Legislative Update – Week of October 17, 2022

Oct 18, 2022

Last week:

President Joe Biden signed an executive order that directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to explore additional actions to lower prescription drug costs, in addition to measures already passed in the Inflation Reduction Act.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren presided over an oversight hearing of the MBTA through her role as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. During the hearing, which took place in Boston, Senator Warren questioned MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and Chair of the MA Department of Public Utilities Matthew Nelson on safety issues with the MBTA.

The application for federal student loan relief opened on Friday in a Beta launch. The deadline to apply for up to $20,000 in federal student debt forgiveness is December 31, 2023. More information about federal student loan debt forgiveness can be found here.

A group of Massachusetts elected officials are pushing to limit the tax credit high-income earners will receive through Chapter 62F, a 1986 law, which requires excess tax revenue to be returned to taxpayers proportionate to the taxes paid.  Massachusetts residents who paid personal income taxes in the 2021 tax year will receive refunds this fall from the state’s $2.9 billion in excess tax revenue. The Baker Administration has launched a Tax Refund Estimator, with refunds expected to begin in November. Massachusetts Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) and Representation Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) filed legislation that would cap the maximum tax credit at $6,500.

On Wednesday, candidates for Governor of Massachusetts, Maura Healey (D-Boston) and Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) met in their first debate. The candidates will debate again this Thursday at 8pm.

This week:

This week is Mass STEM Week. From October 17 through October 21, the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council are sponsoring events and programs across the state this week to support awareness, interest, and access to STEM education.

Early voting in the Massachusetts General Election begins this Saturday, October 22. The early voting period runs until November 4. Voters can also cast their ballots on Election Day, November 8. A list of early voting locations by municipality can be found here.

On Tuesday, the MBTA Advisory Board hosts a virtual forum on “Moving the Commonwealth Forward: The Future of the MBTA.” Those testifying include former MBTA officials, elected officials, and transportation experts. The virtual forum is at 10am on Tuesday.

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