COVID-19 Massachusetts State House Update 5-4-20

May 4, 2020

  • As of Sunday night, DPH reported a total of 68,087 cases of COVID-19.
  • The state has now confirmed a total of 4,004 deaths from the virus.
  • Governor Baker did not hold a press availabilities this past weekend.
  • On Sunday, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office announced that seven states, including Massachusetts, had formed a regional consortium to jointly find and secure personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders, ventilators, COVID-19 testing materials and more.
  • Massachusetts is joining forces with New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island in the effort.
  • On Friday, Governor Baker signed an executive order requiring everyone in Massachusetts to wear a face covering when they go out in public.
  • Governor Baker described masks as a necessary part of what will become the “new normal” as the state begins to think about how to reopen businesses and prepare for more people to start using public transportation.
  • The order also gives businesses the authority to deny someone service if they don’t wear a mask.
  • The order is attached and goes into effect on May 6th.
  • House Speaker Robert DeLeo could call Democrats back to Beacon Hill to pass a package of emergency rules over the objection of Republican lawmakers in what would be a last-resort measure to force through the changes needed to allow members to vote on legislation remotely.
  • House Minority Leader Brad Jones twice last week blocked the rules package from advancing, raising minority party concerns over the new process that would be used during the COVID-19 pandemic for debating legislation that requires roll call votes, including the annual state budget.
  • The House has an informal session scheduled for Monday when leaders will try again to pass the new rules with a limited number of members present.
  • The bill House leaders want to take up is a House Ways and Means report on legislation (H 4593) that allows the Treasury to borrow an unspecified amount this fiscal year and pay it back by the end of the next fiscal year.
  • A full formal session could be scheduled for later in the week.
  • The Senate adjourned will also meet again Monday at 11 a.m.
  • They are likely to take up a municipal governance bill, S2673 that was being polled by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Friday.
  • House and Senate lawmakers have until the end of Tuesday to take up four proposed laws submitted through the initiative petition process.
  • If they do not act, which appears to be the likeliest outcome, campaigns pushing for the laws will need to collect 13,347 signatures by July 1 to force November ballot questions.
  • Tuesday is also the new deadline for a range of candidates to file nomination signatures needed to ensure access to the Sept. 1 primary ballot and Nov. 4 general election ballot.
  • On Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee is accepting written testimony from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on five bills related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a Sen. O’Connor domestic violence prevention bill (S 2571). The COVID-19 bills address topics including decarceration (H 4652), price gouging (H 4664) and protections for institutions that provide emergency aid (H 4659, S 2644). The committee is also accepting testimony on a Rep. Frank Moran bill (H 4658) that would authorize remote notarizations, an issue addressed in a law Gov. Baker signed on April 27.
  • Both the Gaming Commission and the Cannabis Control Commission meet remotely on Thursday.  Agendas to be announced.
  • Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has donated $500,000 in campaign funds to the Boston Resiliency Fund.
  • The NAACP has postponed its national convention previously scheduled for Boston in July.

Share This