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    JUNE 2018
around the table
Executive Director's Message

Dear Members,

As you know, the Roundtable has been working for months with our partners in the business community, members of the Raise Up Coalition and legislative leaders to forge a compromise on a set of ballot questions that would increase the minimum wage, establish a paid family and medical leave program, and reduce the sales tax. Last week an agreement was reached, passed both the House and Senate, and now awaits action from Governor Baker.  

Throughout the negotiations, our guiding principle was to strike a fair, balanced compromise that would protect the Massachusetts economy. While the compromise legislation constituting this “grand bargain” is not perfect, it represents significant progress from the ballot initiatives. I want to take a moment to thank legislative leaders, our fellow business groups and our colleagues in Raise Up for engaging in respectful, fruitful collaboration and negotiations that enabled this agreement to come together. We are hopeful that the productive relationships we have built will help us to avoid contentious ballot battles in the future.

I also need to express our deepest thanks to members of the Roundtable, who shared their ideas, and expertise to guide our efforts in these negotiations every step of the way. Your support as well as your timely and actionable feedback was invaluable, and we are extremely grateful.

Best,
JD

Bob Rivers, CEO of Eastern Bank, Elected Chair at MBR Annual Meeting During its 39th Annual Meeting, Roundtable members unanimously elected Bob Rivers, Chair and CEO of Eastern Bank, to serve as the new Chair of MBR replacing Marcy Reed, Massachusetts President and EVP of Policy and Social Impact at National Grid, who concluded her two-year term.

“On behalf of our membership, I express many thanks to Marcy Reed for her dynamic leadership and commitment to the Roundtable, which had a significant impact on public policy during the past two years,” said Rivers. “Massachusetts is fortunate to have so many diverse businesses working to make this a great place to live and work. I look forward to working with Roundtable members to celebrate and highlight ways that businesses are operating as a force for good across the Commonwealth.”

During the Annual Meeting hosted by Foley Hoag in Boston, members also elected a new Vice Chair, Cathy Minehan, Partner at Arlington Advisory Partner and former President & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, a slate of officers, as well as committee and task force chairs. The Roundtable is grateful for the continued leadership, support and engagement of so many Board members in industry sectors throughout the state.  

The meeting featured a conversation with State Senate Majority Whip Michael Rodrigues on the statewide ballot process, legislative priorities and ways for business leaders to engage effectively with policy makers. Senator Rodrigues highlighted the Roundtable as a partner in creating innovative policies and called for a continued thoughtful approach to finding solutions to complex issues.

Special thanks to Foley Hoag Partner and MBR Executive Committee member Joseph Basile for hosting this timely discussion.

READ press release | READ Mid-Year Highlights

State Legislature Passes “Grand Bargain” Bill in Collaboration with the Business Community, Raise Up MA to Avoid Ballot QuestionsLegislative leaders adopted compromise legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage over five years, establish a paid family and medical leave program, provide relief to employers on time and a half pay and create an annual sales tax holiday as part of a “grand bargain” to avoid multiple ballot questions going before voters in November. The Roundtable worked diligently for months with our partners in the business community, members of the Raise Up Coalition and legislative leaders to forge a compromise that mitigates the problems posed by the ballot questions.  

During the past year, MBR had strong support and input from Roundtable member companies guiding our efforts to achieve a legislative compromise. As with any compromise, neither side is entirely pleased with all the elements of the bargain. There are costs and complexities associated with the legislation that will impact employers and employees across the state. However, this resolves a series of complex issues through legislation, rather than by ballot in November.

READ Roundtable's public statement relative to the “grand bargain”.

MBR Advocates for Budget Priorities in Conference Committee

Submitted by MBR Intern Hailey Reed

The Roundtable sent a letter to the joint committee tasked with finalizing the Massachusetts FY19 state budget advocating for the passage of specific line items from the House and Senate budgets. With the broad goal of making Massachusetts a highly competitive place to do business, the letter highlights the importance that early childhood education, workforce development, computer science education, and transportation play in reaching that goal.

As a participant and leader in Speaker DeLeo’s Early Education and Care Business Advisory Group, the Roundtable urged the conference committee to adopt three items that would develop, professionalize, and help to retain the early education and care workforce. In addition, the Roundtable advocated for additional sector-based job training and urged the committee to increase access to computer science education in Massachusetts. Lastly, the letter advocated for the adoption of the Senate’s “Smarter Tolling Program” that would use technology to address the growing problem of congestion on our roadways and ease costs on employers and employees.    

READ the letter

Roundtable Signs Letter Supporting Federal Resources for Improved Career & Technical EducationSubmitted by MBR Intern Hailey Reed

Along with over 200 other individuals and organizations, MBR signed a letter to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions supporting the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This act, passed unanimously by the House in June 2017, will ensure that career and technical education (CTE) is modern, robust, and well-engineered. The Act, known as the Perkins Act, will increase the number of qualified and job-ready candidates across many industries. For years, Roundtable members have pointed to the skills gap when hiring as one of the biggest hurdles to making the Massachusetts business community competitive nationwide. The Perkins Act will aid in bridging that skills gap by ensuring that students across the country will receive an up-to-date and strong technical education that prepares them for future careers. With a growing STEM industry, Massachusetts and Roundtable members will benefit greatly from these necessary and qualified employees.

READ the letter

MBR Joined with the Greater Boston Chamber to Urge the Trump Administration to End Family Separation
Submitted by MBR Intern Hailey Reed

Recognizing the valuable contributions that immigrants make to our nation, economy, and business community, the Roundtable issued a joint statement with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce urging the Trump Administration to end its policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. Massachusetts has a vibrant immigrant population, who contribute to the diverse ecosystem that makes the Commonwealth the most innovative state in the nation.

READ the statement

Roundtable Joins Coalition to Protect Rights of Transgender CitizensSubmitted by MBR Intern Hailey Reed

With overwhelming support from Roundtable members, the Roundtable joined the Freedom for All Massachusetts coalition to oppose a ballot initiative that would repeal the state’s transgender rights law. As a member of the coalition, the Roundtable now sits alongside thousands of parents, safety advocates, faith leaders, government officials, labor unions, educators, sports teams, activists, and its own members from the business community from across the commonwealth, all of whom support the rights of their transgender neighbors. Members of the Roundtable have not only expressed support for transgender rights, but they have joined the coalition as well, with Google, Eastern Bank, Harvard Pilgrim, and over ten other Roundtable members joining the business sector of the coalition.

MBR Partners with Business Groups to Oppose Charter School Moratorium Amendment to State Budget Submitted by MBR Intern Hailey Reed

The Roundtable joined several Massachusetts business groups in sending a letter to the Conference Committee expressing opposition to an amendment funding future expansion of public charter schools. Such an amendment, the letter states, “would provide charter opponents with a tool they could easily use to block charter growth in every corner of the state.” The letter advocates that “new charters should be approved and existing charters should expand as determined by the Commonwealth’s long-standing process that is based on community need, parent demand and the strength of the application.”

READ letter

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

Roundtable Coalition Launches “Stay Covered” Campaign on Health Care Messaging
The Massachusetts Health Connector’s Coalition on Coverage and Care, of which the Roundtable is a member, has launched a new campaign to make clear the continuing state-level individual mandate and related market standards. The “Stay Covered” Campaign will provide clear messaging to individuals, employers, and brokers about the Commonwealth’s standards of coverage. With nationwide conversation about the Affordable Care Act and the elimination of the national individual mandate, this coalition will work to reduce confusion by providing advisory guides, summarized points on Massachusetts health care law, and tips for small businesses to keep health care costs down. Adequate, affordable, and accessible health care coverage has been a key priority across Massachusetts residents and businesses, and, by increasing awareness, this campaign will work to ensure that all policies in Massachusetts meet state standards. VIEW website.


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

@easternbank CEO @rfrivers64 says businesses can play an important role deterring this behavior to help end human trafficking during announcement with @MassAGO @marty_walsh @bostonchamber @AllianceBL

"Business Roundtable urges the Administration to end immediately the policy of separating accompanied minors from their parents. This practice is cruel and contrary to American values." @BizRoundtable

Congratulations to Bob Rivers @rfrivers64 Chair & CEO of @easternbank on his unanimous election to serve as Chair of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors at the #AnnualMeeting hosted by @FoleyHoag this morning! #mabiz #mapoli

We are enormously grateful to @MarcyReedNG of @nationalgridus for her creativity and commitment to the Commonwealth serving as Roundtable Chair during the past two years. Thank you for all your support and leadership of the Roundtable! #mabiz

#IntheNews: Roundtable member @RocklandTrust acquires Milford National Bank and Trust.

#InTheNews: Roundtable member @BerkshireBank hosts their 3rd annual Xtrordinary Day, partnering with member @HillCrestEdctrs and providing all Berkshire Bank employees the opportunity to volunteer throughout Berkshire County.

#InTheNews: Roundtable member @SouthcoastHlth plans to open second wound care center in New Bedford after success of Fall River center.

@SpeakerDeLeo highlights investments in House budget for salaries and educational opportunities for early educators, as well as early childhood mental health @bostonfdn #EarlyEd

“Housing is a hard problem, but in Massachusetts we like to solve hard problems,” says @MassGovernor noting Housing Choice Initiative to create 135,000 new units of housing in collaboration with communities across the state

The Roundtable is pleased to welcome several new followers on Twitter. Please consider following them.
 
Brad Jones @RepBradJones
Patrick O'Connor @PatrickMOConnor 
Marylou Sudders @MLSudders 
Lauren Dezenski @LaurenDezenski 
Citizen IBM @citizenIBM 
Quincy College @QuincyCollege
Carol Holahan @carol_holahan 
MassMEP Innovatio @MassMEPInnovate 
Gregg Croteau @gcroteau 

 
In this issue
Bob Rivers, CEO of Eastern Bank, Elected Chair at MBR Annual Meeting
State Legislature Passes “Grand Bargain” Bill in Collaboration with the Business Community, Raise Up MA to Avoid Ballot Questions
MBR Advocates for Budget Priorities in Conference Committee
Roundtable Signs Letter Supporting Federal Resources for Improved Career & Technical Education
MBR Joined with the Greater Boston Chamber to Urge the Trump Administration to End Family Separation
Roundtable Joins Coalition to Protect Rights of Transgender Citizens
MBR Partners with Business Groups to Oppose Charter School Moratorium Amendment to State Budget
Going Around the Table
What's News on Twitter
 
Upcoming events
MBR BOARD MEETINGS
Board Meeting
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Noon–1:30 pm
Location: TBD
For members only

 
Hot links
Roundtable Mid-Year Highlights 2018
Roundtable Annual Report
Roundtable Member List 2018
MBR Biz-Education Partnerships Report
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BRT on Immigration
BRT on Trade
BRT on Innovation & Competitiveness
 

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