LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES ACT UPON RELEVANT LEGISLATION; BOTTLE BILL EXPANSION TO STUDY
Towards the end of the week of June 11 the Massachusetts Legislature and its Committees acted upon several relevant proposals that were still before their respective Committees, due to the extension of reporting dates each had been granted. All legislative proposals were required to be reported out of their respective Committees by the last Wednesday of June of the first year of the two year legislative session (known as Joint Rule 10 day) unless granted an extension. Many of the extensions for legislation ended last week including those for the following proposals:
* Bottle deposit expansion -Legislation proposing to expand the type of containers covered under the state’s bottle deposit law was placed into a study on June 14;
* Plastic bags - Legislation on plastic bags was rewritten to require all plastic bags that are distributed from: 1.) retail locations with more than 4,000 square feet and more than three locations in Massachusetts, 2.) retail pharmacies with more than five locations in Massachusetts, and; 3.) supermarkets with gross annual sales of more than $1,000,000, to be compostable as well as marine degradable. MFA will be working with other affected industry sectors to oppose this bill, which would harm MFA’s program established with MA DEP to increase their recycling under an MOU;
* Private restroom use - Legislation requiring public access to private restrooms for persons with certain medical conditions was reported favorably out of Committee and ordered to a third reading.
MFA is still in the process of determining the status of many relevant proposals that were granted an extension due to the slow reporting process of Committees at the end of last week.
GREATER BOSTON FOOD BANK SEEKS DONATIONS FOR ITS KIDS CAFÉ SUMMER MENU
The Greater Boston Food Bank is seeking donations for its Kids café summer menu program. If you wish to donate specific programs listed on the attached spreadsheet, please contact the Food Bank at (617) 427-5200. Hunger hurts one in nine residents of eastern Massachusetts. We can help. Visit www.GBFB.org. Visit www.giveadoodle.org to trigger a donation to GBFB from a sponsor.
HEALTH CARE COST REDUCTION LEGISLATION TO CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
On Thursday, June 15 the MA Legislature sent both House and Senate health care cost containment proposals to a Conference Committee to work out the differences between the two proposals. Appointed from the Senate to the Conference Committee were: Senator Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge), Senator Anthony Petruccelli (D-Boston) and Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). House appointees include: Representative Steven Walsh (D-Lynn), Representative Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) and Representative F. Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield). Members of the Conference Committee are charged with working out the differences between the proposals from each branch (H4155 and S2270), however each proposal contains similar language that does not penalize businesses that offer health care to their employees but do not meet the required threshold of enrollees to avoid a penalty because those employees are enrolled in another plan, such as those offered by their spouse or parents. Slight differences exist in each of these approaches to help employees avoid the penalty, such as MFA’s Board member Ronn Garry of Tropical Foods, but language addressing this issue must remain in the final Conference Committee report since it is contained in both the House and Senate bills.