Legislative Update – Week of September 26, 2022

Sep 27, 2022

Last week:

Massachusetts is among the top states leading the nation in COVID-19 vaccination rates among ethnic and racial minorities. A report from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services shows that Massachusetts is third in the nation for the percentage of Black residents and Hispanic residents who are fully vaccinated. Still, as healthcare providers roll out new COVID-19 boosters that protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, they anticipate an “uphill battle” to encourage residents to get a booster.

Massachusetts has been ranked one of the best states in the country to work in, according to a new index by Oxfam America, which takes into consideration wage policies, worker protections, rights to organize, and minimum wage. Massachusetts ranked 6th out of the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

With workforce changes following the COVID-19 pandemic, some office buildings in Boston are being converted to housing. As the Wu Administration considers plans to revive the downtown core, and hybrid work increases, office buildings provide an opportunity to increase housing supply.

Federal funding to expand electric vehicle infrastructure will be awarded to Massachusetts following the state’s plan to increase electric vehicles on the road by 2030. The U.S. Department of Transportation will award a cumulative $63 million over the next four years for electric vehicle infrastructure projects, particularly aimed at expanding EV charging stations.

Following the 30-day shutdown of the Orange Line, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has announced several street-level changes to accommodate bus and bike traffic during the shutdown will be made permanent. These includes bus and bicycle-only lanes, additional bus stops on certain routes, designated drop-off zones, and bicycle infrastructure to support safety and connectivity.

A recent MassINC survey found that more than half of small businesses in Massachusetts are taking in less revenue now than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on Black, Latino, and Asian business entrepreneurs. For businesses owned by people of color, access to capital is a much greater concern compared with white business owners. Across the board, for 74% of small business owners with less than 500 employees, the biggest concern is rising costs due to inflation.

This week:

The Health Policy Commission (HPC) meets on Tuesday to discuss policy recommendations for the 2022 Health Care Cost Trends Report. Public session begins at 3pm and can be viewed via Livestream.

See all MassBio News