BOSTON (SHNS) – With the COVID-19 state of emergency set to be lifted in less than three weeks, Senate President Karen Spilka does not see the state budget as “the appropriate vehicle to address time-sensitive issues” related to the end of that order.
The Senate on Tuesday rejected amendments filed by Sen. Diana DiZoglio that would extend by two years the laws allowing restaurants to sell takeout cocktails and capping fees charged by third-party delivery apps during the state of emergency.
Sen. Nick Collins withdrew another amendment that would extend authorization for to-go mixed drink sales by a year, and a similar amendment filed by Sen. Julian Cyr was still pending Wednesday afternoon.
“The Senate is actively engaged in reviewing the emergency COVID-19 orders, regulations and statutes that are due to expire as a result of the Governor suddenly lifting the State of Emergency,” a Spilka spokesperson said. “We will continue to confer with Senators and our colleagues in the House to effectively and swiftly address the multitude of critical issues that directly impact families, our communities and our economy. With the anticipated ending of the State of Emergency on June 15, prior to the likely resolution of the fiscal year 2022 budget, the budget process was not the appropriate vehicle to address time sensitive issues.”
After the Senate passes its final budget, lawmakers will need to be named to a conference committee to hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions.
The negotiations can take weeks, and Gov. Charlie Baker will then have 10 days to review the bill the Legislature sends him. In many years, the new state budget is not signed into law until after the fiscal year starts on July 1.
The Collins and Cyr amendments also include language related to expanded outdoor dining, a topic addressed in legislation Baker filed Tuesday.