Pandemic policy carryover discussion about to begin

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (SHNS) – Three days after legislative leaders said they’d asked the Baker administration for a full list of orders and regulations affected by the coming end of the COVID-19 state of emergency, the governor acknowledged that work to prepare such an inventory was underway.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s March 10, 2020 emergency declaration has served as the basis for many pandemic-era adjustments to state policies, including allowing virtual public meetings and flexibilities around outdoor dining. Baker announced Monday that he will end the state of emergency on June 15, and spokespeople for Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano said that evening that the legislative leaders had requested a list of affected policies.

“We created a list of all the things that took place under the emergency powers, and we’re going to make that — I think we’re going to give that to the Legislature as soon as we get it cleaned up,” Baker said Thursday on GBH Radio. “And then we’re going to have a conversation with them and others about which measures people would like to see continue as part of a statutory framework. I mean, the thing to remember here is a lot of the stuff we did under these emergency orders, we weren’t doing with a statute.”

In some cases where legislators did pass new laws to facilitate pandemic responses, they still linked the measures — like authorizing restaurants to sell to-go cocktails or capping fees charged by third-party delivery apps — to the emergency’s end. Baker did not say which emergency measures he’d like to keep in place. “One of the things we’ll want to figure out with the Legislature is if we think some of them we can do somewhere within existing framework legally, and whether or not some of them are going to require statutory changes,” he said.

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