As we kick off 2024, One SouthCoast Chamber is excited to announce the Public Policy Pulse. This new column aims to spotlight up-to-date policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels affecting our business community in a high-level, easy-to-understand format. Whether it’s legislative changes, ballot initiatives, or regulatory updates, the Policy Pulse is your source for staying informed and understanding the potential implications for your business. Through the Policy Pulse, our goal is to spark interest, foster dialogue, and encourage stakeholder engagement around the ever-evolving policy landscape.

For those of us who enjoy, or should I say tolerate, all things Politics, there is no doubt that 2024 will be a year we never forget.

The state legislature has returned to Beacon Hill to begin work on the second year of their two-year session. Any legislation that has aspirations of becoming law must be passed by the end of the formal session on July 31st. We can expect to see movement and debate over legislative priorities as this deadline approaches.

Budget season has officially reached the State House as Governor Maura Healey prepares her fiscal 2025 proposal. With state tax revenues missing their projected benchmark for the sixth month in a row and state spending exceeding expectations, budget leaders certainly have their hands full as they work to find a way to rein in spending and balance a state budget.

In 2024, we will be heading to the polls to cast our ballot on several issues. At the top of everyone’s mind is, of course, the presidential race. While this will prove to be a monumental race, there will be many questions on the ballots this year that may have a significant impact on your life and your businesses. This spring, most towns will hold municipal elections for local government. In the fall, in addition to electing our next president, we’ll be casting our votes for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representatives, Governor’s Council, State Senators, State Representatives, and even county office, depending on where you live. On that very same ballot, we’ll undoubtedly be faced with a slew of ballot referendums that will be put before the Massachusetts voters, some of which may include an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers, the employment structure of app-based drivers, MCAS reform, and even the legalization of psychedelic mushrooms.

With such an exciting year ahead, One SouthCoast Chamber and our Board of Directors have prioritized enhancing our public policy efforts. With the retirement of COO and dear friend Rick Kidder, we are excited to have brought on Ian Trombly to lead our public policy efforts. Ian will be representing One SouthCoast on the Massachusetts Chamber Policy Network, a coalition made up of nine of the largest chambers in the Commonwealth who will advocate as one voice for policy that impacts the business community.  Ian will also be revamping several committees, including the Education Committee, which will be chaired by Carl Sawejko, President of Sawejko Communications, and the Government Affairs Committee, which Paul Chasse, CEO of the REALTOR® Association of Southeastern Massachusetts, will chair. We want to give special thanks to our past chairs, Nicholas Christ, Chris Howard and Julie Gagliardi, who led the Education Committee, and William Burns, who led the Government Affairs Committee, for their hard work and dedication over the years.

We look forward to working with you all throughout this busy, yet exciting year ahead. If there are any specific policy or legislative issues that you are interested in, or if you would like to be involved in any of our committees, please reach out to Ian at Be well, and Happy New Year!