Updates

Updates

OPEN MEETING LAW TEMPORARY AUTHORIZATION FOR REMOTE PARTICIPATION EXTENDED BY LEGISLATURE – AWAITS GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE

Last night, the House and Senate enacted S. 3007, which extends the authorization for remote participation for all public bodies until March 31, 2023. The legislature enacted the bill with Emergency Authorization, meaning it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it. This measure simply extends the prior authorization, which expired at 12:01AM on July 15, 2022, and allows public bodies the ability to choose to continue the now well-established remote meeting protocols, dating back to March 2020.

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Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization: The Supreme Court Overrules Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overruled the landmark constitutional case Roe v. Wade and the key subsequent decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey in a majority opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito. The Court held that “[t]he Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

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The World Needs to Act

  MHTL supports the international effort to help Ukraine and bring an end to the political and humanitarian crisis that is unfolding.   Too long has the world, and this country also, allowed bad actors to use the weapons of war, including the threat of...

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AUTHORIZATION FOR REMOTE PARTICIPATION FOR PUBLIC BODIES AND FOR REPRESENTATIVE TOWN MEETINGS IS EXTENDED THROUGH JULY 14, 2022

On February 12, 2022, the Governor signed Chapter 22 of the Acts of 2022, which extends the authority for remote participation for all public bodies through July 14, 2022. This session law also extends the authority for representative town meetings to meet by remote means, through July 14, 2022. These temporary measures provide public bodies and representative town meetings the ability to choose to continue the now well-established remote meeting protocols, first established back in March of 2020. In response to public demand and interest from cities and towns, the General Court will take the additional time to evaluate long-term action, to decide if remote participation for public bodies and representative town meetings is here to stay. The extended authorization keeps all of the same procedural requirements and safeguards in place from the original authorizations and extensions.

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Clarifies Definition of “Regular Compensation” for Retirement Boards

          In 2018, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), in a case commonly known as the Vernava decision, declared that vacation or sick pay used to supplement workers’ compensation payments did not constitute “regular compensation” as defined in M.G.L. c. 32, 1.

          Based on the Vernava decision, PERAC issued a memorandum which interpreted the SJC’s Vernava decision as being limited to the calculation of regular compensation for those members who received accidental disability retirement benefits under M.G.L. c. 32, § 7. PERAC instructed all retirement boards to follow its interpretation of Vernava as outlined in the memorandum but not to apply the SJC’s analysis of regular compensation to ordinary disability or superannuation retirement applications.

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OSHA Withdraws Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard

OSHA has just announced that it is withdrawing this ETS effective immediately. Although OSHA is withdrawing the ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, OSHA is not withdrawing the ETS to the extent that it serves as a “proposed” rule; instead OSHA has indicated that it will prioritize its resources to focus on a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard. Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the ETS for large employers, OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by COVID-19 in the workplace.

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Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Welcomes Three New Associate Attorneys

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is delighted to announce the addition of three new associate attorneys, Blair Wigney, Katherine Blum and Mariem Marquetti. Ms. Blum and Ms. Marquetti will primarily be assisting in the firm’s Labor & Employment and Litigation practices, while Ms. Wigney will be focused on the firm’s Corporate & Business and Benefits practices.

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The Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vaccination and Testing Requirements but Upholds HHS Vaccination Requirements

On January 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court issued a “stay” that prevents OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) from taking effect for the time being. On the same day, the Supreme Court also issued a “stay” that allows the Health and Human Services (“HHS”) mandatory COVID-19 vaccination rule for all Medicare and Medicaid funded facilities to go into effect. Given that both of these rulings involved applications for preliminary or emergency relief, neither of them represents the final word on the enforceability of the vaccine and/or testing mandates, and additional litigation is a certainty as the lower courts further evaluate the legality of the mandates.

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New Technical Assistance Updates from the EEOC

In October, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 Technical Assistance, providing additional guidance for employers on the interaction between COVID-19 vaccine workplace policies and federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. Here are key updates to the Technical Assistance:

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Latest News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partner Presents at the 41st Annual ISCEBS Employee Benefits Symposium

  Attorney Katherine Hesse, a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, presented a Legal Update at the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (“ISCEBS”) 41st Annual Employee Benefits Symposium this week. The four day symposium was held in Toronto, Ontario this year, and was attended by professionals of corporations, consulting firms, health care organizations, hospitals, banks, law firms, and others. Attorney Hesse began her Legal Update with recent Supreme Court case decisions: Hughes v. Northwestern University; Marietta Read More

Legal Updates

OPEN MEETING LAW TEMPORARY AUTHORIZATION FOR REMOTE PARTICIPATION EXTENDED BY LEGISLATURE – AWAITS GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE

Last night, the House and Senate enacted S. 3007, which extends the authorization for remote participation for all public bodies until March 31, 2023. The legislature enacted the bill with Emergency Authorization, meaning it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it. This measure simply extends the prior authorization, which expired at 12:01AM on July 15, 2022, and allows public bodies the ability to choose to continue the now well-established remote meeting protocols, dating back to March 2020.

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