The Senate Ways and Means Committee released their $49.7 billion fiscal year 2023 budget proposal. Senate members filed a cumulative 1,178 amendments for consideration. Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) filed amendment #831 “Copay Assistance Sunset Extension” and Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) filed amendment #385 “Prescription Drug Coupon,” both of which would extend the use of prescription drug coupons until 2026. Identical language was included in the House budget passed last month, thanks to a redrafted amendment filed by Representative Ed Coppinger (D-Boston). Senator Tarr also filed amendment #580 “Repealing the Sunset on Co-Pay Assistance,” which would repeal the sunset entirely. The current law is due to sunset on January 1, 2023. If the sunset is not eliminated or extended by the Legislature before the end of 2022, Massachusetts residents will not be allowed to access coupons or vouchers under any circumstances. Senate debate begins on Tuesday, May 24.
The city of Worcester issued an advisory on Friday encouraging residents to wear masks indoors.
On Monday, a new effort was launched to rally support for locating the newly-funded federal Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in Massachusetts. The effort includes top leaders from Massachusetts higher education, industry and government convened by Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means Chair Richard E. Neal, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan, and MassBio CEO Joe Boncore.
ARPA-H was created by the Biden Administration to accelerate research aimed at preventing and curing diseases ranging from infectious disease, chronic disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. The March 2022 omnibus passed by Congress and signed into law by the President invested $1 billion to launch ARPA-H. The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal includes an additional $6.5 billion in funding for ARPA-H for the next three years.
On Tuesday, MassBio hosts our annual Spring Reception in Washington, DC. MassBio’s Annual Spring Reception for Massachusetts Leaders on Capitol Hill has become a premier, “must-attend” event for industry CEOs and senior government affairs executives seeking to network with members of the influential Massachusetts Congressional delegation. Register here to attend.
On Monday, the MBTA Subcommittee on Safety, Health, and Environment holds a virtual meeting at 11am to discuss the FTA Safety Management Inspection Update. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) plans to take an “increased safety oversight role” of the MBTA as they are “extremely concerned with the ongoing safety issues.”
Saturday is the MassGOP 2022 Convention at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Republican candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and receiver general, and auditor, must receive the votes of at least 15% of delegates to qualify for the Sept. 6 primary election ballot.