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Governor Charlie Baker signed a budget for FY17 on Friday, July 8, after vetoing $256 million in spending included in the plan approved by the legislature. The budget, which represents the second annual spending plan signed by the Governor, totals $38.92 billion and increases spending by just $489 million, or 1.3%, over FY16 levels.

House Passes Noncompete Reform

July 5, 2016| Alert

On Wednesday, June 29th, the House passed H. 4434: An Act relative to the judicial enforcement of noncompetition agreements, which includes a number of provisions that have long been discussed as the necessary components of non-compete reform.
The next six weeks are shaping up to be the final work period before the summer recess, with both chambers scheduled to leave DC by July 15th for party conventions followed by the August recess.
The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously to pass its FY2017 state budget just before midnight on Thursday, May 26. The spending plan, which totals $39.558 billion, spends $60 million more than Governor Baker’s proposal and $50 million more than the House plan approved last month. 
In a unanimous vote of 156-0, the Massachusetts House of Representatives approved a $39.56 billion spending plan for FY2017 on April 27. Over three days, the House considered more than 1,300 amendments to pass a final budget that allocates approximately $10 million more than Governor Baker’s spending plan, but closely resembles his proposals.
On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a solar energy bill into law that increases the statewide limits on the amount of solar capacity that will qualify for net metering, but also lowers the value of net metering credits for large-scale projects.
This morning the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold its third and final markup for its biomedical innovations package. This package is a compliment to the House-passed 21st Century Cures Act, which the House passed in July of 2015.
The next work period basically runs from April 4 to May 27, with both chambers adjourning for a week long recess the week of May 2. Following this work period, there will be five weeks left on the legislative calendar before Congress recesses for Summer.
This morning, the Senate HELP Committee will hold an executive session regarding the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016, a comprehensive mental health package negotiated in part by the Senate HELP Committee and the Administration.

Governor Baker Signs Opioid Bill

March 14, 2016| Alert

Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill that offers long-awaited measures aimed at tackling the state’s growing opioid abuse crisis. After receiving House and Senate approval last week and spending seven weeks in conference committee negotiations, the bill will now become law.
On March 10, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a bill that offers long-awaited measures aimed at tackling the state’s growing opioid abuse crisis. After House approval the previous day and seven weeks of conference committee negotiations, the bill is now on the governor’s desk, and is poised to become law.
The next Hill work period basically runs from February 22 to March 18. As Congress returns, here’s a brief look at the pending health care issues on the radar for this work period.
In late January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the much anticipated Covered Outpatient Drugs Final Rule with Comment (the “AMP Final Rule”).
With Beacon Hill off and running in the new year, Governor Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo this week unveiled key parts of their policy agendas for 2016.

Washington Outlook for 2016

January 20, 2016| Advisory

Welcome to 2016 and our annual look at what’s in store for the United States Congress in the coming year. Here you will find a preview of the US legislative agenda as well as a look at the Obama Administration’s regulatory plans.
On Friday, January 8, Governor Charlie Baker ordered $49 million in emergency spending cuts aimed at erasing a projected state budget shortfall. In a letter to state lawmakers, Baker said his administration had identified a $320 million gap between projected spending and revenues through the end of the fiscal year in July.
Now just days away from the December 11th expiration of a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) that has been funding federal activities since the start of the current fiscal year on October 1st, Congress is feverishly working to reach agreement on a long-term Omnibus spending bill that will fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year.
On November 12th and 13th, the Food and Drug Administration hosted genome scientists from across the nation at its campus in White Oak, Maryland.
Building on the momentum of early October hearings on the state’s growing health care expenditures, the Health Policy Commission (HPC), the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, Governor Charlie Baker, and others spent the past two weeks crafting new policies for the industry and its consumers.
Amid a recent surge in opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts, with over 1,200 accidental deadly overdoses last year, the Senate passed legislation on Thursday, October 1, that is designed to fight the epidemic on various fronts.
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