Legislative Update: Week of June 29, 2020

Jun 29, 2020


Last Monday, President Trump issued a “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.” The terms of this proclamation are set to expire on December 31, 2020. MassBio President & CEO Bob Coughlin issued the following statement on the order:

“The Trump Administration’s Executive Order further restricting legal immigration including the suspension of H-1B visas through the end of 2020 will do nothing but hurt Massachusetts’ economic recovery and slow progress being made to develop the next-generation therapies and cures, including those for COVID-19. Our members and life sciences companies across the country already are facing a supply shortage of specialized, skilled workers across R&D and manufacturing. This Order will further exacerbate that problem, creating talent gaps across organizations. At a time when the federal government is spending hundreds of millions to address COVID-19, it is highly counterproductive to stop the flow of highly skilled immigrant workers necessary to help organizations create these new innovations in record time.”

On Thursday, MassBio released its State of Possible 2025 Report, a five-year strategic plan to define the future direction of the Massachusetts life sciences ecosystem and highlight the many systemic challenges that require attention for the cluster to stay ahead of the curve on scientific innovation. You can download the full report, here.

Governor Baker signed a $5.25 billion interim budget on Friday that will keep the government operating through at least July as it remains unlikely that the Massachusetts House of Representatives will release their fiscal year 2021 budget by the July 1 deadline and the start of the new fiscal year.


On Monday, the Massachusetts State Senate President Karen Spilka, Senator Cindy Friedman, Senator Jo Comerford, and Senator Adam Hinds hosted a listening session to hear from the Baker-Polito Administration, chief stakeholders, policy experts, impacted populations, and others and analyze the state of the healthcare system as Massachusetts reopens and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. And on Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate will take up a $1.1 billion COVID-19 spending bill, similar to what was passed in the House last week (House Bill 4808). As drafted, the Senate bill includes $350 million for personal protective equipment; $139 million for rate add-ons for essential human service providers; $93 million for human service worker incentive pay; $85 million for field hospitals and shelters; and millions more for contact tracing, child care, and elder services. It also makes $5 million available for election support.

July 1st marks the start of fiscal year 2021, and while the House continues to develop its full-year budget, the interim budget will keep the government operating through July.

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