Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill into law Wednesday afternoon directing the Department of Public Health to "develop a set of minimum standards for foundational public health services for the commonwealth," and to establish a "state action for public health excellence program" that is intended to encourage local boards of health to adopt certain practices.
The state is expected provide funding to local boards through a competitive grant program.
The House passed the bill in late February, the Senate followed suit in mid-March and the two branches spent more than a month ironing out the differences between their respective versions. It got to Baker's desk on April 23.
Even before the pandemic struck, the Massachusetts Public Health Association had been pushing for passage of the bill, calling for improvements on the local networks charged with ensuring safe food in restaurants, responding to housing quality concerns, enforcing vaping regulations, and providing oversight of children's recreational camps.