BOSTON (SHNS) – Senate President Karen Spilka on Friday described herself as a “huge proponent” of voter options like mail-in and early voting, five days before pandemic-era expansions of those measures are set to lapse.
The House and Senate have each approved extensions of mail-in and early voting measures beyond June 30, but in different bills and for different time periods. While the Senate used a pandemic-policy extensions bill to propose keeping them through Dec. 15, the House added language to a supplemental spending bill that would make them permanent. “Clearly, there are things that we still need to work out,” Spilka said in a GBH radio interview.
“We want to hear from the public in terms of a permanent solution, but I’m hoping that that happens as well, for both state and municipal elections.” After the COVID-19 state of emergency ended on June 15, the House and Senate reached an agreement on extending some of the pandemic-related policy adaptations that were linked to the emergency declaration.
Others, like the temporary extension of mail-in voting, several health care measures, and a House-backed cap on fees that delivery apps charge restaurants, remain before a conference committee led by Ways and Means Committee Chairs Rep. Aaron Michlewitz and Sen. Michael Rodrigues.
Asked about the delivery fee cap, Spilka said that one thing she struggles with is “we don’t cap anything in Massachusetts.” “There are a lot of other things that we could cap — cost of prescription drugs, for example, or other things, so for us to choose this one thing, you know, I just think we need to think about it,” she said.