Legislative Update: Week of May 9, 2022

May 09, 2022


On Wednesday, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee unveiled a comprehensive legislative package to reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee agreements. The bipartisan package reauthorizes the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) and other user fee agreements, and includes provisions to support patients by lowering costs and providing a clear path for innovators, such as improvements and program integrity for accelerated approval, requirements regarding clinical trial diversity, and policies to improve generic drug competition.

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation known as the Work and Family Mobility Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts to obtain a driver’s license. The House of Representatives passed their bill in February. The House and Senate must now reconcile the differences between the two bills before it can be sent to the Governor. In Boston, Gabriela “Gigi” Coletta won the special election held on Tuesday and will be the next Boston City Councilor for District 1, representing East Boston, North End, and Charlestown.


Dr. Julie Chen will be UMass Lowell’s next chancellor, announced on Monday. Chen, who has served in faculty and leadership roles at UMass Lowell for 25 years, received unanimous support from the UMass Board of Trustees and will become the first Asian-American chancellor.

The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a public hearing on Monday on Governor Charlie Baker’s Economic Development bill. Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox testified in person. This bill authorizes $3.523 billion in spending, including $2.267 billion in authorizations to spend federal money. Under federal law, American Rescue Plan Act Fiscal Recovery Fund money must be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee will release its fiscal year 2023 budget recommendations on Tuesday. The House of Representatives passed their $49.7 billion budget proposal late last month. Senators have until Friday, May 13 at 1PM to file their amendments to the budget. Senate debate will begin on Tuesday, May 24.

Massachusetts candidates for statewide office and Congressional candidates must submit signed nomination papers to local voting officials by Tuesday, May 10, in order to be on the ballot this fall. The number of signatures and residency requirements vary based on office sought. Candidates for U.S. representative need to collect at least 2,000 signatures from registered voters; those running for state auditor, treasurer and receiver general, and secretary of state must collect at least 5,000 signatures; and governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general hopefuls must collect at least 10,000 signatures.

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