April 16 Covid-19 Update

SENATE LEGISLATIVE ACTION

04/16/2020

Statement from Senate President Karen E. Spilka and Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo

The Speaker and the Senate President are united in our strong belief that we must be vigilant about the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color in Massachusetts.  Members of the House and Senate have communicated to the Department of Public Health that the crisis standards of care do not adequately account for health disparities that exist as a result of inequities in the health care system and must be improved, and we agree.

We are committed to creating a response to this pandemic that protects all residents of Massachusetts while addressing treatment and outcome disparities among communities of color.  The Legislature will act to ensure a mechanism for robust data collection and establish a diversity task force to make recommendations around equitable access to care during this public health emergency.

Further, we continue policy conversations about how to anticipate which communities will be unduly affected by COVID-19 and how to respond accordingly to ensure that all populations are treated equitably during this crisis.

Senate Passes Bill to Lower Signature Threshold for Some Candidacies Amid COVID-19:

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to address the public health concerns surrounding the gathering of signatures for candidates for public office amid the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

S.2632 – An Act Relative to Nomination Signatures reduces the number of signatures for all offices which require 1,000 or more signatures.  The bill reduces the threshold for the following public offices:

  • U.S. Senate from 10,000 to 5,000
  • U.S. House of Representative from 2,000 to 1,000
  • Governor’s Council and some county offices from 1,000 to 500

The legislation now moves to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.

Economic roundtable written testimony available:

Senate Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues has made the written testimony provided for the Virtual Economic Roundtable held yesterday available for your perusal.

Written testimony from the COVID-19 Economic Round Table can be accessed on sharepoint using the link below:  https://malegislature.sharepoint.com/sites/MassachusettsSenate/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx?csf=1&web=1&e=0WTuZ8&cid=e7fdf307%2Dead6%2D4d0d%2Da31d%2D74caa4ba2080&RootFolder=%2Fsites%2FMassachusettsSenate%2FShared%20Documents%2FCOVID%2D19%20Economic%20Round%20Table&FolderCTID=0x01200024AFC8B69D71E849B4DA5DD9DABD7E75

Evictions Foreclosures conference report accepted:

The Senate accepted the conference committee report on disagreements of the two branches on H 4615 providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency.

Ways and Means favorable report of S.2635:

The Senate Committee of Ways and Means reported favorably, in part on S.2635: An act to provide liability protections for health care workers and facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

A summary of the legislation is as follows:

  • Effective March 10, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID19 emergency, provides immunity from suit and civil liability
  •  to health care professionals and facilities for alleged COVID19 related damages, if the health care services were provided in good faith and damages were not caused through gross negligence, recklessness or conduct with an intent to either harm or to discriminate
  •  based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Provides that health care facilities and professionals remain subject to consumer protection actions brought by the Attorney
  •  General and false claim actions brought by or on behalf of the Commonwealth.
  • Effective March 10, 2020 and for the duration of the COVID19 emergency, provides volunteer organizations providing use of
  •  its facility or facilities to support the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19, with immunity from suit and civil liability for alleged COVID-19 related damages, so long as damages were not caused through gross negligence, recklessness or conduct with an intent
  •  to harm.

BAKER ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS

RMV Implementing Further Extensions to Expiring Licenses, Permits, Motor Vehicle Inspection Stickers, and Passenger Plate Registrations:

The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will be implementing further extensions to the renewal timelines for expiring motor vehicle inspection stickers, passenger plate registrations, professional credentials, and licenses and permits, including Commercial Driver’s Licenses and Commercial Driver’s License Permits (CDLs / CLPs).

While the RMV has previously announced 60-day extensions for most credentials, passenger plate registrations and inspection stickers expired or expiring in March and April, today’s action will apply the same 60-day extension to those expiring in May. Those with March 2020 expirations impacted by the first 60-day extension, will have an additional 60-day extension applied.

The new changes to expiration extensions are now in effect as follows:

  • All non-commercial driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits that expire in May 2020, will now expire in July 2020 and do not need to be renewed at this time. This extension will also apply to those whose expired March 2020 credential was already extended by 60 days. The specific expiration date typically coincides with an individual’s birth date. Customers holding a license marked “Limited-Term” that has expired or will expire between March 1 and May 31, 2020 should visit Mass.gov/RMV for more information and to check the validity of their credential.
  • All Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) and Commercial Driver’s License Permits (CLP) that expire in May 2020, will now expire in July 2020 and do not need to be renewed at this time. This extension will also apply to those whose expired March 2020 credential was already extended by 60 days. The specific expiration date typically coincides with an individual’s birth date. The RMV also recently introduced an online renewal option for CDL holders if they are self-certified in the Non-Excepted Interstate (NI) category for medical certification.
  • In accordance with updated guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), all CDL Medical Certificates expiring between March 1 and April 30, 2020, will also now not expire until June 30, 2020 and do not need to be renewed at this time. Extensions to CDL Medical Certificates are intended to prevent license downgrades and elective medical visits, as well as alleviate demand on medical providers, during the State of Emergency.
  • The annual motor vehicle safety and emissions inspection stickers that expire on May 31, 2020 will now expire on July 31,2020. This extension will also apply to those whose expired March 2020 inspection sticker was already extended by 60 days. Annual motor vehicle inspection stickers typically expire on the last date of the month. While automotive repair and maintenance facilities continue to remain open as “essential services” and inspection stations may operate at their discretion, these annual inspections do not need to occur at this time.
  • All passenger plate registrations that will expire in May 2020, will now expire in July 2020. This extension will also apply
  •  to those whose expired March 2020 passenger plate registration was already extended by 60 days. Registration renewals can continue to be performed online at Mass.Gov/RMV during this time. Customers seeking to do so in-person will not be able to make an appointment and should delay their visit to a Service Center at this time.
  • Professional credentials for School Bus Certificates, School Pupil Transport Licenses (7D), Inspector Licenses, Inspection Station Licenses, Driving Instructor Licenses and Driving School Licenses that expire in May 2020, will also now be extended for 90 days after the State of Emergency is lifted and do not need to be renewed at this time.

A summary of newly announced (in bold) and existing extensions are included in the chart below. For the most up-to-date information on RMV extensions and other service and COVID-19 response measures, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information.

 

Credential Current Expiration Date New Expiration Date
Class D, M, and DM Licenses & Permits

March 2020 Expiration

May 2020 July 2020
Class D, M, and DM Licenses & Permits

April 2020 Expiration

June 2020 N/A
Class D, M, and DM License & Permits

May 2020 Expiration

May 2020 July 2020
Commercial Driver’s Licenses, Permits (CDL / CLP)

March 2020 Expiration

May 2020 July 2020
Commercial Driver’s Licenses, Permits (CDL / CLP)

April 2020 Expiration

June 2020 N/A
Commercial Driver’s Licenses, Permits (CDL / CLP)

May 2020 Expiration

May 2020 July 2020
CDL Medical Certificates

March & April Expiration

June 30, 2020 N/A
CDL Medical Certificates

May Expiration

May 2020 June 30, 2020
Passenger Plate Registrations

March 31st Expiration

May 31, 2020 July 31, 2020
Passenger Plate Registrations

April 30th Expiration

June 30, 2020 N/A
Passenger Plate Registrations

May 31st Expiration

May 31, 2020 July 31, 2020
Inspection Stickers

March 31st Expiration

May 31, 2020 July 31, 2020
Inspection Stickers

April 30th Expiration

June 30, 2020 N/A
Inspection Stickers

May 31st Expiration

May 31, 2020 July 31, 2020
All Motorcycle Inspection Stickers

Annual May 31st Expiration

June 30, 2020 N/A
Professional Credentials

March 10-March 31st Expiration

90 days after State of Emergency Lifted N/A
Professional Credentials

April 2020 Expiration

90 days after State of Emergency Lifted N/A
Professional Credentials

May 2020 Expiration

May 2020 90 days after State of Emergency Lifted

 

AG’S office announces Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program and free legal support group:

 The AG’s Small Business Relief Partnership Grant Program will provide funding to municipalities and regional planning agencies who are assisting small businesses in the communities they serve. Grant funds will be distributed by these organizations to help small businesses address fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable, lost sales, lost opportunities, and other working capital expenses incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This grant was funded by settlement funds secured by the AG’s Office. Grant awards will be issued in varying amounts up to $500,000, and individual requests may not exceed $50,000. As a condition of receiving the grant, all funds must be distributed directly to small businesses, and no portion of these funds may be used to defray administrative or operational costs.  Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until funds are depleted. For more information, please visit: www.mass.gov/ago/grants.

The AG’s Office also joined a coalition of law firms, nonprofits, and government agencies—led by Ropes & Gray, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and Lawyers Clearinghouse—to launch the COVID Relief Coalition to provide vulnerable businesses and mission-driven organizations with pro bono legal support. Coalition partners have created a new website that will support the Coalition’s mission by enabling small businesses and nonprofits to learn about and apply for emergency loans and other sources of relief. The website will connect eligible small businesses and nonprofits to free legal support by Coalition partners, and can be accessed here: https://www.covidreliefcoalition.com/en

In addition to the AG’s Office, Coalition partners include the City of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston Bar Association, The Boston Foundation, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, Dechert, Fish & Richardson, Foley Hoag, Foley & Lardner, Goodwin, Goulston & Storrs, Mintz, Morgan Lewis and WilmerHale.

Visit the AG’s COVID-19 resource page.

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