• On Wednesday, March 23rd, the Baker-Polito administration launched a new hiring and training employer grant program, “HireNow,” a $50 million grant program to incentivize hiring and help defray the costs of onboarding workers who do not yet have skills in a new field. Eligible employers can receive up to $4,000 per employee, capped at a total of $400,000 per organization, to cover training costs or signing bonuses. Any non-government employer in good standing with the state, including nonprofit and for-profit entities, can participate. Hires must be made after March 23rd, retained for at least 60 days, given at least 30 hours of work per week, and paid between $14.25 per hour and $42.50 per hour for a company to qualify for a per-employee grant. The $50 million program will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds the Legislature already approved to be spent on workforce development. The program is already accepting online applications from employers, and money will flow on a first-come, first-served basis and will be only awarded for new hires made through December 31, 2022, or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.

 

  • On Monday, March 21st, Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl announced as his running mate for lieutenant governor, former state representative Leah Allen, a North Shore Republican who spent a brief stint on Beacon Hill before leaving the House to focus on her nursing career. Diehl, a Whitman Republican who served in the House with Allen, announced her as his running mate for lieutenant governor, rounding out what he hopes will be the GOP ticket for governor in November. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor don't technically run as a ticket in the primaries, but both Diehl and his Republican rival for the nomination Chris Doughty have teamed up with former House lawmakers to run together this year. Doughty has announced Kate Campanale, a Spencer Republican, as his running mate

 

  • Joel McAuliffe has announced that he’s running for state representative in in the 8th Hampden district.  McAuliffe is aiming to replace Rep. Joseph Wagner, who has been in office since 1991 and recently announced that he won’t seek reelection. Until recently, McAuliffe, a Democrat, was deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Eric Lesser.  Shirley Arriaga, a U.S. Air Force veteran and Chicopee native, and City Councilor Shane D. Brooks have also both announced their campaigns for the seat.

 

  • On Monday, March 21st, the Salem News noted that five candidates have now launched bids for the 8th Essex seat that was left vacant earlier this year when longtime state Representative Lori Ehrlich resigned to take a post with FEMA. Three individuals from Marblehead and two from neighboring Swampscott, all Democrats, have recently organized with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance. They include: Marblehead residents Diann Slavit Baylis, Theresa Tauro, and Jennifer Armini; and Swampscott residents Douglas Thompson and Tristan Smith. The seat covers the Marblehead and Swampscott, as well as two voting precincts in Lynn. Ehrlich, a Marblehead Democrat who held the seat for 14 years, was tapped in January by President Joe Biden to be the Region 1 administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

 

  • On Thursday, April 14th, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is holding a hearing on the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2025 and 2030. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback on EEA’s proposal for 2025 and 2030, and this hearing will specifically focus on the buildings sector and natural and working lands, and the policies to achieve these emissions limits, sublimits, and goals. Written feedback on the proposal is accepted at [email protected] until April 30, 2022.