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With less than a year to go until the end of formal sessions on July 31, 2020, Massachusetts legislators are back in action this month to begin tackling a robust policy agenda. We are poised to see action on both new and pending legislation this fall on a number of priority policy areas.
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Robert DeLeo, Speaker of the Mass. House of Representatives, and Mass. Senate President Karen Spilka announce committee chairs for the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Arizona 1115 Medicaid Waiver Update

January 22, 2019| Blog

In 2014, Arizona expanded Medicaid to the new adult group. Following the expansion, Arizona submitted, and CMS approved, an 1115 waiver extension to create the Choice, Accountability, Responsibility, Engagement (CARE) program.

ML Strategies 2018 Outlook: Education

December 5, 2018| Advisory

ML Strategies 2018 Election Preview

September 11, 2018| Advisory

Conventional wisdom holds that 2018 will be a wave election year for Democrats. When one party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House, it is typical that the opposition party makes gains in the midterm elections. Beginning with 1994, at least one chamber of Congress has flipped in each midterm election, save 1998. So far, 2018 seems to fit the trend. Democrats have performed well in several recent special elections, even in deep red districts, and the generic congressional ballot currently has Democrats up. Still, Republicans have several structural advantages that Democrats lack. House districts across the country are drawn in a way that benefits Republicans, giving them a disproportionate share of “safe” seats, and Democrats are tasked with defending 26 seats in the Senate compared to the Republican 9. That being said, the most likely scenario two months from Election Day is that Democrats will take the House. The Senate remains a coin flip.

On June 20, Massachusetts lawmakers approved legislation aimed at preventing several high profile ballot questions from appearing before voters in November.
To date, 34 states (including D.C.) have adopted Medicaid expansion. Of the remaining 17 states, some are considering expanding Medicaid.
On Wednesday, April 11, the House Ways and Means Committee proposed a $40.991 billion budget for FY2019 that represents an increase of $1.24 billion, or 3.1 percent, above FY2018 spending levels. The budget proposes $83 million more in spending than Governor Charlie Baker recommended in the FY2019 budget he filed in January.
In a previous blog, we reviewed pending and approved 1115 waivers in 8 states. We also highlighted the trends we see in 1115 waivers, such as changes to coverage requirements, a time limit on how long certain beneficiaries can receive Medicaid coverage, lock-outs if an individual fails to pay a premium or meet the work requirement, and drug testing requirements.
Back in July 2016, the Massachusetts legislature passed an Act to Establish Pay Equity (Mass. Gen. Laws c. 149 § 105A, referenced herein as the “Law”), which amends the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”) and serves to bolster gender-based pay inequity protections provided to employees and to generally address gender pay inequality in the Commonwealth.
With the end of the 2017-2018 legislative cycle fast approaching, Beacon Hill’s agenda for the coming months has begun to take shape. All major policymaking will need to be concluded by the end of formal sessions on July 31, and lawmakers have a long to-do list they hope to complete before that date.

Governor Baker Files FY2019 Budget

January 30, 2018| Alert

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker released a $40.9 billion budget proposal for FY2019. The plan, commonly referred to as House 2, is the fourth Baker has proposed since assuming office and increases spending by 2.6% over FY2018 levels.

Alcohol Task Force Releases Final Report

January 23, 2018| Advisory

The Task Force that Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg commissioned to review the alcohol industry in the Commonwealth issued its final report on December 27, 2017.
On October 31, 2017, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on six bills introduced this session addressing the use of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.
The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development held a hearing on Tuesday, October 31 to receive testimony on the several bills introduced this session addressing the use of non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.
Last week, ML Strategies released an Advisory providing a comprehensive review of the sweeping health care legislation recently released by the Massachusetts Senate.
On Tuesday, October 17, Massachusetts Senate leaders released comprehensive health care legislation containing a wide range of provisions significantly impacting industry stakeholders.
State-by-state legalization of the medical and recreational use of marijuana is creating a new industry in the U.S. that has the potential to rival our largest businesses. However, the growth of this new industry comes at a cost.
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