Beacon Hill Update from Mass Access – June 22, 2020June 22, 2020
As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 106,936 cases of COVID-19.
The state has now confirmed a total of 7,828 deaths from the virus.
On Friday afternoon Governor Baker announced the start of part 2 of Phase 2 of the economic reopening, effective Monday, June 22nd.
The second step of Phase 2 also included indoor dining, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and body piercing, personal training, massage therapy, hair removal, and hair replacement or scalp treatments.
The rules for indoor dining do not include capacity limitations, but do require tables to be six feet apart from each other and for parties to be limited to six or fewer guests.
Seating is also prohibited at the bar.
Phase 3 could be implemented as soon as next Monday, June 29th if current public health trends continue.
Governor Baker said he wants at least two weeks of data from indoor dining before deciding on Phase 3, which would push the reopening of gyms, movie theaters and other larger indoor spaces beyond June 29.
Governor Baker on Friday filed a $5.25 billion interim spending bill that would keep government running beyond June 30 through July.
The new fiscal year is set to begin in less than two weeks, but neither the House nor the Senate have produced an annual spending proposal as they wait to gauge how severely the pandemic-caused recession will erode state tax revenues, and how slowly or quickly the economy might rebound.
House and Senate leaders have not laid out a timeline yet for completion of a budget for the full fiscal year, but Governor Baker said the money that would be authorized in the temporary budget would be sufficient to cover government operations through July.
The House and Senate have seven business days to pass the bill, but were expecting its filing and could act as soon as next week.
The House meets again in informal session on Monday at 11am.
The Senate meets next in informal session on Monday at 11 a.m.
The Senate is expected to take up health care legislation on Thursday in a formal session.
A pair of bills filed in the House and Senate this week would make Juneteenth an official state holiday in Massachusetts.
The lawmakers who filed the bills here said in a press release that they did so “on behalf of their constituents and in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives.”
Juneteenth marks the day, June 19, 1865, that enslaved African Americans in Texas received word they were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
The bills (HD 5141, SD 2975) were filed in the House by Reps. Maria Robinson, Bud Williams, Mindy Domb and Chynah Tyler, and in the Senate by Sens. Brendan Crighton, Sonia Chang-Diaz and Jo Comerford.
A new House panel formed to explore COVID-19 recovery plans its first hearing Tuesday, and will hear from three invited guests about strategies to ensure the financial stability of health care providers.
House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, who is leading the panel, has invited testimony from Dr. Mark Keroack, President and CEO of Baystate Health; Christina Severin, President and CEO of Community Care Cooperative; and Lora Pellegrini, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.
The 1 p.m. hearing is also expected to delve into the possibility of legislatively extending Governor Baker’s emergency orders dealing with telemedicine and increased MassHealth rates.
The hearing will be conducted in Room A-2 with most participants engaging remotely and meeting livestream details will be forthcoming.
The other panel members are Reps. Joseph Wagner, Bradley Jones, Todd Smola, Daniel Cullinane, Mark Cusack, Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Edward Coppinger, Stephan Hay, James Murphy, Danielle Gregoire, Tackey Chan, Frank Moran, Sarah Peake and Carole Fiola.
Starting Friday, riders on some of the most popular lines can access real-time crowding information on the T’s website, on the MBTA-endorsed Transit app, and on digital signs across the network.
The new feature comes as MBTA leaders prepare for ridership to tick up after months of record lows during the COVID-19 outbreak.
They say travelers can make better-informed decisions about maintaining social distancing by knowing what conditions are like on buses.