Delivery fee cap, work incentives among pandemic extension amendments

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Ahead of a Senate debate Thursday on legislation to keep in place a slew of pandemic policy measures beyond next week’s state of emergency end date, 17 senators proposed a total of 44 ways they think the bill could be improved.

The bill would extend the temporary authorizations for policies like mail-in voting, remote public meetings, and takeout cocktails for longer periods of time. Amendments filed to the bill by a Wednesday deadline include changes from Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Sen. Brendan Crighton that would also continue to allow consultation via phone or video for reverse mortgage loans.

Tarr filed 11 of the 44 amendments, such as proposals that would direct the Baker administration to develop plans to incentivize people to return to work and also an extension to the state law requiring audits of votes after presidential elections so that it also applies to state and local elections held through Dec. 15 of this year.

Several amendments address matters affecting restaurants. Sens. Diana DiZoglio and Eric Lesser each filed amendments that would lengthen the emergency’s cap on the fees that third-party delivery services charge restaurants, though for different time periods. The cap is not mentioned in the current version of the bill.

DiZoglio also filed an amendment to keep the to-go cocktail authorization in place longer. A Sen. Nick Collins amendment would prohibit the delivery of to-go alcohol to public parks and beaches. Cape Cod’s two senators have their eyes on outdoor dining.

Sen. Susan Moran proposed adding the bill’s expanded outdoor dining permissions seven months, to Nov. 1, 2022, while Sen. Julian Cyr is seeking a review of existing permitting processes for outdoor dining.

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