... Baker plans to take corrective budget actions if his MassHealth plan isn't passed by Sept. 14 ...... MTF: Baker vetoed nine outside sections, amended 25 out of 150 total budget sections ...... Seventeen of returned budget sections deal with employer assessments or unemployment insurance rates ...... Baker vetoed $320 mil in 169 line items, with $202 million in vetoes associated with MassHealth reforms ...... Legislative earmarks worth $42 million are carved out of budget by Baker vetoes ...... Baker: Legislature's budget underfunds accounts, overestimates revenues by about $100 million ...... Senate preparing property tax relief bill, but Rosenberg says "I don't know what's in there" ...... Property tax bill will help elderly, disabled, veterans, Rosenberg tells Herald Radio ...... Bill changing legal marijuana law likely to reach Gov. Baker's desk on Thursday ...... Goldberg says she has "no idea" about retail pot sales timeline, but leaders say July 2018 doable ...... Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill says goodbye to colleagues during Wednesday session ...... Small biz cybersecurity risks examined by House technology panel ...... Baker expresses urgency on MassHealth reforms, DeLeo says he's weighing course of action ...... Kafker confirmation means five of seven Supreme Judicial Court judges will be Baker appointees ...... ...... ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.

LATEST WEEKLY ROUNDUP - SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED

A budget, a pot bill and a shuffle of House leadership. Teary goodbyes, promotions and a two-letter abbreviation not suitable for senators' ears. Take a deep breath, it's finally Friday. Read More

ONWARD: "It's moving day," former Rep. Brian Dempsey chuckled on Thursday as he and his former staff lugged boxes out of the House Ways and Means office. Dempsey is bound for a top post at lobbying firm ML Strategies. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res

ADVANCES - WEEK OF JULY 23, 2017

After opposing a legal marijuana ballot question for much of 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker is now all that stands in the way of the industry's full-scale retail launch in Massachusetts in 2018. Read More


LAWMAKERS PLAN HEARING TUESDAY ON BAKER HEALTH CARE BILL

Lawmakers have scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday on Gov. Charlie Baker's health care reform proposal. Read More


NORTHAMPTON HOSPITAL WORKERS JOIN UNION

Service workers at Northampton's Cooley Dickinson Hospital will join the a health care workers union after a secret-ballot election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. Read More


FINAL TALLY SHOWS TAX REVENUES GREW 1.4 PERCENT IN FY 17

[Story Developing] State tax collections for the fiscal year that ended June 30 rose only 1.4 percent from fiscal 2016, but were up 3.1 percent in June compared to June 2016, the Department of Revenue reported on Friday. Read More


HEALEY

HEALEY: DPU SHOULD ORDER EVERSOURCE RATE REDUCTION

Attorney General Maura Healey on Friday plans to ask state regulators to not only reject Eversource's request to boost its electric rates by $96 million but to also order that the utility decrease the rates it charges customers. Read More


STATE FINISHES PREVIOUS FISCAL YEAR SHORT $431M IN TAXES

Massachusetts ended a tumultuous budget year in 2017 with a revenue gap of $431 million, squarely within the ballpark that Gov. Charlie Baker said would be reasonably manageable as his administration attempts to balance the books on last year's budget. Read More


THREE LAWMAKERS KENTUCKY-BOUND FOR LEADERSHIP SESSIONS

Two state representatives and one state senator have been selected for a leadership development fellowship organized by the Council on State Governments and described as an "intensive, six-day, five-night intellectual boot camp." Read More


BAKER

ISLAND FUNDRAISERS, RGA MEETINGS IN COLORADO ON BAKER'S AGENDA

Gov. Charlie Baker will travel to Colorado on Sunday for several days of meetings with his fellow Republican governors, but first plans a pair of summer fundraisers on Massachusetts' two picturesque islands off Cape Cod. Read More


Thursday, July 20, 2017

LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX? SENATE DEBATE SHOWS WORDS MATTER

State senators waded into a sensitive issue on Thursday - sex education. But even as lawmakers were debating how best to teach young people about sex, it became clear that even the adults can struggle with how to talk about it. Read More


LAWMAKERS FINALLY PUSH LEGAL MARIJUANA BILL TO BAKER'S DESK

The Legislature sent its rewrite of the voter-approved legal marijuana bill, with a higher tax rate and less power for voters, to the governor on Thursday, 255 days after about 1.8 million voters put the law on the books. Read More


JONES

DEMS SHOULD PAUSE ON VETO OVERRIDES, HOUSE GOP LEADER SAYS

The state Legislature has a track record of overturning most budget vetoes each year, regardless of who is governor, but House Minority Leader Brad Jones is urging his colleagues to take a wait-and-see approach, asserting veto overrides last July compounded state budget woes. Read More


ROSENBERG

LATER LAST CALL AT CASINOS WILL BRING PRESSURE FROM BARS, ROSENBERG SAYS

If casinos are allowed to serve booze until 4 a.m., pressure will build on lawmakers to allow bars to stay open that late, according to Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who helped draft the 2011 casino law and opposes the later last call in gambling halls. Read More


SÁNCHEZ

SÁNCHEZ PLEDGES "THOUGHTFUL" APPROACH ON MASSHEALTH

Three days after Gov. Charlie Baker issued a MassHealth policy challenge, the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday declined to outline a path forward on the issue, saying he needs to talk to committee staff first as he adjusts to his new role. Read More


BILL AIMED AT PROTECTING PREGNANT WORKERS REACHES GUV'S DESK

After passing slightly different versions of the legislation earlier this year, the House and Senate reached a compromise this week on a bill mandating protections for pregnant workers and sent the legislation to the governor's desk Thursday. Read More


HOUSE SPECIAL ELECTION IN HAVERHILL SET FOR NOV. 7

The House on Thursday set a special election date of Tuesday, Nov. 7 for the seat vacated Wednesday by Brian Dempsey, the former chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The primary will be held on Oct. 10. Read More


MASS. JOBLESS RATE TICKS UP TO 4.3 PERCENT

Influenced by a growing labor market, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts has climbed more than a full point since the start of the year, ticking up again in June to 4.3 percent. Read More


SENATE PANEL ADVANCING ENGLISH LEARNING BILL

[Coverage Developing] Senators could soon take up legislation overhauling how English language learners are taught in public schools. Read More

An aide to Senate President Stan Rosenberg said th

An aide to Senate President Stan Rosenberg said the Senate will meet in a formal session next week. [Photo: File/Sam Doran/SHNS]


SEX EDUCATION BILL SPARKS DEBATE OVER ROLE OF PARENTS

The state Senate, after a sometimes pitched debate Thursday, advanced a framework to be used by public schools that teach sexual education, that includes information about the effective use of contraceptives and analyses of societal and media messages. Read More


MENTAL HEALTH EFFORT THAT BEGAN IN HIGH SCHOOL PAYS DIVIDENDS

Three women from north central Massachusetts were on hand Thursday to watch as the Senate passed a bill they wrote to give high schools the option of adding mental health education to their health courses. The Senate's approval of the bill marked a milestone for the college-aged women, who began their quest to add a mental health component to health education while attending Leominster High School. Read More


BAKER CHECKS IN AFTER RALLY FOR DETAINED MIT JANITOR

Supporters and family members of Francisco Rodriguez, the MIT janitor and father of two detained by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, rallied at the State House on Thursday to urge Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to publicly call for the Chelsea resident's release. Read More

Members of detained MIT janitor Francisco Rodrigue

Members of detained MIT janitor Francisco Rodriguez's family and union rallied Thursday at the State House. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HOUSE PASSES SIMULCAST EXTENSION BILL

A bill extending simulcast betting laws, which is opposed by horse racing industry interests, received the endorsement of a committee Thursday followed immediately by approval of the full House. Read More

The simulcasting rights extension bill, passed Thu

The simulcasting rights extension bill, passed Thursday by the House, now heads to the Senate. [Photo: File/Sam Doran/SHNS]


PROTESTS TO GREET U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER RYAN IN LAWRENCE

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan will visit Lawrence on Thursday to tour a factory and discuss tax policy, and a labor union plans to greet him with a protest. Read More


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HODGSON

SNARLED BY TRAFFIC, BRISTOL SHERIFF FACING CONTEMPT HEARING

The most high-profile law enforcement official in southeastern Massachusetts will need to appear before a federal judge in September after showing up late to court on Wednesday. Judge William Young ordered Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson to appear for a civil contempt hearing because he showed up two hours late to testify in a criminal trial, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The sheriff did eventually testify. Read More


DEMPSEY RESIGNS, BIDS FAREWELL TO HOUSE

Brian Dempsey, who represented Haverhill on Beacon Hill for nearly 27 years and served most recently as Ways and Means chairman, officially resigned from the House on Wednesday. After Dempsey gave a roughly 30-minute farewell address on the House floor, the House clerk read Dempsey's resignation letter, which was filed Wednesday and took effect upon the clerk's receipt of it. Read More

Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill spoke on the House

Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill spoke on the House floor Wednesday afternoon ending nearly 27 years in the Legislature. [Photo: Courtesy/House Broadcast]


SMALL BIZ CYBERSECURITY RISKS EXPLORED BY HOUSE TECH PANEL

For a small business without a cybesecurity plan, a hack can have serious financial implications. But small businesses, which employ some 46 percent of Massachusetts workers, often don't have cybersecurity measures in place -- making them an attractive target for hackers. Read More


SENATE PREPPING PROPERTY TAX RELIEF LEGISLATION

The Massachusetts Senate is planning to roll out a bill related to property taxes in the coming days, but details of the bill remained sketchy even to the Senate president Wednesday morning. Read More


STUN GUN BAN OPPONENTS CITE "SJC SMACKDOWN" RULING

A little more than a year after the highest court in the land excoriated the Bay State's ban on stun guns, advocates asked lawmakers Wednesday to strip the weapons prohibition from the law books. Read More


LAWMAKERS ENCOUNTER THICKET IN BID TO PROTECT INTERNET USERS

Opponents and proponents of legislation intended to protect the privacy of internet user data made their cases Tuesday, offering viewpoints so far apart that one lawmaker said the claims didn't make sense when taken together. Read More


BAKER INFLUENCE ON HIGH COURT GROWS WITH KAFKER CONFIRMATION

In just 13 months, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has now put five judges on the state's highest court, taking advantage of the unusual opportunity to stock the Supreme Judicial Court with picks as former jurists hit or approached the mandatory retirement age of 70. Read More

Justice Scott Kafker prepared for his hearing last

Justice Scott Kafker prepared for his hearing last week before the Governor's Council. The council confirmed Kafker on Wednesday to the state's highest court. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAY STATE WIND TOUTS FIRST-IN-NATION ASSESSMENT PLAN APPROVAL

Officials behind one of the projects in the running to build an industrial scale offshore wind farm off Martha's Vineyard says they are the first in the nation to receive federal approval of their site assessment plan. Read More


WALSH HOPED FOR HIGHER LOCAL TAX ON POT SALES

Echoing what municipal officials have been saying since marijuana legalization was first certified for the ballot, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on Wednesday said the taxes on marijuana should be higher so cities and towns see more revenue from legal sales. Read More


SENATE TO DEBATE SEX ED, MENTAL HEALTH ED BILLS THURSDAY

Senators on Thursday will work on curriculum requirements for public schools that teach sexual education and they will take up a bill that permits high schools to incorporate a mental health promotion component in health education. Read More


LAWMAKERS POISED TO SIGN OFF ON MARIJUANA LAW CHANGES

After months of hearings and deliberations, Beacon Hill leaders believe they have the legal framework assembled to appropriately regulate a legal marijuana industry in Massachusetts. Read More


GUN BILL HEARING FOCUSES ON RISK ORDER, SUPPRESSOR PROPOSALS

Firearms legislation took center stage at a hearing Tuesday where advocates for new gun laws and their opponents clashed over a bill that would allow guns to be temporarily seized from people deemed at high risk of hurting themselves or others. Read More


COBURN: HEALTH COSTS 'GOING TO COME DOWN REGARDLESS'

Doctor and former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday advocated for a more market-based approach to health care, predicting that technological advances and a focus on the cost of care will increase competition. "The exciting thing is our health care costs are going to come down regardless of what Washington does," Coburn said during a Manhattan Institute forum at the W Hotel in downtown Boston. "Washington has actually been disruptive." Read More


EVERSOURCE RATE CASE PRESENTING FISCAL WOES FOR SOLAR PROJECTS

Eversource's application to the state for a significant revision of its electric rates has local leaders worried that solar projects in their communities designed to provide cleaner, cheaper energy may become unsustainable. Read More


COMPROMISE POT BILL WITH HIGHER TAX RATE NEARS BAKER'S DESK

Both branches of the state Legislature on Wednesday signed off on a compromise bill overhauling the marijuana legalization ballot law, moving the long-awaited deal a step closer to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk. Read More


DeLEO: SALES TAX HOLIDAY DEPENDS ON STATE'S FINANCES

House Speaker Robert DeLeo offered no assurances Wednesday to retailers worried that the state's soft revenue picture might be used as a reason not to hold a two-day sales tax holiday in August. Asked about the proposal on Wednesday, DeLeo gave no definitive answer and pointed to the state's current finances. Read More


STABBING LENDS URGENCY TO NURSES CALL FOR SAFETY PROTOCOLS

After a nurse was stabbed at Harrington Hospital last month, the Southbridge facility installed medical detectors and implemented other safety reforms. On Wednesday, nurse Elise Wilson's colleagues and husband visited the State House and asked lawmakers to require annual safety assessments at all medical facilities. Read More

Clifton Wilson's wife, a nurse, is recovering afte

Clifton Wilson's wife, a nurse, is recovering after she was stabbed last month at Harrington Hospital. Wilson and his wife's colleagues testified Wednesday in support of a bill to require safety assessments at medical facilities. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


DeLEO

DeLEO STILL WEIGHING COURSE OF ACTION ON MASSHEALTH

Gov. Charlie Baker’s request for action by mid-September on a package of Medicaid reforms is “very strongly on my radar screen,” according to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who has yet to formulate a plan for addressing the budget-busting health safety net program. Read More


DEMPSEY TO DELIVER FINAL REMARKS IN HOUSE

Rep. Brian Dempsey, the former chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, will give his farewell address to the House on Wednesday, according to Speaker Robert DeLeo. Read More


SANCHEZ, KOCOT TO LEAD REVIEW OF BAKER VETOES, HEALTH CARE PLANS

The House gave newly-minted Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sanchez his first major assignment Wednesday: sorting through Gov. Charlie Baker's vetoes and recommended amendments to the fiscal 2018 budget. Read More


SPRINGFIELD ATTORNEY NOMINATED FOR PROBATE CIRCUIT JUDGESHIP

Kathleen Sandman of Springfield, an attorney with 28 years of experience, was nominated Wednesday by Gov. Charlie Baker to serve as a Probate and Family Court judge. Read More


COBURN: HEALTH COSTS 'GOING TO COME DOWN REGARDLESS'

[Story Developing] Doctor and former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday advocated for a more market-based approach to health care, predicting that technological advances and a focus on the cost of care will increase competition. Read More

Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla., right) talke

Former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla., right) talked drug pricing and the health care market with the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby at a Manhattan Institute forum Wednesday at the W Hotel. [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS]


STRONG SUPPORT FOR SAFETY ASSESSMENTS AT MED FACILITIES

[Developing] After a nurse was stabbed at Harrington Hospital last month, the Southbridge facility installed medical detectors and implemented other safety reforms. Read More


PIGNATELLI READY TO TAKE REINS AT ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

The new House chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture hails from a district he says has plenty of all three. Read More


SEXUAL ABUSE BILL TARGETS SCHOOL EMPLOYEES

In 2004, Dudley police investigated what they believed to be a crime: a sexual relationship between a 30-year-old English teacher and a 16-year-old boy who was her student. It was not a crime, Dudley Police Chief Steven Wojnar told the Legislature's Education Committee on Tuesday. Read More


SIMULCAST EXTENSION MAY HOLD BACK RACING REVITALIZATION, LAWMAKERS TOLD

With the rights to simulcast and accept wagers on live horse racing set to expire at the end of July, legislation extending those rights for another year ran into opposition Tuesday from a group that said the extension would hold back horse racing in Massachusetts. Read More


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NINE REPS TARGETED IN LATEST MASSFICAL MAILING

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative non-profit that has targeted Democrats in past elections with educational materials sent to voters about lawmakers' voting records, has begun flooding mailboxes with fliers critical of the Legislature's vote earlier this year to raise the salaries of leadership on Beacon Hill. Read More


STATE OFFICIALS MUM ABOUT TAX-FREE SHOPPING HOLIDAY IN AUGUST

With August approaching, Massachusetts retailers and shoppers are still waiting to see if they'll be granted a two-day break from the state sales tax or if Beacon Hill will skip the popular holiday for the second straight year. Read More


VIDEO | BAKER BUSTED UP OVER PARTING OF HIS CHIEF OF STAFF

An emotional Gov. Charlie Baker bid a teary farewell to his chief of staff Steve Kadish on Monday as the life-long Democrat whose career has overlapped with Baker four different times announced he was stepping down. Read More


BAKER WARNS AGAINST REPEAL AND REPLACE LATER

[Story Developing] Following the collapse of the U.S. Senate Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan on Monday night, Gov. Charlie Baker joined a bipartisan group of governors in urging Senate leaders not to push forward with a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and worry about fixing the health care system later. Read More


DIEHL

DIEHL SET TO LAUNCH U.S. SENATE CAMPAIGN AUG. 1

State Rep. Geoff Diehl, who for months has been exploring a bid against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is ready to make it official. Read More


GOLDBERG

TREASURER HAS "NO IDEA" IF POT SHOPS CAN OPEN BY JULY 2018

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, set to play a key role in the rollout of a legal marijuana industry in Massachusetts, said Tuesday she has "no idea" whether legal pot shops will be open by next July, as envisioned by policymakers. Read More


EXTREME RISK ORDERS PITCHED AS WAY TO CURB GUN DEATHS

[Developing] Gun law proponents flocked to the State House on Tuesday in support of a Rep. David Linsky bill that would allow Massachusetts families, law enforcement officers and health care providers to obtain temporary court orders to prevent a person at risk of endangering themselves or others from possessing or buying a firearm. Read More


ROSENBERG

ROSENBERG: SENATORS EYEING THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE REFORMS

State senators may propose alternative ideas as they weigh reforms recommended by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to bring MassHealth costs under control, Senate President Stan Rosenberg said Tuesday. Read More


MARIJUANA BILL CALLS FOR KEY APPOINTMENTS TO BE MADE QUICKLY

Under a marijuana bill marked for votes on Wednesday, 25 members of a Cannabis Advisory Board, a panel that will study and make recommendations on regulating cannabis, will need to be appointed by Aug. 1, a tight deadline in the already-delayed marijuana industry rollout. Read More

The conference committee's bill is expected to eme

The conference committee's bill is expected to emerge in the House and Senate on Wednesday for up-or-down votes. [Photo: File/SHNS]


KENNEDY

KENNEDY FOR PREZ? JOE K SAYS IT'S "FURTHEST THING FROM MY MIND"

The Kennedy surname conjures up images of the White House and is synonymous with the American presidency for many people, especially in Massachusetts. Read More


BAKER HOPES CONGRESS CAN STAY FOCUSED ON OBAMACARE FIXES

The collapse of health care reform on Capitol Hill this week prompted President Donald Trump to declare Tuesday that Republicans should just let Obamacare fail, but Gov. Charlie Baker said that both parties should come together. Read More


DEMOTED REP NOT BUYING DeLEO'S EXPLANATION

Rep. Russell Holmes isn't buying Speaker Robert DeLeo's claims that his ouster Monday from a vice chairmanship was totally unrelated to Holmes's critical comments about the future leadership of the House. Read More

Rep. Russell Holmes lost his committee vice chairm

Rep. Russell Holmes lost his committee vice chairmanship and called the move "petty." House leaders say they strive to create a certain chemistry when putting together their teams. [Photo: File/Sam Doran/SHNS]


REPS URGE FOCUS ON BILL TEXT, NOT CONTROVERSY, IN CONTRACTING DEBATE

The largest meeting space in the State House was full Tuesday morning for a hearing on a bill that, supporters said, aims to prohibit discrimination in state contracts. Read More


SEXUAL ABUSE BILL TARGETS SCHOOL EMPLOYEES

[Story Developing] In 2004, Dudley police investigating the sexual relationship a 30-year-old English teacher carried on with her student, a 16-year-old boy, believed that inappropriate behavior was also a crime. Read More


BAKER / LEPORE

LEPORE STEPPING INTO NEW ROLE UNDER BAKER SHAKEUP

In a major shakeup of Gov. Charlie Baker's administration, chief of staff Steve Kadish plans to leave, clearing the way for budget chief Kristen Lepore to take over day-to-day operations of the governor's office. Revenue Commissioner Michael Heffernan, a former Citigroup executive who ran for treasurer in 2014, will assume the duties of administration and finance secretary, an administration source confirmed. Read More


IMPLOSION OF FED HEALTH CARE BILL "FANTASTIC," ROSENBERG SAYS

Massachusetts may have dodged a "big, big problem" if Congress can't agree, as it appears now, on legislation repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, according to Senate President Stanley Rosenberg. Read More


REPORT: DRUG DEVELOPMENT FOCUSED ON NEW APPROACHES

Seventy-four percent of medicines in clinical development around the world involve a completely new approach to fighting a disease, according to a report commissioned by the pharmaceutical industry and released on Tuesday. Read More


FED $$$ BEGIN TO FLOW INTO MASS. FOR GREEN LINE EXTENSION

The federal government last week made its first payment towards the Green Line Extension project, a transportation initiative that over the years has been the source of headaches associated with delays and cost overruns. Read More

The first installment of federal money toward the

The first installment of federal money toward the Green Line Extension project came through on Friday morning. [Photo: File/SHNS]


STATE POLICE PROBING CAR-TO-CAR SHOOTING ON QUINCY HIGHWAY

State Police are investigating an apparent shooting on Route 93 in Quincy early Tuesday morning in which a male operating a dark-colored Dodge Charger allegedly shot at a motorist driving another vehicle. Read More


BAKER

COMPARED TO COUNTERPARTS, BAKER IS WICKED POPULAR

With Gov. Charlie Baker at the top of the pack, a pair of Republicans leading blue states are the country's most popular governors, according to a new survey. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service