The House has Unanimously Passed Legislation that Seeks to Reduce the Wage Gap Between Men and Women

By Lauren Dezenski

“The Massachusetts High Tech Council says it prefers the House language but remains opposed to any legislative measures.

“The House bill is a significant improvement over the bill passed by the Senate. But the Council cannot support any version of legislation that would create a presumption that any pay differential between employees of different genders is the result of discriminatory action by an employer,” said Mass High Tech Council executive vice president Mark Gallagher.”

The House has unanimously passed legislation that seeks to reduce the wage gap between men and women.

The measure passed by a vote of 158-0 and would make it illegal for employers to pay employees different wages because of their gender or pay employees less because of their gender. Continue reading

Senators Try to Tack Fantasy Sports, Tax Credits, Alcohol Laws onto Economic Development Bill

By Shira Shoenberg

Massachusetts senators are poised to consider 283 amendments as they debate an approximately $915 million economic development bill on Thursday.

The bill, H.2423, considered a must-pass piece of legislation before the session ends July 31, has become a vehicle for lawmakers to tack on local projects and consider policy changes that never made it through the legislative process this session.

In the House, 183 amendments were introduced, although only a small number were actually adopted. In the Senate, proposed amendments relate to everything from tax credits to daily fantasy sports to brewery laws.

A group of associations representing technology-related businesses, including the Massachusetts High Tech Council, MassChallenge Boston and others signed a letter urging support for an amendment sponsored by state Sen. Ben Downing, D-Pittsfield, that would create a commission to explore regulating daily fantasy sports and clarify that daily fantasy sports are legal. Daily fantasy sports are online games based on the performance of real athletes. Continue reading

Equal Pay Bill Takes Another Step Toward Passing

By Michael Bodley

“While several other business groups have backed pay-equity legislation, the Massachusetts High Technology Council remains opposed to both versions.

“The council cannot support legislation that would create a presumption that any pay differential between employees of different genders is the result of discriminatory action by an employer” said Mark Gallagher, the council’s executive vice president, in a statement. “Such a presumption would impose unfair, unnecessary and significant new risks on Massachusetts employers acting in good faith and would damage the Commonwealth’s competitive environment.””

The latest effort by Massachusetts lawmakers to close the gender gap in pay forged enough middle ground to win over at least one opponent in the business world.

On Tuesday, leaders in the House of Representatives pushed legislation that would require companies to pay female employees the same as male employees who perform comparable work. The thrust of the bill is similar to legislation passed by the state Senate earlier this year, but differs in several key areas. Continue reading

Mass. Bill to Close Gender Pay Gap Picks Up Steam

By Katie Johnson

“The Massachusetts High Technology Council is committed to addressing gender-based wage gaps,” Mark Gallagher, executive vice president of the trade group, said in an e-mail. “But we believe real and meaningful solutions to gender pay differentials cannot be limited to public policy and must include broader initiatives beyond statutory and regulatory changes.”

With House Speaker Robert DeLeo throwing his weight behind passing the pay equity bill, the legislation is gaining momentum with less than five weeks before the formal session ends.

The bill, intended to close pay disparities between men and women, passed the Senate unanimously in January and is currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means.

After meeting with Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Governor Charlie Baker on Monday, DeLeo said he was in talks with a number of groups and aimed to have it passed by the end of July. Continue reading

State Capitol Briefs – Afternoon Edition: Support Voiced for Outsourcing at the MBTA

By Andy Metzger

A week after union officials urged MBTA overseers not to outsource work currently performed by public employees, a series of residents encouraged the T to consider privatization. Representatives from NAIOP, the commercial real estate developer organization, and the Massachusetts High Tech Council joined others on Monday advocating for privatization. Douglas Ciampi Jr., a 20-year-old from Westminster, said that if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration can privatize rockets, the T should “give the free market a chance.” Ciampi also said it took him less time to travel by train between Denmark and Sweden than to travel from Worcester to Boston. After lawmakers last year passed a three-year suspension at the T of the Pacheco law, which requires government agencies to submit privatization plans to the state auditor for approval, leadership at the T has advanced plans to privatize cash handling, inventory and maintenance of fare gates. Members of the audience wore stickers from the Fix Our T coalition that said, “Thank you for suspending the Pacheco law.”

Study Order Dims Prospects for Drug Pricing Disclosure Bill

By Katie Lannan

“In a nutshell, sending this bill to study seems to be the best result,” Massachusetts High Technology Council executive vice president Mark Gallagher told the News Service. “We have deep concerns about it, and we will continue to have deep concerns about any bill that would be structured in that type of way and with those types of provisions. At minimum, a proposal like this needs a lot more consideration and analysis.”

Lawmakers dealt a blow last week to a bill that sought to rein in rising prescription drug costs through pricing disclosure mandates, issuing an order calling for further study on the matter.

On June 2, the House-controlled Joint Committee on Health Care Financing included Sen. Mark Montigny’s drug pricing bill in a study order, usually a dead end for legislation.

Montigny’s bill (S 1048) would compel manufacturers of certain prescription drugs — those deemed “critical” by the state’s Health Policy Commission — to maintain and report pricing information. Continue reading

UMass Says It Generated $6 Billion in Economic Activity Last Year

“”The Mass. High Technology Council, Inc. enthusiastically supports the continued growth, development and influence of the University of Massachusetts. This new data confirms the sheer magnitude of the University’s impact in emerging and established technologies, and our members know firsthand the critical importance of the University’s education, research and service mission to our state’s innovation economy,” said Mass. High Technology Council President Christopher R. Anderson.”

Click here to view UMASS employment numbers, plus external jobs the university supports.

The University of Massachusetts was responsible for $6.2 billion in economic activity in Massachusetts last year – a record high – and helped to support more than 43,000 jobs statewide, President Marty Meehan said Tuesday in a press release.
“UMass educates more students than any college or university in the Commonwealth and is one of the state’s three largest research universities, but it also has a profound impact on the Massachusetts economy based on the scope and reach of its operations,” President Meehan said.

“UMass is a vital economic engine for the Commonwealth,” President Meehan added, “and its impact is felt in every community and by virtually every family across Massachusetts.” Continue reading

Boston is one of the best cities for launching a career – According to a new report from Bankrate

By Justine Hofherr

This year Massachusetts ranked as the most difficult state in the country to hire tech workers, along with Maryland and Virginia, according to an index published by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, a trade group in Waltham.

New college graduates might want to consider Boston as a potential launching pad for their career.

According to a new report by financial advice site Bankrate.com, Boston is the No. 6 best city for starting a successful career, thanks to its pay potential, opportunities for career advancement, and quality of life.

The personal finance website evaluated 100 U.S. cities based on several factors young people should consider when starting their careers, including job prospects, pay potential, quality of life, social opportunities and career advancement.

New York City took the No. 1 spot due to its high rankings for career advancement, pay potential, quality of life and the city’s social opportunities, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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For individual rankings, Boston took the No. 3 spot for prospects of high pay, and placed No. 6 in terms of career advancement.

“Boston’s educated population and higher-than-average share of 20- to 29-year-olds mean new arrivals should find plenty of social opportunities,” Bankrate.com added.

Bankrate banking analyst, Claes Bell, CFA, said in a statement that job seekers most focused on quickly landing an entry-level position might disagree with the rankings, because early-career competition in Boston is stiff, but Bankrate wanted to paint an accurate picture of young workers’ overall quality of life.

“Although young grads will be faced with major competition for available jobs in these top cities, the opportunities for career growth and quality of life among peers far exceed what is offered in less competitive job markets,” Bell said.

The study analyzed 100 U.S. cities based on metro areas with populations of above 250,000 and per capita GDP levels of above $40,000.

The only area Boston did poorly in was its unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year-olds, which suggests it can be difficult for young people to find an entry-level position.

If you work in technology, however, finding a job shouldn’t be too hard for you since the demand for skilled tech workers has never been so dire.

This year Massachusetts ranked as the most difficult state in the country to hire tech workers, along with Maryland and Virginia, according to an index published by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, a trade group in Waltham.

Barbara Anderson, 73; Was the Voice of Limited Taxation in Mass.

By Bryan Marquard and Mark Feeney

To state legislators who tried to find a way around Proposition 2½, Barbara Anderson’s signature tax-cutting ballot measure, she had a simple response: “It means what it says!”

For Ms. Anderson, who was 73 when she died Friday of leukemia, the exclamation point was as much a part of her as the political wallop she delivered throughout the Commonwealth.

A master of forcefully turning complex public policy into something anyone could understand, she played a highly visible and influential role in Massachusetts politics for more than three decades as the longtime executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Continue reading

Gov. Baker at Bentley Speaks on Technology and Economic Progress

By Bill Whelan

It’s the sharp minds and strong work ethic of Massachusetts residents that make the state a high tech haven, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.

“People are really all about the work, there’s not a lot of braggadocio,” he said. “There’s not a lot of flag-waving and bugle blowing, it’s just a heck of a lot of work and a constant sense about what the next act is and how we do a better job of moving the science and moving the technology.”

Baker was the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts High Technology Council annual meeting at Bentley University Wednesday afternoon. The meeting focused on Massachusetts’ strength in the technology sector and what can be done to increase the state’s competitiveness both nationally and globally. Continue reading