... Contrary to public opinion, the MBTA cares, its new general manager says ...... New Gaston Institute director at UMass-Boston planning strategic thinking meetings ...... Baker urges Republican governors to resist latest GOP push on Affordable Care Act ...... Sen. O'Connor-Ives calls public hearing on MBTA bus maintenance privatization ...... Economics professors urge Legislature to boost minimum wage to $15 an hour ...... Fresh data from feds updates pay equity gap between men and women in Massachusetts ...... Public Health Committee plans Sept. 26 hearing on "aid in dying" bills ...... Senate plans to resume formal sessions in late September, perhaps Sept. 28 ...... House advances title insurance bill (H 567) ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)

LATEST BAKER TO VISIT WOLF AT CAPE AIR ON THURSDAY

Former senator and Cape Air founder and CEO Dan Wolf will host Gov. Charlie Baker in Hyannis on Thursday as the governor heads to the Cape to meet with Wolf, President Linda Markham and employees of the regional airline. Read More

KARAM, TOLMAN NAMED UMASS TRUSTEES BY BAKER

Gov. Charlie Baker named AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman and Karam Financial Group principal Steve Karam to the UMass Board of Trustees on Wednesday, replacing two of the board's 22-members whose terms had expired. Read More


DEM-CONTROLLED PANEL EMBRACES TAX CREDITS TO BOOST MASS. HOUSING

A $1.7 billion bond bill that unanimously cleared a legislative committee Wednesday afternoon expands eligibility for one tax credit program dealing with brownfields redevelopment and adds $5 million to another focusing on preserving public housing. Read More


SESSIONS

SESSIONS TO ADDRESS LAW ENFORCEMENT IN BOSTON VISIT

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will visit Boston on Thursday to speak to federal law enforcement officers about transnational criminal organizations. Read More


REP: EMERGENCY TRAINING BILL FOR AIRPORT WORKERS A "NO-BRAINER"

After a gunman killed five people at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January, the union representing airport workers said the lack of emergency training for baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants and others contributed to the chaos. Read More

"If we don't force them to do it, it will not get

"If we don't force them to do it, it will not get done," Sen. Joseph Boncore said of a proposal to mandate emergency preparedness training for airport workers. Boncore and Rep. Adrian Madaro (left) held a briefing Wednesday with members of 32BJ. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


WALSH TALKS PARKS, HOME-SHARE, AMAZON AT BIZ BREAKFAST

Boston will build parks to buffer rising seas, memorialize the most powerful civil rights leader in generations and host an international climate summit, Mayor Marty Walsh told the city's business community Wednesday. The city will partner with The Trustees of Reservations to build parkland all around Fort Point Channel that can absorb storm surges, the mayor announced, saying that could include filling in parts of the waterway. Read More

Fort Point Channel, as seen from InterContinental

Fort Point Channel, as seen from InterContinental Boston, will be ringed with parkland that can absorb storm surges, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Wednesday. [Photo: Andy Metzger/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER CRAFTING SECOND BILL TO ADDRESS OPIOID CRISIS

About two years after working with the Legislature to pass an opioid bill that has become a model for other states, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration is preparing to file new legislation this fall to deal with the opioid epidemic. Read More


BAKER ON FENCE AS $15 MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE HEATS UP

Activists are threatening to go directly to the voters absent legislative action to raise the state's minimum wage and employers argue that the increase would spell their demise. Gov. Charlie Baker is not ready to take a position just yet. Read More


WARREN WORRIED ABOUT VOTE SHIFT AS US SENATE TEES UP HEALTH BILL

With a redrafted Obamacare repeal bill on its way to the Senate floor in Washington, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday called the Graham-Cassidy bill a "staggeringly irresponsible" measure with the potential to disrupt the health care system and the nation's economy. Read More

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren led a roundtable discus

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren led a roundtable discussion Wednesday with clinicians and administrators of the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center on potential impacts to the clinic from the Graham-Cassidy health care bill. [Photo: Matt Murphy/SHNS]


CANNABIS COMMISSION POSTPONES MEETING

A Cannabis Control Commission meeting called for Thursday has been pushed off until next week, so the agency in charge of standing up a legal marijuana industry under a tight deadline will go two weeks between public sessions. Read More


BAKER NOMINATES SOUTH SHORE ATTORNEYS FOR SUPERIOR COURT

Two South Shore attorneys with experience in civil litigation were nominated Wednesday by Gov. Charlie Baker for Superior Court judgeships. Read More


MORRONGIELLO

FOCUSING ON DeLEO, FRANKLIN ACTIVIST HOPES TO STIR DEMS, REFORMERS

A grassroots campaign organizing in communities southwest of Boston hopes to draw attention to what its founder calls a "third-rail" issue: the level of influence House Speaker Robert DeLeo holds over his chamber. Read More


HEROUX / DUMAS

HEROUX, DUMAS SEPARATED BY 251 VOTES IN ATTLEBORO MAYORAL PRELIM

Rep. Paul Heroux topped the ticket in Attleboro's preliminary mayoral election Tuesday, setting up a November showdown with incumbent Mayor Kevin Dumas. Read More


CLIMATE SUMMIT, MLK MEMORIAL ON WALSH'S AGENDA

[Story Developing] Boston will build parks to buffer rising seas, memorialize the most powerful civil rights leader in generations and host an international climate summit, Mayor Marty Walsh told the city's business community Wednesday. Read More


CANNABIS COMMISSION TO MEET THURSDAY

Chief marijuana regulator Steve Hoffman will update the Cannabis Control Commission on what he's been up to in his dual role of commission chairman and interim/acting executive director on Thursday. Read More


VOTERS NARROW FIELD IN BRISTOL AND NORFOLK SENATE SPECIAL

Party officials are rallying around Democrat Paul Feeney of Foxborough and Republican Jacob Ventura of Attleboro as they look ahead to the Oct. 17 special election to fill the Senate seat vacated earlier this year by James Timilty of Walpole. Feeney beat Edward Philips of Sharon in Tuesday's Democratic primary and Ventura defeated three opponents in the Republican primary. Read More


Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017

CROSBY: EMPOWER GAMING PANEL TO ADDRESS HORSE RACING

The chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission pressed lawmakers Tuesday to give the commission the ability to restructure oversight of the horse racing industry in hopes of a sparking a revitalization. Read More


TENSION BETWEEN LOTTERY AND RETAILERS OVER IDEA OF MIGRATING TO THE INTERNET

The Lottery says it could stop being successful unless the bill becomes law, while retailers say their future success hinges on the bill not becoming law. Now the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection will weigh the benefits and drawbacks of an online lottery. Read More

Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Michael S

Massachusetts Lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney (right) and former commissioner of the Michigan Lottery Scott Bowen testified in support of a proposal to allow the Lottery to sell its products over the internet. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER: CODFATHER WINDFALL SHOULD FUND ELECTRONIC MONITORING

The conviction of New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos "The Codfather" Rafael was a black stain on the iconic Massachusetts seafaring industry. But Gov. Charlie Baker is urging restitution that some believe could help turn rotten fish into sushi. Read More


HEALEY WILL LEAD PUSH TO ELECT MORE WOMEN AG'S

Attorney General Maura Healey is taking on a new cause that will require her to expand her scope nationally. Read More


HEALEY

INVESTIGATION OF OPIOID MARKETING, DISTRIBUTION EXPANDED

Naming five manufacturers and three distributors, Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday that prosecutors in the states are expanding their investigation into opioid sales and marketing to determine whether profits were put above the importance of describing the potential dangers and risks associated with prescription painkillers. Read More


TAX CREDIT EXTENSIONS INCLUDED IN $1.7 BIL HOUSING BOND

A $1.7 billion long-term spending bill for housing in Massachusetts is expected to be released on Wednesday by the Housing Committee, and will likely include extensions of a number of tax credit programs for low-income housing and brownfield redevelopment. Read More


MEMA ACTIVATING EMERGENCY OPS CENTER

With Hurricane Jose chugging north through the Atlantic towards New England, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will activate its emergency operations center Tuesday night. Read More


BILL WOULD ERASE FOSSIL FUELS FROM STATE'S ENERGY MIX

Nearly two-thirds of electricity in Massachusetts comes from natural gas, a dynamic that environmental groups and clean energy advocates said Tuesday must change soon. Read More

Rep. Sean Garballey, who sponsored a bill to move

Rep. Sean Garballey, who sponsored a bill to move the state to 100 percent renewable-source electricity by 2035, talked to activists at a rally before Tuesday's hearing. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


MINIMUM WAGE BATTLE UNDERWAY, WITH BALLOT FIGHT POSSIBLE

A debate over adequate worker compensation that was waged before a legislative committee Tuesday and could be headed to the ballot next November has pitted two struggling groups against one another. Read More

Sen. Cindy Friedman (left) has taken up the minimu

Sen. Cindy Friedman (left) has taken up the minimum wage cause championed by her predecessor, the late Sen. Ken Donnelly. Rep. Dan Donahue (right) co-sponsors the bill to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2021. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


VIDEO | MARKEY: SENATE DEMS UNSURE IF THEY CAN BLOCK GOP ON HEALTH CARE

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey came out last week in support of a single payer health care bill sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders. But on Monday in Boston, Markey wasn't really interested in talking about that plan. Read More

 The U.S. Senate Democrats' Twitter account Monday

The U.S. Senate Democrats' Twitter account Monday featured a clip of Gov. Baker's Congressional testimony in a short video. [Twitter] | Hi-Res


MINIMUM WAGE HIKE "IRRESPONSIBLE," SMALL BIZ GROUP SAYS

[Story Developing] Low-wage workers are fired up about the potential for a big increase in the minimum wage, but small business owners see legislatively mandated pay hikes as "irresponsible and prohibitive" and adding to the burden of high health care and energy costs. Read More


Monday, Sept. 18, 2017

THREE LOCAL PROJECTS GETTING ATTENTION FROM HOUSE

Despite the House having no formal sessions planned for this week, the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday afternoon opened a poll on three local bills dealing with affordable housing in Boston and the reconstruction of the Narragansett Avenue bridge in Lanesborough. Read More


BAKER

BAKER URGING GOP GUVS TO RESIST RENEWED OBAMACARE REPEAL BID

Gov. Charlie Baker reaffirmed his opposition Monday to the GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare in the U.S. Senate, using his time in Chicago at a two-day policy summit to try to rally Republican governors to help defeat a bill whose author, Sen. Lindesey Graham, has held out Massachusetts as an example of the Affordable Care Act's fundamental flaws. Read More


JEWISH LEADERS OUTLINE CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PRIORITIES

Nearly 50 Jewish faith leaders are calling on top Beacon Hill officials to end mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes, restrict the use of solitary confinement and reduce the use of cash bail in Massachusetts. Read More


TRAIN FREQUENCY PITCHED AS WAY TO BOOST FAIRMOUNT LINE USE

The Fairmount Line is unique in the MBTA's commuter rail system, running almost entirely within Boston and serving a ridership that is primarily black and Latino. Dorchester Rep. Evandro Carvalho wants the MBTA to experiment with changing service on the line into something more resembling rapid transit, running trains more frequently and allowing passengers to pay with Charlie Cards. And he wants a new law to do it. Read More

Rep. Evandro Carvalho's proposed Fairmount Line pi

Rep. Evandro Carvalho's proposed Fairmount Line pilot program would run more frequent trains, synchronize with bus schedules, and allow passengers to pay fare with Charlie Cards. [Photo: Sam Doran/File/SHNS] | Hi-Res


NEW MBTA CHIEF: CONTRARY TO PUBLIC OPINION "WE CARE"

In his first weeks in Boston, new MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez spent his time riding the transit system he now oversees and meeting the people who rely on that system to get around the region. He came away with a better understanding of how riders view the T. "There is a notion out there among most of the ridership that we don't care," Ramirez told the T's Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday. Read More

MBTA GM Luis Ramírez said he wants "to tell more o

MBTA GM Luis Ramírez said he wants "to tell more of the stories the team here is already working on." [Photo: Sam Doran/File/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HOUSE SESSION – MONDAY, SEPT. 18, 2017

Local matters in Tisbury, Revere, Brockton, Williamsburg and Lenox were on the House's agenda as it kicked off the week with a roughly 12-minute session. The House advanced legislation dealing with libraries in Boston and Athol and passed bills authorizing new liquor licenses, a frequent occurrence in the branches - license bills on the move Monday affect Wrentham and Dracut. An approved resolution congratulated a South Shore radio station and Monday's prayer honored colonist Anne Hutchinson. The House meets next on Thursday at 11 a.m. Read More


MASS. GAS PRICES FALL 5 CENTS A GALLON

Gas prices in Massachusetts fell 5 cents over the past week following steep increases tied to refinery impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Read More


TRAHAN

FOURTH DEM RAISING $$$ IN BID TO SUCCEED TSONGAS

Lori Trahan, a Westford resident who served as chief of staff to former Congressman Rep. Marty Meehan, has launched a fundraising effort to succeed Rep. Niki Tsongas in Congress. Read More


MARIJUANA "SNAPSHOT" REPORT TARGETED FOR JULY 2018 RELEASE

The results of a one-year study addressing marijuana use, related risk behaviors, and the state of science capable of measuring marijuana impairment are set to be released in July 2018, around the same time that retail pot shops could be opening their doors to customers. Read More


PERSONNEL FILE - MONDAY, SEPT. 18, 2017

Like its new chair, the House Ways and Means Committee’s chief of staff is also experienced in health care matters. Read More


STATE HOUSE STOP PLANNED FOR MBTA PRIVATIZATION DEBATE

The skirmish over outsourcing the work of some MBTA bus maintenance garages will get a full airing on Beacon Hill next month when a Senate committee plans to call management and union officials together to discuss the merits of privatization. The Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee, helmed by Newburyport Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives, plans to hold a hearing on Oct. 4 at the State House to hear from management, the union and lawmakers whose districts are home to garages that could be privatized. Read More

Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco, for who

Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Pacheco, for whom the law imposing constraints on privatization is colloquially named, joined union machinists Monday morning in protesting attempts to privatize three MBTA bus maintenance garages. [Photo: Colin Young/SHNS] | Hi-Res


AHEAD OF WINTER, MBTA ADVANCING BACKUP FOR ITS BACKUP POWER

With summer squarely in the rearview mirror, the MBTA is turning its attention to winter and its ability to reliably operate services when the snow flies. Read More


DRAFT SUGGESTS OPENING FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING IN MONUMENT AREA

The U.S. Interior secretary is giving voice to the return of commercial fishing to a year-old marine national monument about 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, a move that addresses concerns raised by the industry but was blasted Monday by environmental groups. Read More


NETWORK EXEMPTION SOUGHT TO HELP MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS

Financial Services Committee Co-chair Sen. Jamie Eldridge expressed interest in issues of mental health access Monday as advocates pushed for changes that would prevent patients from losing their doctors due to financial decisions out of their control. Read More


ECONOMICS PROFESSORS ENDORSE PUSH FOR $15 MINIMUM WAGE

As activists ramp up their push to raise the minimum wage again, economists from many of the state's public and private universities are rallying to the cause, supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage as a way to lift families working at the threshold of poverty. Read More


MARKEY URGES MORE SANCTIONS, PERSUASION IN DEALING WITH NORTH KOREA

Saying U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Niki Haley left the impression over the weekend that the U.S. is out of sanctions options, Sen. Edward Markey said Monday that further sanctions against North Korea are needed, including cutting off the flow of oil exports to that country. Read More

Kim Jong-un "is homicidal but he is not suicidal,"

Kim Jong-un "is homicidal but he is not suicidal," U.S. Sen. Edward Markey said Monday. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


ZINKE RECOMMENDS COMMERCIAL FISHING IN MONUMENT ZONE

[Story Developing] The U.S. Interior secretary is calling for the return of commercial fishing to a year-old marine national monument about 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod. Read More


SENATE SESSION – MONDAY, SEPT. 18, 2017

The Senate met for about 20 minutes Monday, sending to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk three bills, one of which would grant Wrentham nine on-premises liquor licenses. The other two would affect public safety staffing in Brockton and Williamsburg. The Senate referred to the Revenue Committee a Rep. Dylan Fernandes petition for the establishment of first-time homebuyer savings accounts. With plans to meet again Thursday in an informal session, senators stood for a moment of silence to remember Daron Jean Baptiste of Holbrook, who was 13 when he died and had advocated for Peace Day in Massachusetts. Read More


BOSTON BEGINS DEEPENING HARBOR TO FACILITATE MORE COMMERCE

The dredging of Boston Harbor to accommodate larger container ships has officially kicked off and the initial phase features construction of an offshore cell near the Tobin Bridge in Charlestown to deposit tons of sediment. The $350 million project will span the Outer Harbor Channel, the Main Shipping Channel and the Reserve Channel where Conley Container Terminal is located. Read More

A ship docked at Conley Terminal in June. [Photo:

A ship docked at Conley Terminal in June. [Photo: Andy Metzger/SHNS] | Hi-Res


MBTA MECHANICS LAUNCH CAMPAIGN AGAINST POTENTIAL VENDORS

Their jobs threatened by a privatization push, MBTA mechanics on Monday will launch an ad-fueled campaign targeting companies that could be in line to take over the transit authority's bus maintenance functions. Read More


Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017

DeLEO ASSURES BIZ HOUSE WILL CHECK BILLS WITH "GOOD INTENTIONS"

You've got a friend in me. Randy Newman made the saying famous in "Toy Story," and House Speaker Robert DeLeo was feeding off that vibe on Friday morning in Waltham. Read More

Speaker Robert DeLeo talked to business leaders Fr

Speaker Robert DeLeo talked to business leaders Friday morning at the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Executive Forum. [Photo: Courtesy/AIM] | Hi-Res


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service