Legislative Update: Week of October 25, 2021

Oct 26, 2021


In DC, the FDA authorized, and a CDC panel gave final approval to endorse mix-and-match boosters. An expert panel that advises the CDC on vaccine policy voted unanimously to recommend booster shots for people who were vaccinated with the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines. People who were vaccinated with the Moderna shot who meet eligibility criteria can get a booster shot six months or later after they completed their primary series, and all people who got the one-dose J&J vaccine should be boosted two months after the shot, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices stated. 

At the State House, the Massachusetts House passed legislation (H 4210) Thursday afternoon establishing new political boundaries for all 160 House districts. The proposed map increases the number of majority-minority districts from 20 to 33 and includes incumbent-free majority-minority seats in Brockton, Framingham, Lawrence, and Chelsea.


In Massachusetts, the House Ways and Means Committee released a spending plan earmarking up to $2.4 billion of the state’s $4.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds, along with an additional $1.15 billion of the state’s estimated $1.5 billion in surplus budget funds.  This bill allocates $500M to the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. This bill also includes $500M for premium pay bonuses for essential workers who provided critical services during the pandemic. Employees who worked in-person during the state of emergency who earned up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level would qualify. The full House plans to consider the bill this week during their formal session scheduled on Thursday, with the potential for formal session on Friday. The Senate would still need to pass their own bill and the two branches to reach a compromise before something is sent to the Governor for his consideration.

The Massachusetts State Senate plans to hold a formal session Wednesday to consider amendments and advance the bill (S 2560) redrawing the boundaries of the 40 Senate districts to reflect population shifts over the past decade. The Senate plan doubles the number of majority-minority districts from three to six, giving candidates of color more opportunities to win election over the next ten years. The Senate also on Wednesday is expected to sign off on the House plan to redraw the boundaries of the 160 districts in that branch, a proposal that carries more urgency since candidates need to establish residency in their districts one year ahead of the November 2022 election.

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