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State Senate Passes Economic-recovery and Development Bill

BOSTON — On Wednesday, state Sen. Eric Lesser joined colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate in passing a sweeping economic-recovery and development bill providing much-needed support to businesses, investments in infrastructure, and creating new jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ENDURE Act, co-authored by Lesser, includes provisions for small-business competitive grant programs, housing production, local economic-development projects, capital funding for vocational schools and community colleges, and investments in infrastructure. It also provides support for the tourism and cultural sectors and restaurant industry. Further, to promote equity and protect borrowers and workers across the Commonwealth, the ENDURE Act establishes a Future of Work Commission and creates a Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights.

“Since this crisis started, more than 1 million people have applied for unemployment assistance, and our economy was put into a coma to stop the coronavirus,” said Lesser, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “Half of low-income workers at our small businesses have lost their jobs, and the challenges we have faced have been even more pronounced in our Gateway Cities and for our immigrant communities. This legislation gives us the opportunity to rebuild our economy from the bottom up, and from the middle out. It includes vital investments in small businesses, our tourism and cultural sectors, infrastructure, manufacturing, technology, education, and housing development. We need bold solutions that meet this moment and chart a path for a brighter, more inclusive future that works to benefit the entire Commonwealth.”

The legislation also includes new protections for entrepreneurs by enforcing a ban on making bad-faith assertions of patent infringement, a practice known as ‘patent trolling.’ Such claims often entangle new small businesses in costly lawsuits that hamper the companies’ productivity and sap their early seed-stage funds.

“The ENDURE Act will provide a much-needed boost to our economy as it recovers from the dire effects of COVID-19,” said Senate President Karen Spilka. “In crafting this bill, the Senate recognized the need to be bold when addressing the challenges facing restaurant and small-business owners, the clean-energy sector, cultural attractions, and other key sectors that keep our economy humming. I am particularly pleased this bill includes the long sought-after housing production reforms that the Senate has supported for years.”

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