On Day 31 of Federal Government Shutdown, State Legislators Call for an Emergency Bipartisan Task Force to Identify and Address Statewide Impact

 

January 22, 2019                                                                                                   

Comerford, Blais call on Governor Charlie Baker to create a temporary bipartisan Massachusetts Government Assistance Task Force

Boston, Mass. – Today, Senator Jo Comerford (Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester District) and State Representative Natalie Blais (1st Franklin District) announced legislation to establish a bipartisan emergency response task force to address mounting statewide impacts of the prolonged federal government shutdown.

The mandate of the Massachusetts Government Assistance Task Force will be to proactively identify ways in which the Commonwealth can and must assist its residents and affected communities during and immediately following the shutdown.

“There are upwards of 47,000 federal workers living in the Commonwealth. It’s important also to note that the impact of this month-long shutdown extends even beyond them and their families to the countless individuals and businesses who are affected indirectly,” noted Senator Jo Comerford. “Donald Trump is willing to play politics with the well-being of Americans and the State must step in to do what it can to offer its protection to Commonwealth residents caught in this unprecedented situation. This is a moment for all of us to proactively and decisively lean in.”

The task force would convene within 5 business days upon approval of the legislation and would be charged with issuing a public report by February 1st that includes but is not limited to, an analysis of government programs impacted, how Massachusetts residents are affected, and the potential cost and economic impact to the commonwealth during a short term and long term shut down.

“We are now over a month into a federal shutdown that appears to have no end in sight,” said Blais. “Residents of the Commonwealth are feeling the strain every day and there is no time to wait: Massachusetts must act now.”

“Continuity of services for our residents and communities must be the Commonwealth’s top priority,” continued Blais. “The task force will not only examine the financial implications of the shutdown but will also identify ways to immediately assist impacted federal employees and beneficiaries suffering from loss of services.”


The Resolution’s text appears below:

 

 

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3780        FILED ON: 1/18/2019


HOUSE............................ No.

 

 

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts


 

PRESENTED BY:

 

Natalie M. Blais and Joanne M. Comerford


 

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General Court assembled:

 

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying resolve:

 

Resolve establishing the Massachusetts Government Assistance task force to address the statewide impacts of the 2018-2019 federal government shutdown.


 

PETITION OF:

 

 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 


 


In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court (2019-2020)

 

Resolve establishing the Massachusetts Government Assistance task force to address the statewide impacts of the 2018-2019 federal government shutdown.

 

Resolved, that there be a bipartisan emergency response task force for the purpose of proactively identifying ways in which the commonwealth can respond to its citizens and affected communities during and immediately following the 2018-2019 federal government shutdown in a way that provides financial support and government services for those affected by the shutdown.

 

The task force shall convene within 5 business days upon approval of the resolve and consist of 7 members: The governor or a designee currently employed by that office who shall serve as chair; the attorney general or a designee currently employed by that office; a member of the senate appointed by the senate president; a member of the house appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; a member of the senate appointed by the minority leader of the senate; a member of the house appointed by the minority leader of the house and the secretary of administration and finance or his designee who is employed by that office. The task force shall work in consultation with appropriate agency heads.

 

The task force shall analyze the short term and long term impacts of the 2018-2019 federal government shutdown. The task force shall issue a public report that includes but is not limited to, an analysis of government programs impacted, how Massachusetts residents are impacted, and the potential cost and economic impact to the commonwealth during a short term and long term shut down.

 

The task force shall develop a rapid response plan for the commonwealth that prioritizes continuation of services for its residents and communities. It shall also identify administrative fixes, policy changes and legislative


proposals for consideration to address both short term and long term impacts; focusing foremost on the loss of revenue, impacted federal employees and beneficiaries impacted by the loss of federal services.

 

A detailed impact report that includes action steps shall be made available to the public on or before February 1, 2019. The task force may issue findings and suggest steps including legislation at any time during its authority.

 

The task force shall dissolve exactly 30 days after the end of the 2018-2019 federal government shutdown and shall issue prior to dissolve an economic impact to the Commonwealth of the shutdown.

 

 

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Jo Comerford is the State Senator for the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester District serving Northampton, Amherst, Hadley, Hatfield, Pelham, South Hadley, Bernardston, Colrain, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Leverett, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell, Whately, and Royalston.

 

Natalie Blais is the State Representative for the 1st   Franklin District serving the 19 communities of  Ashfield, Buckland, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Cummington, Deerfield, Goshen, Huntington, Leverett, Middlefield, Montague, Plainfield, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Whately, Williamsburg, and Worthington.