Pandemic policy extensions signed into law
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday morning signed into law a bill extending pandemic-inspired authorizations for remote public meetings, to-go cocktail sales, eviction protections and more, according to Senate President Karen Spilka.
“Thank you @MassGovernor for signing this bill into law this morning!” Spilka tweeted at 10:14 a.m., about 13 hours after the Legislature sent Baker a partial compromise temporarily reinstating some policies that lapsed with Tuesday’s lift of the state of emergency and preventing others from expiring.
House and Senate lawmakers say they plan to keep negotiating on some of the COVID-19 policy measures. The bill they passed Tuesday evening, which represents areas of common ground between the two branches, would extend the eviction protections and permission for virtual public meetings through April 1, 2022, and keep special permits for expanded outdoor dining in place through that same date. It also allows restaurants to sell beer, wine and cocktails to-go until May 1, and temporarily extends the authorization for representative town meetings, notary services and reverse-mortgage loan counseling to occur remotely.
“These temporary provisions have been helpful to businesses, municipalities, health care providers, residents and communities during this extraordinary time,” Spilka, House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Ways and Means chairs Sen. Michael Rodrigues and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz said in a statement Tuesday night. Before the bill was passed Tuesday, Baker described the extensions as “a very-much-on-the-minds-of-everybody priority.”