Episode 127: The 'Stay at Home' Stretch

35 minutes

Watch the video version here! https://youtu.be/s7Y8_LaonQI

4/15/20-- Impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak continue to be felt, as it claims more and more lives, axes the economy, and leaves everyone feeling at least a little uncertain and unsafe. The Trump administration and governors throughout the country have, since the beginning of the virus' spread, disagreed on how to respond. For the most part, though, governors have implemented aggressive actions in their own states that were often more sweeping than what the president installed. However, on Monday, Trump claimed during a press briefing that it was ultimately up to the president to decide when and how to reopen states. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the notion of the president overriding governors' decisions about reopening state economies, saying such an act would cause a "constitutional crisis." Cuomo announced Monday that the governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Delaware would work together in planning the reopening of the states' economies.

Once state economies do reopen, though, it's not as if everything will go back to normal. One potentially lasting effect of the coronavirus may be public transportation ridership in Massachusetts. According to WBUR, subway ridership is down 92.7% as of April 9, and bus ridership is down 78% compared to the week of Feb. 24 - Feb. 28. The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed an $18 billion transportation bond bill in the first week of March. Will political will remain as strong when we come out of our respective bunkers and hit the streets again? Or will people's lingering distrust of public spaces and communal surfaces discourage them from taking the T and lead them to rely on driving more than ever?

Getting ballot questions in front of voters is a long, expensive tasks that requires many, many signatures. Acquiring those signatures has traditionally required a bunch of in-person contact. Now that such an interaction is pretty much forbidden, how will ballot questions stand a chance of advancing? As it stands now, if the legislature neither dismisses nor signs into law the 4 initiative petitions before them, ballot question organizers will be required to gather 13,000 signatures by July 1st for their questions to make it to the ballot. George Cronin, managing director for Rasky Partners' public affairs practice, drops by The Horse Race to provide his expert analysis.

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