individuals or a team to monitor the district. 

The Massachusetts Senate holds formal session on Thursday to debate a number of bills, including legislation allowing pharmacists to prescribe, dispense and administer pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP (S 2955).

On Friday, several new MBTA fare policies take effect including options for riders eligible for reduced fares.

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