Thursday, March 18, 2021

Boston City Council Looks At Democratic Public Meetings, Digital Infrastructure, Sidewalks, Recovery & More

City Councilor-At-Large Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. Below are a few highlights from March 17, 2021 Boston City Council meeting: 


Medication Assisted Recovery and Care: The Council voted to pass a resolution from Councilor Edwards in support of SD.1709, An Act Relative to Medication Assisted Recovery and Care, which will address the systemic barriers faced by those on medication assisted recovery.

Striking Nurses at St. Vincent’s Hospital: The Council voted to pass a resolution from Councilors Edwards and Flynn in support of the striking nurses at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, who are advocating for safe staffing ratios and additional support staff to protect their patients’ health.

Structure of the Fiscal Management and Control Board: The Council voted to pass a resolution from Councilors Flynn and Bok in support of SD.1313, An Act Relative to the Structure of the Fiscal Management and Control Board. This bill would expand the FMCB to 7 members, including one member to be appointed by the Mayor of Boston


Divestment of the City Treasury: Councilors Edwards, O’Malley and I filed an ordinance relative to the investments of the City Treasury, which would prohibit local investments in tobacco companies, fossil fuel companies, or companies related to the operation of private prisons. Massachusetts was the first state to divest from South Africa in 1982 and the first to divest all state pension funds from tobacco companies in 1997. This is an opportunity to build on that legacy by refusing to fund dangerous, predatory companies that compromise the wellbeing of the next generation. This matter was referred to the Committee on Government Operations. 

Access to Local Democracy: Councilors Edwards, Breadon and Mejia filed an ordinance expanding access to local democracy in the City of Boston. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, municipalities have enabled remote participation in and access to open meetings, meaningfully increasing Boston residents’ engagement in local democracy. This legislation would establish provisions for a permanent remote participation option for all public body meetings, with technology accessible for people with disabilities and those who speak a language other than English. This matter was referred to the Committee on Government Operations.

Digital Infrastructure and Electronic City Services: Councilors Edwards and Flynn called for a hearing on digital infrastructure and electronic city services. Residents are increasingly reliant on the City’s digital infrastructure to access information and services, but this infrastructure requires extensive investment and maintenance to ensure it is modern, secure, and accessible. This matter was referred to the Committee on City & Neighborhood Services. 


Supplemental Sidewalk Clearance Program: Councilor Flynn reported back as Chair of the Committee on City and Neighborhood Services on a hearing recently held to discuss a supplemental sidewalk clearance program during snowstorms in Boston, sponsored by Councilor Bok. At the hearing, we heard from Chief of Streets Chris Osgood and Public Works Superintendent Michael Brohel, as well as representatives from WalkBoston, Livable Streets Alliance, and the City of Syracuse, NY, to explore policy options to ensure safe streets for seniors, people with disabilities, and others with mobility challenges. (Remains in Committee)

UPCOMING HEARINGS (Streaming online at
  • Our next City Council meeting will be on Wednesday, March 24th at 12PM.

  • Friday, March 19 at 10AM: Hearing regarding commercial vacancies in Boston (Committee on Small Business & Workforce Development)

  • Monday, March 22 at 4PM: Hearing regarding appointments to the Boston Public Health Commission’s Board of Health (Committee on Public Health)

  • Tuesday, March 23 at 1PM: Working session regarding police contracts as policy documents (Committee on Ways & Means)

  • Tuesday, March 23 at 4PM: Hearing regarding the implementation of hte #BPSReady reopening plan (Committee on Education)

For complete notes of Boston City Council meetings, visit to sign up to receive Council Notes automatically.

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