COVID-19 – Massachusetts State Update – 5-2-2020

May 2, 2020

  • As of Friday night, DPH reported a total of 64,311 cases of COVID-19.
  • The state has now confirmed a total of 3,716 deaths from the virus.
  • 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.
  • House Speaker Robert DeLeo is making preparations to 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.
  • The House will meet again on Monday at 11am.
  • 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.
  • Gaming regulators voted Friday to prolong their mandated shutdown of the state’s slots parlor and casinos until at least May 18 in line with Governor Baker’s latest order, and announced plans for an internal group to focus in-depth on issues around re-opening casinos.
  • Commissioners agreed that keeping their forced shutdown in place for at least the duration of the governor’s order was appropriate.

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