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4/29/20-- When Governor Charlie Baker announced the statewide stay-at-home advisory and non-essential business closure, the expiration date was set for May 4 - this Friday. But on Tuesday, Baker announced the order would remain in place until May 18. That’s another three weeks of closed businesses, remote work, and for many, lost jobs and wages. Even after a 3 week period in which hopefully the number of cases will begin to decline, people are skeptical that a May 18th reopening will in fact take place. After all, this is now the third end date for the stay-at-home and business closure order (April 7, May 4, May 18). So, when can we expect Massachusetts to reopen? As Stephanie Murray explains, Governor Baker often talks about “facts on the ground.” He’ll be looking for downward trends in hospitalizations, deaths, and new cases before making significant moves in reopening. In other news, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday the launch of a new program to test residents for coronavirus antibodies. Gov. Baker is lukewarm on using the tests statewide given that their accuracy has not yet been verified.“I think a test that up to a third of the time is wrong is not very helpful.” In an effort to avoid the outcome of Wisconsin’s presidential primary election, wherein roughly 400,000 people went in person to the polls which resulted in at least 36 new cases of coronavirus, Massachusetts is making plans. Secretary of State Bill Galvin said he will announce in early May his plan to expand early voting and voting by mail. State Senator Cynthia Creem has proposed vote by mail legislation, as has our special guest, State Senator Becca Rausch. She’s calling for universal vote by mail. “That means it’s universal to the greatest possible extent for everybody in the Commonwealth who votes, and also automatic to the greatest possible extent.” Under the legislation, everyone registered to vote would receive a ballot in the mail for the November general election, and everyone enrolled in a party would receive a ballot in the mail for the September primary. Those who are unenrolled would apply for the ballot of their choice. The bill also mandates that poll workers be supplied with personal protective equipment, and that election day become a paid holiday.

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