January 12th Information &
Resource Update
State Unveils Digital Vaccine Card

The Commonwealth has released a tool that gives residents a means to access a COVID-19 digital vaccine card, as well as their vaccination history. The new tool, called My Vax Records, allows those who received their vaccination in Massachusetts to access their own vaccination history and generate a COVID-19 digital vaccine card, which would contain similar vaccination information to a paper CDC card. The COVID-19 digital vaccine cards produced by the system utilize the SMART Health Card platform and generate a QR code that can be used to verify vaccination. The Administration is not requiring residents to show proof of vaccination to enter any venue; the tool is intended to help residents who would like to access and produce a digital copy of their record.

The new tool can be accessed at MyVaxRecords.Mass.Gov.

An individual utilizes the platform by entering their name, date of birth, and mobile phone number or email associated with their vaccine record. After creating a 4-digit PIN, the user receives a link to their vaccine record that will open upon re-entry of the PIN.

The electronic record shows the same information as a paper CDC vaccine card: name, date of birth, date of vaccinations, and vaccine manufacturer. It also includes a QR code that makes these same details readable by a QR scanner, including smartphone apps. Once the SMART Health Card is received, users are able to save the QR code to their phone, such as the Apple Wallet, screenshot the information and save it to their phone’s photos, or print out a copy for a paper record. The system follows national standards for security and privacy.

The system leverages the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS), the official database used by health care providers across the state to record vaccination information. The system relies on hundreds of providers inputting demographic and health information. Some users may not be able to immediately find their record, or may find an incomplete record. Residents whose record cannot be found or is incomplete can either contact their health care provider or contact the MIIS team to update their records. Learn more about the tool and view frequently-asked-questions at www.mass.gov/myvaxrecord.

My Vax Records is just one way residents can obtain their COVID vaccination record. Pharmacies that administered the COVID vaccine and many health care providers also are making SMART Health Cards available, or are providing additional options; click here for additional information on other means to obtain proof of vaccination.
MEPA Publishes Updated Regulations Regarding Environmental Justice Populations, Public Involvement

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office recently published amendments to 301 CMR 11.00, the MEPA Regulations, which took effect December 24th, 2021. MEPA has also issued two draft protocols regarding environmental justice with effective dates of January 1st, 2022:

The new regulations implement the environmental justice (EJ) requirements of Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021, the Commonwealth’s major Climate Roadmap Act signed into law last year. These include a formal definition of an Environmental Justice Population, enhanced public involvement procedures, and a framework for analyzing environmental justice impacts during the MEPA review process. 

NAIOP Massachusetts will host MEPA Director Tori Kim for a discussion of these new requirements and their impact on commercial real estate in the Commonwealth, on Wednesday, January 26th at 12:00 PM. Attendees will learn about the new regulations; how to navigate the update; receive a preview of what is next for the MEPA regulatory review process; and have the opportunity to ask questions at the beginning of implementation. This event will be hosted virtually via Zoom; click here to register. There is a cost associated for non-NAIOP members. 
Mass. Life Sciences Center Accepting Applications
for Tax Incentive Program

The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is currently accepting applications for its Tax Incentive program. The Tax Incentive program is open to companies engaged in life sciences research and development, and/or commercialization and manufacturing in Massachusetts. The program provides incentives to companies of all sizes looking to expand their efforts by creating new, long-term jobs in Massachusetts.

The application period will close on February 4th at 12:00 PM.

In order to be eligible for the program:
  • Companies must be registered to do business in Massachusetts
  • Companies must employ at least 10 permanent Massachusetts Full Time Equivalents (35 hours per week) as of December 31st, 2021
  • Companies must commit to hiring at least 10 net new jobs in calendar year 2022 in Massachusetts and commit to retaining those jobs through December 31st, 2026

Interested applicants will be required to submit an online application. The application includes information necessary for the applicant company to be certified under the Life Sciences Act.

Companies that receive a tax incentive award are required to provide Quarterly and Annual Reports to monitor the progress of the hiring against the commitment levels, which were the basis of the award provided. Companies not in compliance with their hiring commitments will be decertified. Decertified companies must return tax incentives to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program Seeking Applicants for FY23 Action Grants

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant program is currently accepting interest for FY23 Action Grants. The program provides support for cities and towns in Massachusetts to identify climate hazards, assess vulnerabilities, and develop action plans to improve resilience to climate change. Communities that complete the MVP Planning Grant process become designated as an MVP Community and are eligible for MVP Action Grant funding to implement the priority actions identified through the planning process.

An Optional Expression of Interest Form for FY23 Action Grants is now open. Municipalities are encouraged to meet the early deadline of January 21st in order to receive the most robust feedback. The final deadline for expressions of interest is February 14th. 

MVP Action Grant program projects can range from a vulnerability assessment of a specific sector to an outreach and engagement campaign to constructing green infrastructure that takes into account climate change projections. The program seeks to fund proactive adaptation projects that utilize best available climate data, that are rooted in natural systems as much as possible, and that put environmental justice and equity front and center. All projects are required to provide monthly updates, project deliverables, and a brief project case study communicating lessons learned. The municipality is also required to match 25% of total project cost using cash or in-kind contributions. Click here for more information about the Action Grant.
495/MetroWest Partnership to Host Presentation
on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program

The Energy and Sustainable Development Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will host representatives from MassDevelopment to present on the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program on Tuesday, February 15th at 8:30 AM. This event will take place virtually via Zoom; click here to register.

PACE is a new mechanism to finance energy improvements, such as energy-efficiency projects, renewables, and gas line extensions, on commercial and industrial properties in Massachusetts. To finance improvements, a property owner agrees to a betterment assessment on their property, which repays the financing. This approach enables owners to undertake more comprehensive energy upgrades with longer payback periods of up to 20 years. At property sale, the lien stays with the property and is transferred to subsequent property owners. Properties eligible for financing through PACE include commercial buildings, industrial buildings, and multi-family buildings with five or more units. Individual municipalities may opt into PACE one time by a majority vote of the city or town council or the board of selectmen, as appropriate.

Following the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of MassDevelopment representatives. For more information on the PACE program, click here.
Your Feedback Sought: Proposed 2022-2027 Strategic Plan
for the 495/MetroWest Partnership

The 495/MetroWest Partnership's Board of Directors will consider a new five-year Strategic Plan for the organization at its March 2022 quarterly meeting. We are pleased to present a draft of the new plan, along with opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback before the plan comes before the Board for formal action.

The Partnership is actively seeking feedback on our draft 2022-2027 Strategic Plan before it is formally adopted by the Board of Directors at their March meeting. The Partnership has created multiple avenues for any interested stakeholder to offer feedback on the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan:

  • Participate in our Strategic Plan Presentation & Discussion: The Partnership will host a virtual presentation and discussion of the new Strategic Plan on Friday, January 28th, 2022 at 8:30 AM. This event will take place virtually via Zoom; click here to register. Participation is open to any interested stakeholder, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback.

  • Submit feedback via email: Feedback or questions may be submitted to Executive Director Jason Palitsch at any time via email, at Jason@495Partnership.org
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.