MFA NEWS SCAN MARCH 30, 2015

MFA NEWS SCAN MARCH 30, 2015


- Friday, April 03, 2015



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MA DTA INCURS ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS

Due to ongoing administrative and technical problems at the Department of Transitional Assistance, it has been reported that the caseload of eligible recipients for the Massachusetts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is dropping at a much faster rate than both the national average and the state's unemployment rate. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,  state numbers show that between Oct. 2013 and Oct. 2014, there was an 8.3 percent drop in the food stamp caseload in Massachusetts, or 72,550 less participants in all.  It is estimated that Massachusetts is now losing approximately $9.5 million every month in federal nutrition dollars associated with the DTA's failing new SNAP application system.  The most recently released SNAP numbers show that from Nov. 2013 to Nov. 2014, SNAP households in Massachusetts dropped by 7.6 percent. The SNAP national average decline was just 0.9 percent.

 

GOVERNOR BAKER REQUESTS FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE

On Friday, March 27 Republican Governor Charlie Baker formally asked President Obama to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance (PA) for 10 counties, including Snow Assistance for 9 of the 10 counties, as a result of the month-long period of record-breaking snow and cold temperatures that impacted the state between January 26th and February 22nd.  Citing the historic and unrelenting snow that resulted from a persistent weather pattern that dropped over 8’ feet of snow, the Governor asked the President to provide disaster financial assistance to help the state and 250 municipalities, and private non-profit organizations, absorb almost $400M in storm related costs, including $350M in snow removal costs.  The Governor also asked that the disaster declaration establish a 4-week incident period and that Snow Assistance be provided for the entire incident period.  The Governor’s letter to President Obama is available at:

http://www.mass.gov/governor/docs/news/emergency-declaration-request-letter.pdf.

The supplement to the Governor’s letter that describes the impacts of the month-long period of heavy snow is available at: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/mema/attachment-a-severe-winter-weather-pattern-impacts-supplemental-info.pdf.

 

MA ATTORNEY GENERAL DRAFTS E-CIGARETTE REGULATIONS

MA Attorney General Maura Healy recently announced the release of revised tobacco regulations that seek to regulate E-cigarettes as a tobacco product, placing the same restrictions on their purchase and use as those on tobacco cigarettes and keeping them from being sold to minors.  Comments to the Attorney General’s office can be submitted until April 24 by emailing AGOregulations@state.ma.us.  A public hearing to discuss the regulations will be held on April 23.  The AG’s Office expects to file final regulations with the Secretary of State in the spring.

 

PLASTIC BAG BANS IN MA CITIES & TOWNS CONTINUE

On Monday, March 30 the city of Cambridge became the 10th municipality in the Commonwealth to pass an ordinance banning plastic bags, which goes into effective March 30, 2016.  A committee of the Bridgewater Town Council will be reviewing a proposed ban tonight, and Northampton will be holding a public hearing on a plastic bag ban next week.  Cities and towns continue to propose differing bans throughout the state as state legislators propose their own statewide bans.

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MFA NEWS SCAN MARCH 30, 2015


- Friday, April 03, 2015



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