PUBLIC POLICY AGENDA

MWA’s full
2020 Public Policy Agenda
coming soon

MWA is the voice for the Commonwealth’s regionally-led workforce system on the issues that matter at the federal, state, and local level. From testimony, legislative visits, state agency engagement, and more, MWA staff works on its members’ behalf at the State House and in D.C.

An important part of this work is a robust public policy workforce agenda that informs federal, state, and local workforce policies. Through its councils, public policy committee, and Board of Directors, MWA advocates for public policies and resources to support our members in meeting the talent needs of local businesses and connecting job seekers to employment and career pathways. 

MWA is the voice for the Commonwealth’s regionally-led workforce system on the issues that matter at the federal, state, and local level. From testimony, legislative visits, state agency engagement, and more, MWA staff works on its members’ behalf at the State House and in D.C.

Testimony/ Letters

Click on the links below to read testimony and letters submitted by MWA and its partners on important federal and state issues.

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Public Policy Resources

MWA supports members in their efforts to advocate for the policies and resources necessary for a strong and effective workforce system. Below are resources, tools and contact information to support these efforts.

COVID-19 Legislation

State Legislation Related to COVID-19 Response

This legislation will allow restaurants to also sell mixed drinks for off-premises consumption with take-out/delivery orders through February 2021 or until the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted, whichever comes later.  The cocktails must be sold in sealed containers, and customers will be limited to 64 ounces of mixed drinks per transaction.

Click here for the bill text.

On July 16, the Legislature sent Governor Baker a $1.1 billion FY20 supplemental budget bill. In addition to over $1 billion in COVID-19 related spending, the bill includes almost $35 million in local earmarks, most of which are for local coronavirus-related expenses.  The Baker Administration has previously stated that all the funds appropriated by the bill are expected to be reimbursed by the federal government.

Specifically, the bill authorizes $1 billion that was already spent last fiscal year including (not all funding listed):

  • $350 million for PPE
  • $111 million in payments to hospitals and health care providers;
  • $139 million for rate add-ons for human service providers, including congregate care facilities;
  • $93 million for incentive pay for workers at facilities open 24 hours a day;
  • $85 million for field hospitals;
  • $44 million for community tracing efforts; and
  • $81 million for various daycare and early childhood programs

Looking ahead, the bill also contains some COVID-related funding for FY2021 including (not all funding listed):

  • $37 million for housing-related programs;
  • $10 million for Mass Growth Capital to provide grants to small businesses to cover payroll and benefits, mortgage interest, rent and utilities;
  • $15 million for food assistance programs;
  • $5 million for the Secretary of State to send out applications for mail-in ballots for this year’s election;
  • Other earmarks include – early intervention services, expansion of summer jobs for at risk-youth, small business grants, nonprofit grants, and assistance for those out of work;
  • Creates a public-private trust fund to benefit early education and care providers and requires the state to collect and make public information available about COVID-19 cases among children in childcare; and
  • Finally, establishes Juneteenth (June 19th) as a state holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery.

Note this bill is not yet signed by the Governor. Click here for the bill text.

This legislation allows for more voting options in 2020 based on the COVID-19 state of emergency including:

  • Instructing the Secretary of State’s office to mail every voter an application to request a mail-in ballot for the primaries on September 1st and the general election on November 3rd.
  • Creating an early voting window before the statewide primary and expanding early voting before the November general election.
  • Allowing local clerks to change the location of a polling station up to 20 days before the election (in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak at a polling location) but directing local officials to evaluate and report publicly whether changing a polling location would have a “disparate adverse, impact on access to the polls on the basis of race national origin, disability, income, or age.” 
  • Mandating that by October 1st the Secretary of State creates an online portal for voters to request an early or absentee ballot for the general election, and if feasible, for primaries.

Click here for the bill text.

  • Requires the Department of Public Health to compile and publish daily reports on COVID-19’s impact on elder care facilities including known COVID-19 positive cases among residents, the number of deaths, the number of known positive cases among staff, and the number of deaths among the staff.
  • Requires the Department of Public Health to collect and publish daily data from all boards of health in the Commonwealth, including data related to gender, race, ethnicity, primary city or town of residence, age, disability, primary language, occupation, and any other demographic data deemed important.
  • Increases the reporting requirements of correctional facilities relating to COVID-19.
  • Creates a task force to study how Massachusetts can address health disparities amid the outbreak.

Click here for the bill text.

  • During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, allows municipalities to lower the quorum requirement for town meeting and allows for remote participation. Also allows select boards and town moderators to hold town meetings outside their own town boundaries.
  • Allows local officials to delay any municipal election scheduled for June into July and allow towns that hold municipal elections by caucuses to use nomination papers instead.
  • On municipal budgets, will allow mayors to submit budgets to city councils within 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency or July 31, 2020, whichever is earlier. It will also allow for up to three one-month budgets.
  • Finally, it will give DESE the power to issue emergency educator licenses. 

Click here for the bill text.

  • Expands the maximum allowable claims period from 26 weeks to 30 weeks for any week that exceeds 100,000 claims;
  • For any individual separated from employment as a result of COVID-19, or the effects of the governor’s March 10, 2020 state of emergency declaration, benefits paid to that individual shall not be charged to the account of any employer nor included in the calculation of an employer’s unemployment experience rate (including any benefits paid for by federal funds);
  • Ensures that UI dependency benefits shall not be subject to the current  50% limit on an individual’s weekly benefit amount. 

Click here for the bill text.

This legislation will allow the Administration through the Treasurer to borrow funds as needed this fiscal year to meet the Commonwealth’s financial obligations. Given the state tax filing deadline extension from April until July, this is necessary to ensure all fiscal obligations are met.
Click here for the bill text.

This legislation directs the Department of Public Health to develop a set of minimum standards for foundational public health services for the state, and would establish a state action for public health excellence program that would encourage local boards of health to adopt certain practices. 

Click here for the bill text.

This legislation authorizes Massachusetts notaries to use real-time electronic video conferencing to perform “an acknowledgement, affirmation or other notarial act” during the COVID-19 crisis. Those signing the document, witnesses, and the notary public do not need to be in each other’s physical presence; however, in addition to the audio and video recording, which will be retained for 10 years, the notary public must:

    • Observe each principal’s execution of a document;
    • Be physically located in MA along with each principal; and
    • The principal must deliver the executed document to the notary public.

Click here for the bill text.

This legislation temporarily bans most eviction and foreclosure proceedings in Massachusetts. It applies to residents and small business owners who rent property. 
Click here for the bill text.
Click here for a bill summary by Greater Boston Legal Services.

This legislation provides liability protections for health care workers and facilities during the pandemic. It gives health care professionals, including those working in the new field hospitals across the state, immunity from lawsuits and civil liability for alleged damages related to COVID-19 if the services were provided in good faith and did not stem from gross negligence, recklessness or an intent to harm or discriminate.
Click here for the bill text.

This legislation:

  • Amends the budget deadlines for the MBTA;
  • Increases spending flexibility for important housing related line items (RAFT and MRVP programs);
  • Allows DESE to modify or waive high school graduation competency requirements, requires DESE to waive MCAS requirements for this year, and permits DESE to certify a one-twelfth budget for school districts; and
  • Requires the Commissioner of DESE to delay the deadline for school districts to submit their first 3-year plan as required by the new Student Opportunity Act.

    Click here for the bill text.

This legislation allows for the following flexibilities:

  • Modifying the local permitting processes in municipalities;
  • Modifying local town meeting deadlines;
  • Extending municipal tax deadlines;
  • Allowing for additional flexibility for retired state and local workers;
  • Allowing certain food establishments to sell wine and beer for takeout or delivery; and
  • Allowing non-profit and public corporations to let board members and shareholders participate in board meetings remotely during this emergency.

Click here for the bill text.

This legislation allows cities and towns to postpone municipal elections and allow eligible voters to vote early by mail for any annual or special municipal or state election held before June 30, 2020.
Click here for the bill text.

This legislation waives the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits to be paid to workers impacted by COVID-19. 
Click here for the bill text.

This legislation provided $15 million in funding to support the Commonwealth’s monitoring, treatment, containment, public awareness, and production efforts against COVID-19.
Click here for the bill text.

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