SUMMER 2016
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

In a dizzying race to the finish of the 2015-16 legislative session, lawmakers advanced a number of important policy priorities identified by Roundtable members. The Legislature passed bills on economic development and energy, both areas of significant interest and advocacy for the Roundtable and our members. Compromise legislation offered by the House to modify the law governing non-competition agreements did not pass. Much improved pay equity legislation was signed into law this week by Governor Baker.  

We want to thank Roundtable leaders and members who informed and bolstered our advocacy with our many partners in the business community. Your engagement made a real impact on public policy, and we are grateful for the support.

Have a great rest of the summer!


Roundtable Advocates for Member-Driven Principles in Energy Legislation
Guided by the principles established by the Roundtable’s Energy Task Force, the Roundtable worked collaboratively with other business groups to advocate for clean, reliable and cost effective energy resources for customers and employers across the state. The final version of energy legislation adopted by the Legislature calls for 2,800 megawatts of offshore wind and hydroelectric power obtained through competitive procurements consistent with our principles supporting a balanced, regional, competitive approach to achieve the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act. The bill also did not include several measures we opposed, such as a doubling of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and language that would have limited the state’s ability to expand access to cheap natural gas. Both measures would have driven up costs.

The Roundtable advocated strongly with policy makers and leaders in the Baker Administration to focus attention on the high cost of electricity while positioning the state to create a path toward a more reliable, sustainable energy future that includes increased energy efficiency, innovative distributed generation and storage technologies, cost effective renewable energy, and expanded natural gas capacity. A coalition of business organizations communicated directly with legislative leaders: 

“In short, we support public policy that provides reliable, sustainable, affordable energy resources for consumers and businesses enabling the state to meet the needs of a growing economy and the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act in the most cost-effective way possible.”

Roundtable Supports Major Priorities Contained in Economic Development Legislation
The Roundtable urged Senate and House leaders to adopt economic development legislation that improves the state’s long-term competitiveness in the global economy, including $45 million in capital funding to invest in new equipment and technology to strengthen vocational technical education across the state; new state tax deduction—similar to those in 34 other states—for contributions made to 529 college savings plans including the Massachusetts UFund and UPlan; expanded advisory committee guiding the state’s work to increase access to computer science education though the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network; and new early college high school program to create a unique pathway for students working toward an associate degree or other professional certificates. These initiatives were included in the final bill, along with a series of other incentives and programs to spur economic development across the state. The Roundtable also strongly opposed a provision in the Senate bill authorizing the Inspector General to create a new office that would review tax incentives—a function already performed by the Department of Revenue—which was not included in the final bill.

READ letters

Bill on Non-Competition Agreements Does Not Pass Legislature
The Roundtable made a major pitch to leaders in the House, Senate and the Baker-Polito Administration to adopt compromise language put forward by the House of Representatives. The House bill included significant new protections for low-income workers, added new restrictions on the duration of the agreements and prior notice given to employees before signing one, and included a “garden leave” provision that would have ensured employees were paid 50% of their salary while they were unable to work, as long as they didn’t previously receive some mutually agreed upon compensation. The House compromise legislation recognized that Massachusetts employers need flexibility and legal options to protect intellectual property, and protected the rights of both employers and workers. The Roundtable supported the House compromise bill. Ultimately, however, the House and Senate could not reach an agreement.  

READ letter

Roundtable Supports Pay Equity Legislation Signed by Governor Charlie Baker
Roundtable members have identified equity and diversity as essential elements of a healthy, productive and successful workplace. The new pay equity law signed by Governor Charlie Baker this week strikes a careful balance between the workers it seeks to protect and the employers who would have to implement it. The Roundtable commends the Legislature, Attorney General Healey, AIM and our colleagues in the business community for thoughtfully addressing this important social and economic issue. MBR is pleased to support this new law.

READ Roundtable statement

READ story

Roundtable Advocates for Lifting Cap on Public Charter Schools in Massachusetts
The Roundtable has long supported expanding the innovative practices at charter schools, which provide families with increased opportunities for their children. Strengthening education and workforce development remains a top priority for Roundtable members.

MBR was proud to join the launch event at the State House in July as a member of the Great Schools Massachusetts Coalition. During a downpour outside the State House, Governor Charlie Baker said, “For too many children and families in Massachusetts, it has been raining for a very long time.”

The coalition includes “a bipartisan group of parents, educators, community leaders, elected officials, education advocates, business community leaders, and other advocates for public charter schools” that launched a ballot campaign “to bring fair access to public charter schools to thousands of students in the Commonwealth.”  
For more information visit the Yes on 2 Campaign website:

Roundtable Requests U.S. Dept. of Transportation to Reconsider Direct Flight from Logan to Havana
In a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the Roundtable respectfully urged DOT to reconsider its tentative decision and grant JetBlue Airways the authority to serve Havana from Boston. MBR works closely with MassPort to support the expansion of direct flights to important economic hubs around the world.

Roundtable business leaders cite Logan International Airport as a major competitive advantage for the Commonwealth as it competes in the global economy. The letter to Secretary Foxx notes, “In today’s knowledge-based global economy, it is essential that that the nation’s leading education, healthcare, biotechnology, financial and cultural institutions in Massachusetts and New England have nonstop access to Havana to link these vital sectors with new opportunities in Cuba.”

READ letter

Roundtable Member Jay Gonzalez and MBR Executive Director JD Chesloff Op-Ed on Early Education
Roundtable members voted unanimously during the March 2016 Board meeting to make improving early education and care a priority within MBR’s education and workforce development policy advocacy. House Speaker Robert DeLeo convened a new Early Education and Care Business Advisory Group—that includes Roundtable member Jay Gonzalez and MBR Executive Director JD Chesloff—to begin providing systems and management expertise, strategic guidance, and data-based programmatic and financial advice focused on the critical needs of the early education and care workforce.

The MetroWest Daily News recently published an op-ed highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with strengthening both the quality of early education and access to affordable programs. Here is a brief excerpt from the op-ed: 

Why are business leaders beginning to see early childhood education as critical to workforce development? Because the data makes clear that it is.

Research shows that participation in high-quality, pre-K programs increases a child’s likelihood of graduating from high school, graduating from college and being employed. If children start school ready to learn, they are twice as likely to read at grade level by age 8. If children read at grade level by age 8, they are four times more likely to graduate from high school. Those who participate in high quality early childhood programs are twice as likely to attend college.

In other words, quality early childhood education increases the talent pool available to meet employers’ workforce needs. It also gives our children a better shot at succeeding in school and being qualified for good job opportunities that exist.


Going Around the Table
News, links and information about members of the Roundtable

Boston Business Journal Op-Ed by Roundtable Chair Marcy Reed on Emissions Reduction Goals & Natural Gas

Commonwealth Magazine Story on the Need for Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity

Does your company have news about industry trends, key milestones or other materials you are sharing with the public? We want to include news from our members in this space, so please send any story ideas or links to MBR Deputy Director Chris Kealey.

TwitterWhat's News on Twitter

Great Schools MA @GreatSchoolsMA  
"For too many families in MA, it’s been raining for a long time.” - @CharlieBakerMA supporting #liftthecap

Proud to join biz cmty partners, @MassGovernor & Legisalture to help families save for college @MassEOHED #JobsBill

The Roundtable supports equity & diversity in the workplace. We are pleased to support House pay equity bill  #mabiz

UMass @UMass  
UMass ranks 30th globally for universities granted U.S. patents in 2015. 

Shire plc  ‏@Shireplc 
Everyone is different. So why would our treatments be the same?  #ShireScience

Roundtable member @BerkshireBank awards $45,000 in scholarships to 30 high school seniors for community service efforts

Great Schools MA @GreatSchoolsMA 
We can't say this enough: expanding access to #charterschools IS a social justice issue. #LiftTheCap #MAEdu #MAPoli

Congratulations to our members honored by @BosBizJournal as 2016 Best Places to work

By investing in high quality early education we can prepare students for a successful career later in life. #MABIZ #EarlyEducation

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.
Rep. Mike Capuano @RepMikeCapuano
Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education @MBAEnews
Barr Foundation @BarrFdn 
Mayor Jim Fiorentini @jimfiorentini 
Future Ready MA @FutureReadyMA
safehealthyma @safehealthyma 
MA Women's Caucus @MAWomensCaucus 
FOX25 News Boston @fox25news 
TNB Roundtable @TNBRoundtable 
In this issue
Roundtable Advocates for Member-Driven Principles in Energy Legislation
Roundtable Supports Major Priorities Contained in Economic Development Legislation
Bill on Non-Competition Agreements Does Not Pass Legislature
Roundtable Supports Pay Equity Legislation Signed by Governor Charlie Baker
Roundtable Advocates for Lifting Cap on Public Charter Schools in Massachusetts
Roundtable Requests U.S. Dept. of Transportation to Reconsider Direct Flight from Logan to Havana
Roundtable Member Jay Gonzalez and MBR Executive Director JD Chesloff Op-Ed on Early Education
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
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