April 26, 2024

Legislature Sends Supplemental Budget to the Governor

Deal includes permanent authorization of outdoor
dining permitting and cocktails-to-go

The MA House and Senate finalized a supplemental budget bill today that authorizes Governor Maura Healey to spend an additional $426 million over the last remaining months of this fiscal year and the beginning of next fiscal year to address the state’s ongoing emergency shelter crisis.  The authorization of more funding for the emergency housing assistance program does come with additional reforms set by the Legislature, including a nine-month limit on how long families can stay in the state's emergency shelters, with funding also set aside for job training and additional services.  With the recent influx of migrants, the state is projected to spend over $900 million in FY24 on the emergency shelter program and another $950 million in FY25.
The bill also makes permanent certain pandemic era policies affecting restaurants, including allowing for cocktails to go and streamlined permitting for outdoor dining.  Initially established as temporary programs during the COVID era that required periodic renewal by the Legislature, authorization for both had expired on April 1.  Both will now become permanent fixtures in law, with the change being that only mixed cocktails will be allowed to be sold with to-go orders, but not beer or wine.
Governor Healey is expected to sign the bill into law.


Visa & Mastercard Interchange Fee Settlement
Claims Deadline - May 31, 2024

RAM members are advised to act now to see if they are entitled to a portion of the pending $5.54 billion Visa/Mastercard Interchange Settlement.  The settlement stems from a class action antitrust lawsuit alleging that the credit card companies overcharged interchange fees on merchants accepting credit card payments.
Merchants that accepted Visa or Mastercard payments at any time from January 1, 2004 to January 25, 2019 may be eligible to recover funds from this settlement.  To take part in the settlement, impacted merchants MUST FILE A CLAIM via the court-approved settlement portal at www.paymentcardsettlement.com.  The deadline for filing a claim is set for May 31st.
The process for checking eligibility and filing a claim on the portal is simple and straightforward.  Merchants that have received a Claim Form by mail from the Class Administrator may use the Claimant ID included in the document to start the claims process.  Merchants that have not received a Claim Form by mail, may look up their eligibility on the portal using their federal Taxpayer Identification Number.   
Please note that there are third party firms currently offering claims filing services to merchants.  Before engaging with a third party to file your claim, RAM strongly recommends first checking your claim on the portal as described above.  Services offered by these third parties are often costly, and also unnecessary due to the resources made available by the Class Administrator including no-cost assistance with submitting a claim.
Members with questions may contact RAM General Counsel, Ryan Kearney, at [email protected].


U.S. Department of Labor Increases Compensation Thresholds for Overtime Eligibility

New Rule ensures salaried workers making less than $58,656 receive overtime pay 

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a final rule that expands overtime protections for millions of the nation’s lower-paid salaried workers by increasing the salary thresholds required to exempt a salaried bona fide executive, administrative or professional employee from federal overtime pay requirements.  Effective July 1, 2024, the current annual salary threshold of $35,568 ($684 per week) will increase to $43,888 ($844 per week) and then increase again to $58,656 ($1,128 per week) on Jan. 1, 2025.  Starting July 1, 2027, salary thresholds will then update every three years, by applying up-to-date wage data to determine new salary levels.  The new rules also increase the salary threshold for qualifying for the Highly Compensated Employee exemption from $107,432 to $132,964 on July 1st, and then to $151,164 on January 1, 2025.  While legal challenges to these new rules are anticipated, RAM advises all members to review their compensation policies to ensure compliance due to the fast approaching July 1 effective date.


FTC Announces Rule Banning Noncompetes


The Federal Trade Commission issued a final rule banning noncompetes nationwide.  The policy is intended to promote competition, protect the fundamental freedom of workers to change jobs, increase innovation, and foster new business formation.  Under the FTC’s new rule, existing noncompetes for the vast majority of workers will no longer be enforceable after the rule’s effective date.  Existing noncompetes for senior executives (employees earning more than $151,164 and who are in policy-making positions ) - who represent less than 0.75% of workers - can remain in force under the FTC’s final rule, but employers are banned from entering into or attempting to enforce any new noncompetes, even if they involve senior executives. 

Employers will be required to provide notice to workers (other than senior executives) who are bound by an existing noncompete that they will not be enforcing any noncompetes against them.  To aid employers’ compliance with this requirement, the Commission has included model language in the final rule that employers can use to communicate to workers.  The final rule will become effective 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.


Media Request 

Boston Globe Reporter Suchita Nayar is looking to speak with business owners on two issues she is currently researching: 

  1. The Credit Card Competition Act of 2023, which aims to break the Visa-Mastercard duopoly and lower swipe fees, and
  2. The planned increase (July) in the price of a US postage stamp, and what this means for small businesses. 

Suchita can be reached directly at her office at 617-929-2105  or at [email protected].


Reminder for CHIA Employer Survey

RAM is proud to partner with the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) to sponsor the 2024 Massachusetts Employer Survey! The Massachusetts Employer Survey (MES) is currently in the field, asking Massachusetts employers to share their experiences and challenges in offering health insurance to their employees. These efforts go a long way in informing employers and policymakers on priority issues and matters of concern regarding heath care coverage in the Commonwealth. The survey is by invitation only.  If you have been invited to take the survey, please learn more and complete the survey here.


RAM Member Benefits Survey

What Could RAM Offer that Would
Help Your Business?

RAM offers a number of “members only” services designed to provide value to our members and is continually looking to expand the current offering. We are careful to make sure that each program is a negotiated benefit that would not be available without RAM membership.

In 2024, RAM would like to dedicate our efforts to providing you with the knowledge and resources you want or need for your business. What areas are you most interested in? Please complete our survey to help guide us as to other benefits that you would like RAM to consider.

Thank you.

Access Survey



The RAM Member Forum is designed to provide members the opportunity to reach the entire membership with an idea, question, opportunity, and more!  Do you have space to sublet? Are you looking for a new supplier? Are you trying to sell your business?  You can now seek answers to these questions and more from your industry peers.    
Members interested in posting to the RAM Member Forum are invited to email us at [email protected].  Submissions should be limited to issues related to business needs.  Members are asked to refrain from submitting posts relating to sales, promotions, or special events.      


Inventory Sale

Cape Crafter is a locally based Massachusetts manufacturer of home textiles and pet accessories with over 17 years of experience.  Their biggest customers, Bed Bath and Beyond and the Christmas Tree Shop, recently filed for bankruptcy leaving them with a number of open orders and a significant amount of inventory.  A description of the available inventory has been included below.  Cape Crafter is looking to connect with retailers interested in purchasing these products at closeout prices. 
RAM members interested in learning more should contact us at [email protected] and we will put you in touch with Cape Crafter.     

Available Inventory (click here to see images of products)

  • 17 000 pcs. drafts stoppers ( assorted patterns all filled with purified sand) 
  • 15 000 pcs bag caddies ( all one size , assorted patterns and designs)
  • 35 000 dog collars ( 3 sizes, nice assortment ) 
  • 20 000 dog leashes ( 2 sizes, nice assortment ) 
  • 20 000 dog bandanas ( 3 sizes , Christmas , Americana , Everyday )


Technology/ Network Solutions Provider

RAM member looking for someone who configures, maintains and remotely manages firewalls, wireless access points, WiFi and LAN networks,  VPN tunnels for remote employee access, user accounts, etc. Also equipment purchasing and renewals. The member business utilizes a Fortinet (hardware and software manufacturer/provider) environment. 

If you a company you wish to refer, please contact us at [email protected].