On Tuesday, the Massachusetts House and Senate Ways and Means committees held their final public hearing on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), hearing testimony on how to spend the state’s $4.8 billion, and the Senate’s Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts: Post Pandemic Resiliency also published its first report outlining how the funds can best be spent. The House and Senate have roughly five weeks to draft and vote on where to allocated ARPA funds before breaking for their November recess.
Also last week, the state’s Joint Committee on Public Health held a virtual public hearing related to food and nutrition, during which committee members heard testimony on House Bill 2397, an act creating an obesity task force and pilot program.
Massachusetts’ House and Senate leaders on Tuesday presented redrawn legislative districts, based on the population growth accounted for in the last census. These new districts would be in effect for the 2022 elections. The maps will be presented during a virtual hearing held by the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting and include a public comment period to solicit feedback on the proposed districts.
The Massachusetts Fail First Coalition will host a virtual legislative briefing on Wednesday, October 13 at 10am in support of H1311/S756. Attendees will hear first-hand from patients and doctors about the impact that fail-first and step therapy protocols have on patient care.
Also this week, the state’s approximately 45,000 executive department employees must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by the October 17th deadline. In the legislature, Senate President Karen Spilka issued an October 15th vaccine mandate deadline for senators and staff and the House is in discussions for a November 1st deadline.