Beacon Hill Update – September 10, 2021September 10, 2021
Friday, September 10, 2021
Provided by David Gauthier via MassAccess
As of Thursday night DPH reported a total of 723,633 cases of COVID-19.
The state reported 2,096 new confirmed cases and 18 new deaths.
The state now has 17,954 deaths from the virus.
New legislation from Rep. Christine Barber (HD 4340) would allow for collaborative drug therapy management in certain ambulatory care clinics if there is on-site or off-site supervision by an attending physician and collaborating pharmacist and if it is approved by the clinic’s medical staff executive committee.
Collaborative drug therapy management requires an agreement between a pharmacist and a health care provider and allows certain qualified pharmacists to take on the responsibility of patient assessment, ordering lab tests, and administering drugs, among other things, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The House on Thursday referred Barber’s bill to the Public Health Committee and also sent legislation relative to procurement in charter schools (HD 4352) to the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee.
Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the House held a moment of silence for the nearly 3,000 people and just over 200 Massachusetts residents or natives who died that day.
The House is back in session on Monday at 11 a.m.
The Senate Chamber burst to life Thursday with a hail-and-farewell session for Sen. Joseph Boncore of Winthrop, who later in the afternoon officially filed his resignation letter as he prepares to helm the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.
Boncore’s resignation will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday.
The Senate has yet to set a date for a special election to fill the Democrat’s seat, which covers Revere and Winthrop and parts of Cambridge and Boston.
One of Boncore’s last major tasks as chairman of the Transportation Committee was negotiating the annual Chapter 90 transportation funding bill, which incorporated millions in grant allocations and grew to $350 million when it was sent to the governor’s desk in July.
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill (H 3972) setting the bond terms for that law.
Also Thursday, senators agreed with the House to reclassify a new Sen. Becca Rausch bill (SD 2723), rerouting legislation that would require universal masking for students and school staff from the Public Health Committee to the Education Committee.
The House had non-concurred Aug. 26 with the Senate’s initial committee referral.
Both branches return to session Monday at 11 a.m.
The Supreme Judicial Court intervened on Thursday to allow supporters of a ballot question seeking to guarantee newborns access to life-saving medical care to begin collecting signatures in spite of Attorney General Maura Healey’s decision last week not to certify the initiative petition.
Justice Dalila Wendlandt granted the Massachusetts Newborn Protection Coalition a preliminary injunction, directing Healey to publish a summary of the petition and Secretary of State William Galvin to release the blank petition signature forms while the legal challenge proceeds in the court.
The ruling will allow proponents, led by Bernadette Lyons, to being collecting the more than 80,200 voter signatures required by Nov. 17 to advance to the next stage in the process of qualifying for the 2022 ballot.
Wendlandt’s decision stated that the decision to grant the injunction was made in agreement with all parties and without making a determination on the likelihood of the plaintiffs’ success.
Lyons, the wife of MassGOP Chairwoman Jim Lyons and chair of the Massachusetts Newborn Protection Coalition, celebrated the victory.
The federal government on Wednesday proposed adding the portion of the Neponset River that winds through Milton, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park to the list of the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned contaminated sites.
Citing sediment contamination stemming from the former operation of industrial mills and dams built to turn grinding wheels, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday included a 3.7-mile stretch of the Lower Neponset River on its list of 13 newly proposed Superfund sites.
If the river section is deemed a Superfund site, the designation could lead to more investigations and an eventual cleanup using federal resources and expertise.
The Lower Neponset River channel ranges from approximately 40 to 300 feet wide and comprises an estimated 40 acres running through the four communities.
Preliminary studies that date back to 2002 have indicated its sediments are contaminated with elevated levels of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls.
The site is bordered by residential, commercial areas and industrial areas, as well as public parcels including the Neponset River Greenway.
More than 130,000 Massachusetts Health Connector members are at risk of losing their insurance subsidies for 2022 unless they each take specific actions, and the agency plans a communication blitz to ensure people take those steps to keep their subsidies in place.
Connector Authority Executive Director Louis Gutierrez told the agency’s board Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service automatically amended more 2020 tax returns than usual, a result of filing changes created by the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
When returns are amended, he said, income data ends up different from the figures that exchanges like the Connector use to verify subsidy eligibility, and affected members lose that eligibility unless they follow a “fairly straightforward” review and update the income information in their accounts.