Beacon Hill Update from Mass Access -December 14, 2020December 14, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020
President, Mass Access
As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 279,574 cases of COVID-19.
The state reported 4,677 new confirmed cases.
The state has now confirmed a total of 11,098 deaths from the virus.
Both the House and Senate are scheduled to have informal sessions today at 11am.
House leaders have advised members of the potential for formal sessions throughout the week.
Senate leaders did not release a session schedule beyond Monday’s informal session.
Conference committee talks remain ongoing with less than four weeks remaining for legislators to finish or fail when it comes to big bills governing climate change, economic development, transportation spending and health care policy.
Massachusetts electors on Monday are set to advance the process of seating a new president, gathering to cast the state’s 11 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
Normally an extravagant ceremony, the event is pared down this year to avoid a large crowd or a lengthy gathering, but the electors must still meet physically at the State House as required by state law.
The electors will meet at 3PM in the House chamber.
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets Monday, where it is expected to vote on a wide-ranging package of service cuts that will reshape the T to cope with a massive financial deficit inflicted by significantly lower pandemic-era ridership.
The final proposal will not emerge until Monday before the vote, and T officials indicated they might rein in the original plan, which included eliminating weekend commuter rail service, shuttering 25 bus routes and some ferries, and cutting subway frequency 20 percent, to focus on reductions rather than outright cuts.
The T encountered strong resistance to its original plan, but defenders of the T’s strategy say the agency can’t afford to keep running so many empty trains and buses.
As of yesterday, tighter restrictions on business activity take effect once again under a statewide rollback Governor Baker ordered to cope with rapid COVID-19 transmission.
All communities must move back to Phase 3, Step 1 of the administration’s phased reopening plan starting Sunday, which means indoor performance venues and some recreation businesses must close and outdoor gatherings at event venues cannot host more than 50 people.
Allowable capacity must drop from 50 percent to 40 percent at a range of businesses including gyms, libraries, retail stores, offices and more, as well as places of worship.
Governor Baker also ordered restaurants to lower the maximum table size from 10 people to six people, halt musical performances, and implement a 90-minute time limit per table.