1 p.m. | Senators from the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy hold a hearing without House members and will hold a separate hearing later in the week amid ongoing committee infighting. | Room A-1
1:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey participates in "June Day," the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company's 385th anniversary election of officers and change-of-command ceremony. | Boston Common
2:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey meets privately with Speaker Ron Mariano Senate President Karen Spilka. | Governor's Office
6 p.m. | Massachusetts Teachers Association hosts a virtual forum on "high-stakes testing" regarding the MCAS exam, which the union would like to see change.
Massachusetts has one of the nation’s highest health insurance rates in the nation, but when it comes to cracks in coverage, a new report reveals its non-citizen residents who are falling through — including those with lawful presence in the U.S.
It’s one of several equity issues the state is facing in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which uncovered big disparities in how healthcare coverage is delivered in Massachusetts based on race and socioeconomic status.
One bill, “An Act to Advance Health Equity,” sponsored by the Health Equity Compact, would tackle this and other inequities by prioritizing health equity in state government, standardizing and reporting on health equity data, and improving access to and quality of care for all citizens. The bill is sponsored by state Reps. Bud Williams, Representative Judith Garcia, Senator Pavel Payano, and state Sen. Liz Miranda.
The state’s Center for Health Information & Analysis report shows that while 97 percent of residents are typically covered at any given point and more than 90 percent of residents are covered continuously throughout the year, non-citizen residents of Massachusetts are disproportionately likely to experience periods of uninsurance than their U.S.-born counterparts.
The report revealed big gaps as the state strives for health equity in the aftermath of the pandemic.
CHIA reports that 95 percent of U.S.-born citizens, 91 percent of naturalized citizens, and 74 percent of non-citizens indicated they had continuous health insurance coverage in the 12 months preceding the survey. The gaps were especially significant among children — 98 percent coverage for U.S.-born citizen children vs. 82 percent for non-citizen children — and non-elderly adults (92 percent vs. 79 percent.
CHIA said the non-citizen coverage gap could be due to the population being more likely to have limited access to employer-sponsored insurance even though they are equally likely to be employed as their U.S. born counterparts.
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Today’s the day: MBTA must submit revised worker safety plan to feds
After federal regulators said the T’s earlier worker-safety plan was “insufficient,” the embattled transit agency must today submit a revised plan for protecting track workers from getting hurt on the job, reports Laura Crimaldi for The Boston Globe. Officials from the T and FTA are expected to meet Monday. If The MBTA fails to meet expectations and deadlines, workers could be prohibited from accessing tracks, effectively shutting down subway service.
Is privatization the answer for the T’s woes?
New MBTA Chief Phil Eng is eyeing privatization as he begins to tackle a slate of problems facing dthe transit system’s safety, speed and reliability. The new Chair of the MBTA Board Tom Glynn has also suggested efforts are being made to involve the private sector in helping the T cope with the financial challenges it faces.
Police, schools face uptick in threats
Numerous bills filed on Beacon Hill in recent years to toughen the state’s penalties for swatting have failed to gain traction. State Sen. Barry Finegold, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, is among those who want to see the penalties for swatting beefed up. He said the crime should be a felony, writes Christian M. Wade, Eagle-Tribune.
Campaign funds could soon be used to pay for child care
Beacon Hill officials agree the out-of-control cost of child care needs a legislative solution and lawmakers say the problem as their “full attention.” The solution is likely to include a mechanism for current and would-be office-holders to use campaign finance money to cover related child-care costs, writes Matt Stout for The Boston Globe. Nearly 30 states allow candidates to use campaign funds for child care, as does the federal election system.
State’s multi-billion-dollar unemployment error is just the latest for labor department
A routine audit last week revealed roughly $2.5 billion in federal funds were used to pay out jobless claims that should have been paid with state money during the Baker administration. It’s the latest in a series of errors by the state labor department, whose loose financial controls have been under scrutiny for the past few years, reports WBUR. Last year, then-Labor Secretary Rosalin Acosta asked the U.S. Department of Labor to waive about $2 billion in jobless benefits to some 300,000 people who were found to have been overpaid or not eligible for the money. The feds denied the request.
State report eyes 13 possible locations for new Springfield courthouse
Springfield might finally be getting a new courthouse following years of concerns over environmental workplace conditions at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse, reports Stephanie Barry for the Springfield Republican: “. The agency in charge of financing all of the state’s construction projects released a report seemingly trending towards demolishing it last week.
Northampton secures location for ‘resilience hub’
Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra says the city has reached a deal to buy a vacant former church in the heart of downtown that will become a hub for delivering emergency social services to the area’s rapidly growing homeless population. The $3.2 million purchase moves the city closer to creating the resilience hub first envisioned in 2019, with extensive renovation work set to begin as soon as this summer.
Hull mini-election could tip results from vote impacted by fire
Voters who were unable to cast ballots during Hull’s May 15 local election because a house fire blocked roads leading to the polls will have another chance during a two-hour window next Tuesday. The court-ordered partial re-do of the election could change the results in a close race for a seat on the Hull Redevelopment Authority.
Beverly asks court to enforce ruling on removal of ‘emotional support chickens’
Lawyers for the city of Beverly are asking a judge to enforce a ruling from last year that ordered the removal of several chickens from the home of a family who claimed they provided emotional support for their daughter. Paul Leighton of the Salem News reports the family’s lawyer suggested no further appeals are forthcoming and noted that the two years the case spent in court already have meant extended time with the animals for his clients.
On the beat: Gannett’s Bay State scribes expected to skip nationwide job action
Hundreds of journalists at newspapers owned by Gannett Inc. will take part in a day-long strike today, but Don Seiffert of the Boston Business Journal reports, the unions representing the chain’s slew of local papers across Massachusetts are not expected to be among those walking off the job.
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