Congressional Democrats reached a compromise on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The legislation includes over $1 trillion in funding, with billions of dollars for transportation projects on road, bridges, and rail; broadband access; and infrastructure projects, such as water systems. The legislation notably did not include safety net programs that were considered essential to many progressive Democratic members. These programs, such as childcare, Medicare expansion, and enhanced childcare tax credit, may be addressed in ongoing negotiations of President Biden’s Build Back Better bill.
The Biden Administration released a new vaccine mandate requiring companies with at least 100 employees to be vaccinated or receive weekly negative COVID-19 tests. The OSHA rule will take effect January 4, 2022 and is expected to impact over 100 million workers across the country. A U.S. federal appeals court issued a stay on Saturday freezing these efforts after numerous Republican-led states filed legal challenges against the new rule.
The Centers for Disease Control approved COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, the first COVID-19 vaccination available to children in this age group in the United States.
The Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Redistricting Committee released proposed new maps for the U.S. House and Governor’s Council. The maps reshuffled each of the nine congressional districts. Notably, the redistricting proposal has united Fall River in the Fourth District, separating the city from New Bedford, which remains in the Ninth District. Representatives Auchincloss, Keating, and a number of advocates have expressed the importance of uniting these culturally similar, coastal Gateway Cities.
Michelle Wu will be Boston’s next mayor; becoming the first woman, first person of color, and first Asian American elected to the corner office. Wu will be sworn-in on November 16, taking the reins from acting Mayor Kim Janey. Janey’s ascension to Mayor following the resignation of now-U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh was equally historic, as she became the first Black woman to be Mayor of Boston.
The Massachusetts Senate is in formal session on Wednesday to debate a $3.66 billion spending bill, utilizing funds from federal ARPA bill and FY21 state surplus. Legislators have filed 722 amendments to the legislation.
On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing will hold a public hearing on a number of bills, including legislation to enhance privacy protections for electronic health records, and legislation to create a commission on chronic disease care self-management. The Joint Committee on Financial Services will hold a public hearing on several bills related to health insurance matters, including legislation related to unpaid deductibles and co-payments.
On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Public Health will hold a public hearing on several bills related to disease prevention, screening, and treatment. The Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight will hold a public hearing on matters concerning honorary bills, including a bill to designate the last day in February as Rare Disease Day.