ML Strategies Advisory

Beginnings and Endings: New Administration Moves In, Massachusetts Legislative Session Concludes


By George Atanasov, Julie Cox, David O’Connor, and Amarynth Sichel

The last several months witnessed a flurry of activity on Beacon Hill: Governor Deval Patrick inked a number of bills as the two-year legislative session drew to an official end, and his successor, Governor Charlie Baker, has wasted no time in making appointments to replace the outgoing Patrick administration.

The advisory below outlines several pieces of legislation that Governor Patrick signed into law before leaving office, and the appointments that Governor Baker has made thus far.

Legislation Signed Into Law

  • “An Act Relative to acute-care medical-surgical bed counts,” which eliminates an outdated administrative burden related to bed de-licensure;
  • “An Act providing equitable treatment for post-acute care hospitals,” which provides a needed update to the Determination of Need (DoN) threshold for post-acute care hospitals;
  • “An Act relative to the substitution of interchangeable biosimilars,” which authorizes pharmacists, when filling a subscription, to substitute “interchangeable” biological products, or biologic drugs that are similar but not identical to a “reference” (often brand name) product;
  • “An Act regulating pharmacy audits,” which, among other things, extends to 2017 the sunset date for so-called drug coupons, which allow drug makers to offer co-payment assistance to patients for medications;
  • “An Act relative to credit for thermal energy generated with renewable fuels,” which, among other things, provides alternative energy incentives to technologies providing heating or cooling using renewable fuels, and increases the limits on the amount of solar energy capacity that qualifies for so-called “net metering” incentives.
    • The Net Metering Task Force created by this law has held several meetings in advance of its deadline for reporting back to the legislature of March 31, 2015. The Department of Energy Resources is consulting with stakeholders in anticipation of issuing regulations in February that will add thermal technologies to the Alternative Portfolio Standard.

For more information on the bills that were passed during the 2013-2014 legislative session, please see our alert, ”2013-2014 Massachusetts Legislative Session Ends.”

Baker Administration Appointments

Governor Baker finished filling his cabinet this week, by appointing Worcester County Senior First Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bennett as Secretary of Public Safety and Security. Baker’s appointees represent a diverse array of personalities, including both Democrats and Republicans, and a number of familiar faces from the administrations of Governors Weld and Cellucci.

Baker’s new hires have started to make their own appointments, providing a more fulsome picture of Baker’s roughly two-week-old administration. To date, the administration’s appointments include:

  • Chief of Staff – Steven Kadish, formerly Northeastern University Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Secretary – Carlo Basile, former state representative and East Boston Democrat
  • Secretary of Housing and Economic Development – Jay Ash, former Chelsea City Manager
    • Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations – John Chapman, an attorney who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent William Keating in the race to represent Massachusetts’ 9th District, and has worked in the SEC’s Enforcement Division
    • Assistant Secretary for Business Development – Nam Pham, formerly Executive Director for VietAID, and Commissioner for the Office of Refugees and Immigrants under Governors Weld and Cellucci
  • Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs – Matt Beaton, former state representative from Shrewsbury
    • Chief Operating Officer of Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs – Mike Valanzola, unsuccessful state Senate candidate, former senior manager of finance and operations at EMC Corporation, and a selectman in Wales
    • Commissioner of Department of Agricultural Resources – John Lebeaux, former Massachusetts Water Resources Commission member and Princeton town administrator
    • Assistant Secretary for Energy – Ron Gerwatowski, former Senior Vice President at National Grid
    • Assistant Secretary for Environmental – Daniel Sieger, former Chief of Staff for the Department of Environmental Protection, and Special Assistant to the Undersecretary for Environment
    • Commissioner of Environmental Protection– Martin Suuberg, formerly Undersecretary for the Environment
    • Commissioner of the Department of Public Utilities – Robert Hayden, who joined the DPU in 2001, and is a former Plymouth County prosecutor
    • Chair of the Department of Public Utilities – Angela O’Connor, former Executive Director for New England operations of TechNet, and has worked on energy policy at New England Power Generators Association and Associated Industries of Massachusetts
    • Commissioner of the Department of Agricultural Resources – Alisha Bouchard, Executive Director of the State Mosquito Control Board under Governor Patrick, and former Director of Administration for the Department of Agricultural Resources*
    • Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner – John Murray, who held this position in the Patrick administration*
    • Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources – Daniel Burgess, Department of Energy Resources Deputy Commissioner under Governor Patrick, and former Energy and Environmental Affairs Legislative Director of Energy*
    • Commissioner of Department of Fish and Game – Mary-Lee King, who was Department of Fish and Game legislative director under Patrick, and formerly a senior policy advisor to Governor William Weld and chief of staff to then state Senator Paul Cellucci*
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services – Marylou Sudders, former Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
    • Undersecretary of Health and Human Services – Alice Moore, formerly Chief of Staff to Senate President Therese Murray, and Chief Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Senate
    • Legislative Affairs Director – Lisa Dixon, formerly Senior Counsel to Senate President Therese Murray
    • Communications Director – Rhonda Mann, formerly Chief Marketing Officer for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    • Children and Families Commissioner – Linda Spears, formerly of the Child Welfare League of America and the Massachusetts Department of Social Services
    • Veterans’ Services Secretary – Francisco Urena, formerly Boston’s Commissioner of Veterans’ Services since 2011
    • Commissioner of Public Health – Dr. Monica Bharel, formerly Chief Medical Officer for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
  • Secretary of Administration and Finance – Kristen Lepore, former Vice President of Government Affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, who worked in the Cellucci administration with Baker
  • Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development – Ronald L. Walker II, the co-founder, managing partner, and president of Roxbury’s Next Street, and former executive at Sovereign Bank, Fleet Financial Group, and Bank of New England
  • Secretary of Education – James A. Peyser, Executive Director of the Baker-Polito Transition Team, former Pioneer Institute executive and education advisor to Governors Weld and Romney
  • Secretary for Transportation – Stephanie Pollack, scholar at Northeastern’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy
  • Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety – Daniel Bennett, Worcester County Senior
    First Assistant District Attorney, and previously senior trial counsel and assistant district attorney in the Middlesex District Attorney’s office

*Interim appointment

ML Strategies will continue to provide updates on the Baker administration’s growth and priorities as they develop. Stay tuned for our upcoming advisory introducing the Legislature’s new committee leaders, and previewing the issues the Commonwealth is likely to tackle in the near future.

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If you have questions, please feel free to contact an ML Strategies professional.

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