ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE
- On May 23, the Council hosted a special event, “The Economic Impact of Climate Change on the New England Economy,” featuring U.S. Senator Ed Markey. The event took place at the New England Aquarium, and featured panelists from the healthcare, financial, higher education, environmental and transportation sectors. Watch here.
- On Wednesday, July 19, the Committee hosted an in-person conversation featuring Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper, Read more here.
- The Committee recently named Mike Cuzzi, Principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs, as co-chair, joining longtime chair Mark Kalpin of Holland & Knight.
- On November 1, Committee members met with Rachel McCormick, Director General of International and Intergovernmental Affairs, Natural Resources Canada, at a luncheon hosted by the Canadian Consulate in Boston.
- The Committee has extended an invitation to ISO-NE President Gordon van Welie to speak at an event later this year and we are working with his staff on potential dates in early 2024.
FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
- On July 11, 2023, The New England Council sent a letter to the New England House Delegation urging members to support R. 1807, the Improving Disclosure for Investors Act of 2023. This bipartisan bill would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to transition the default method for receiving investor documents and disclosures from paper to digital (eDelivery). More information about the letter can be found here.
- In September, the Committee submitted a comment letter on a recently proposed federal rule on supplemental benefits that concerns New England Council insurance carriers. This proposed rule focuses on short-term limited duration health products that have extended into their supplemental product space. If enacted, the rule would negatively impact Council members in this market, and our letter outlined those concerns. Read the letter.
- On October 31, the Committee submitted a letter of support for the SAFER Banking Act. This bill would ensure that all businesses—including State-sanctioned cannabis businesses—have access to deposit accounts, insurance and other financial services. The legislation also creates common-sense standards for banks and credit unions to maintain customer relationships and to expand access to deposit accounts for underbanked groups. Read the letter.
- The Financial Services Committee is leading the planning of an event scheduled for December 18 in Boston focused on the impact of the affordable housing crisis in New England, and strategies to address it. The event will feature a keynote by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, followed by a panel discussion with NEC members. Conifer Realty will sponsor the event, which will be held at the UMass Club. Register here.
- On June 30, the Healthcare Committee convened for a planning meeting where we reviewed recent subcommittee findings, discussed ideas for fall programming, and were briefed on the Personal Health Investment Today Act, also known as the “PHIT” Act, which would allow HAS/FSA funds to be used for youth sports enrollment fees and equipment, enabling more young people to participate in sports.
- As a result of that briefing, the Council sent a letter of support for the PHIT Act to the New England Congressional delegation in November 2023. Read the letter.
- On November 20, the Council will hosted a very well attended program led by the Healthcare Committee focused on the public and private sector efforts to address behavioral health throughout the region. The program began with a fireside chat with Senator Maggie Hassan and Congresswoman Annie Kuster, both leaders in Congressional efforts to expand access to behavioral health services. The event also featured a panel discussion with Council members in the behavioral health sector, including representatives of Bi-State Primary Care, Dartmouth Health, Point32Health, Solution Health, and Youth Villages. Beth Israel Lahey Health sponsored the program, which will take place at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Watch here.
HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
- In partnership with NEBHE, we crafted six Economic Impact Fact Sheets detailing the impact of Higher Education institutions in each New England state and the region as a whole. These have been shared with each New England Congressional Office and have received positive feedback. View the fact sheets here.
- On June 15, the Committee hosted a meeting featuring an update from a policy staffer to Undersecretary of Education James Kvaal, who provided an update on U.S. Department of Education priorities and initiatives. The meeting was a follow up on the Committee’s earlier meeting with the Undersecretary as part of the Washington Leaders’ Conference.
- On September 13, the committee hosted a briefing with NEBHE on their recent Higher Education in Prison Commission report in partnership with MIT TEJI. Michael Thomas of NEBHE and Lee Perlman of MIT briefed the group. Watch here.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION WORKING GROUP
- On September 18, the Council hosted a New England Innovates event on the Blue Economy. Dr. Richard Spinrad, NOAA Administrator, was the keynote speaker at the event. Dr. Spinrad’s remarks were followed followed by a panel discussion with Council members in the sector. The event was hosted by the New England Aquarium. Watch here.
- Advocating for legislation to reverse a recent change in the tax code that requires businesses to amortize R&D expenses continues to be a top priority for the working group. Earlier this year, the Council endorsed bipartisan legislation in both the House and Senate on this issue. On September 27, we hosted a Hill day when a group of members met with New England House and Senate offices to advocate for this legislation. The group included representatives of various industries impacted by the changes, from defense, to technology, to healthcare and more. And most recently, following reports that this provision would likely be included in a year-end tax package, the Council wrote to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee to express support for its inclusion. Read the letter.
- On October 16, the working group hosted a meeting with former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, who discussed the future of the digital economy, data privacy, and AI regulation. Read more.
- On November 7, the Council released to the working group a report providing and overview of legislation aimed at regulating AI that is currently pending before the 118th Congress. Council staff will continue to monitor developments in this area, and will periodically provide and updated version of the report. Read the report.
- The Working Group hosted a virtual meeting on December 5 featuring a briefing from several officials at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Members were updated on the ongoing implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act, the recent establishment of 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, and President Biden’s recent Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE COMMITTEE
- On June 30, the Council sent a letter to all members of the New England House delegation to express support for legislation to reauthorize the policies and programs of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The five-year bill the Council supported will provide $4 billion per year for airport planning and development (including airport noise programs); $17.225 billion over five years for facilities and equipment; and a total of roughly $66.7 billion over the five years for FAA operations. Read the Council’s FAA letter. A similar letter to the region’s Senate delegation will be sent once that chamber shows movement on a bill.
- On October 10, the Committee met with Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA). Congressman Auchincloss is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and spoke on implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and moving forward on BIL reauthorization and the future of infrastructure investments. The Congressman also addressed such items as Buy America streamlining and clarity on rules, gas tax and electric vehicles, workforce development and participation, permitting reform, and project planning. Learn more.
TRADE WORKING GROUP
- On July 17, the Trade Working Group held a virtual meeting with Mr. Jonathan Bosworth, Chief of Staff to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Congressman Blumenauer is the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee. Mr. Bosworth discussed a wide range of trade topics including the expiration of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, ongoing trade and tariff policy related to China, the June passage of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative legislation, the U.S.-European Union Global Arrangement on steel, the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) electric vehicle tax credit, and bipartisan efforts to work with the Administration to bolster Congress’s role in the trade agreement process including the future of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).