Members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation joined in calling for President Joe Biden to offer temporary protected status to Ukrainians in the United States on temporary visas. Both senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and congressional members Stephen Lynch, Jim McGovern, Richard Neal, and Ayanna Pressley signed on to a letter encouraging the Biden Administration to prevent temporary visa holders from being forced to return to Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion.
Gov. Baker issued an executive order to review and terminate state agency contracts with Russian government-controlled businesses and contractors in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Legislation was also filed in the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives calling for the Treasurer to divest the Commonwealth’s pension funds from Russian companies.
The Boston Public Health Commission voted to lift the indoor mask mandate in the city of Boston effective Saturday, March 5. Masks are still required in Boston Public Schools, healthcare and congregate care facilities, correctional facilities, and transportation including the MBTA, commuter rail, airports, and private transit such as Uber and Lyft. BPHC Executive Director Dr. Bisola Ojikutu plans to continue monitoring COVID-19 data and is prepared to bring back the mask mandate if necessary.
The Massachusetts Senate passed legislation requiring MassHealth to provide insurance to postpartum patients for at least one-year after delivery, in accordance with federal standards of postpartum care.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation to advance offshore wind and clean energy in an effort to meet the state’s renewable energy needs.
Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) is launching a two-year fare free bus pilot across all lines. Federal funding will be used to support the pilot. The MVRTA serves the communities of Lawrence, Haverhill, Andover, North Andover, Methuen, and Newburyport.
Former State Representative Kate Campanale (R-Leicester) entered the race for Lieutenant Governor, running as an informal ticket with Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Doughty (R-Wrentham). Campanale is the first Republican candidate in the race for Lieutenant Governor joining a crowded field of Democratic candidates, including Boston businessman Bret Bero, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, State Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton, State Senator Adam Hinds of Pittsfield, and State Senator Eric Lesser of Longmeadow.
Anthony Amore launched his campaign as Republican candidate for state Auditor. Amore joins two Democrats in the race: transportation leader Chris Dempsey and state Senator Diana DiZoglio.
On Monday, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means meets in a virtual hearing on healthcare spending in the Governor’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal. Representatives from executive agencies, including EOHHS, MassHealth, DPH, DMH, DCF, DDS, CHIA and Elder Affairs will testify.
Beginning Monday, COVID-19 measures required to enter the Massachusetts State House have been lifted. Visitors no longer need to wear masks, show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, nor a negative COVID-19 test. Individual legislative offices may continue to create their own COVID-19 policies.
The Transportation Committee meets on Wednesday to hear testimony on the Chapter 90 bond bill, annual funding for road, bridge, and other local transportation infrastructure projects in each of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.
On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Representative Maria Robinson (D-Framingham) appears before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for her nomination hearing to be Assistant Secretary of Energy (Office of Electricity).