Gov feels ‘pressure’ to pass pandemic policy extensions
As the coronavirus state of emergency expires at 12:01 a.m. today, Gov. Charlie Baker said he’s feeling the public’s “pressure” to pass popular pandemic policy extensions.
Some of those policies that people have enjoyed during the last year-plus include expanded outdoor dining and to-go cocktails.
“I think these are things people are going to want to see continue on a go-forward basis,” Baker said during a press conference at Bridgewater State University on Monday.
“I think that’s part of the reason why both me and the Legislature feel a certain amount of pressure to either get some of these resolved by midnight tonight,” the governor added, “Or to have legislation passed that would extend them until some point in time when the Legislature could have a more formal conversation about what they want to do moving forward.”
It did not appear the Legislature would be sending Baker a bill before midnight, as the House and Senate adjourned for the day without finishing the pandemic policy extensions.
Both the House and Senate will be back in session today.
Baker on Monday highlighted the “enormously popular” outdoor dining program.
“You combine that with the Shared Streets program and the Complete Streets program, which makes it possible for communities to create a different kind of downtown in many cases that is far more amenable to not just dining outside, but also walking and biking and other things like that,” he said.
The governor also said he’d like to see the pandemic policy extension legislation address town meetings.
“Since we are still in the process of having open meetings, town meetings,” Baker said. “Those are sort of the fundamental part of state and local government.
“There’s a lot of that activity going on every day, and people have made assumptions about how they think that’s going to work,” he added. “And I would like to see that make it through the process.”