End of Session Review

After an unprecedented legislative session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019-2020 Massachusetts legislative session came to an end in the early morning hours of January 6th, 2021. In a typical 2-year legislative session most legislation and anything substantive must be passed before or by July 31st of the even year. However, given the pandemic, uncertainty related to revenues, and the need for more time to pass multiple important pieces of legislation, the Legislature had extended its session until January 5th, 2021. This extension gave legislators additional time to not only pass the FY21 budget but to address legislation that was in conference (economic development, transportation, healthcare, police reform, and climate change) and take up any necessary bills relating to COVID-19.

Fast forward to December 2020, the long anticipated FY21 budget was passed as was  comprehensive legislation addressing police reforms and healthcare. In addition, as the session closed on January 5th and 6th, compromise bills were passed by both chambers addressing climate change (vetoed by the Governor yesterday), transportation, and economic development (signed in part by the Governor yesterday).

Of importance to the workforce system and businesses around the state, an economic development bill, H.5250, An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth was enacted and signed by the Governor on January 14th. Click here to read a summary of the legislation and here for the full text. Note, eleven sections of the bill were vetoed by the Governor, these sections related to some of the housing proposals and a rural jobs tax credit.

In total, the bill includes a little over $627M in bond authorizations for housing, economic, and community development initiatives. A few items worth nothing include:
  • Massachusetts Technology Collaborative: (7002-8003) Authorizes $10,000,000 in matching grants to support collaboration among manufacturers located in the Commonwealth and institutions of higher education, nonprofits and other public or quasi-public entities.
  • Restaurant COVID-19 Grants: (7002-8034) Authorizes $20,000,000 for a program administered by EOHED to provide financial and capital assistance to restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COVID-19 State Payroll Protection Program: (7002-8035) Authorizes $30,000,000 for the Massachusetts Growth Corporation to provide small business loans to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to pay employee payroll, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on other debt obligations.
  • Vocational School Expansion Grants: (7035-2020) Authorizes $15,000,000 for capital grants to vocational technical schools to expand operating capacities and reduce wait lists.
  • Higher Education Workforce Grants: (7066-2020) Authorizes $15,000,000 for a grant program administered by the Department of Higher Education to support career-oriented programs and initiatives at community colleges.
  • Future of Work Commission:  Creates a special commission to conduct a comprehensive study relative to the impact of automation, artificial intelligence, global trade, access to new forms of data and the internet of things on the workforce, businesses and economy.
Scroll to Top