... Baker's "future of transportation" commission to hold listening session in Amherst on Tuesday ...... Gonzalez, Massie to debate Thursday at WGBH, the day before Democrats meet up for convention in Worcester ...... Boston students to visit State House next week to ask House to take up education funding bills ...... UMass Boston officials set to testify before UMass committee Wednesday at One Beacon Street ...... Next scheduled UMass Board of Trustees meeting is June 20 at UMass Dartmouth ...... Business, health care groups plan Wednesday presser to announce health care cost control initiative ...... Kerry to help former EPA chief McCarthy launch new climate change initiative ...... Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress to hold its annual advocacy day on Thursday ...
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House:
ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:

LATEST WEEKLY ROUNDUP - I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM

It was a week that saw a significant decision – and dessert – deferred. Read More

Advocates who pushed for the "red flag" extreme risk protection bill streamed into Speaker Robert DeLeo's office Wednesday night after the bill's passage to take photos with DeLeo and Reps. David Linsky and Marjorie Decker. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res

ADVANCES - WEEK OF MAY 27, 2018

Two of five major bills likely to pass this session moved out of conference committees this week but the biggest bill of them all, the annual state budget at more than $41 billion, is about to be placed before a six-member negotiating panel. Read More


SENATE ADDS $75.5 MILLION TO FY19 BUDGET OVER THREE DAYS

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed a $41.49 billion spending plan for fiscal 2019 in the early morning hours Friday. Read More


SENATE SESSION - 8:30 P.M.-1:08 A.M. - THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018

Senators added $75.5 million in spending to their fiscal 2019 budget over three days of debate this week, a process that wrapped up with the 12:38 a.m. Friday engrossment of a budget the Ways and Means Committee tallied at $41.49 billion. Read More


IN CAMBRIDGE, CLINTON DESCRIBES "ERA OF NEW MORAL CONVICTION"

Accepting an award on the campus of a school her father forbade her from attending, Hillary Clinton on Friday described the country as one "dangerously polarized" as she urged people to defend "facts and reason" and vote. Read More

Attorney General Maura Healey led a discussion wit

Attorney General Maura Healey led a discussion with Hillary Clinton on Friday at Harvard University where Clinton received the Radcliffe Institute's Radcliffe Medal. [Photo: Matt Murphy/SHNS] | Hi-Res


Thursday, May 24, 2018

SENATE SEEKS ADVANCE NOTICE OF COLLEGE ACQUISITIONS, MONEY PROBLEMS

Colleges and universities seeking to merge, close, acquire another institution or open a new branch would have to give advance notice to the Board of Higher Education under a measure the Senate approved Thursday night in response to the controversial acquisition of Mount Ida College by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read More


HOUSING SUPPORT FOR PUERTO RICO EVACUEES EXPIRING

State and federal support for evacuees from Puerto Rico still living in hotels following last year's devastating hurricanes is due to expire at the end of June, and the Baker administration warned that despite efforts to help families return to Puerto Rico or find stable housing in Massachusetts their options may be limited after June 30. Read More


PUSH TO INCREASE DAIRY TAX CREDIT FAILS IN SENATE

The Senate on Thursday narrowly rejected a bid to raise the cap on the state's dairy farm tax credit to $8 million dollars, defeating Sen. Anne Gobi's amendment on a 20-17 vote. Read More


CLEAN ENERGY BILLS ON THE MOVE IN HOUSE

Four new clean energy bills promoting energy storage, solar development and electric vehicle sales have cleared the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, suggesting a possible push in the final two months of session to expand the state's clean energy footprint. Read More


BAKER WOULD VETO SENATE IMMIGRATION MEASURE

Gov. Charlie Baker would veto a Senate budget provision limiting state law enforcement's role in enforcement of federal immigration laws, he said Thursday. The measure - a pared-down version of the so-called Safe Communities legislation - passed the Senate 25-13 and was added to the Senate's fiscal 2019 budget bill late Wednesday night. Read More


CANDIDATE PICKS UP ON MICELI'S GUN PROPOSAL

Tewksbury Republican Pina Prinzivalli had originally planned to challenge the late Rep. James Miceli, and is now pledging to pick up one of his legislative fights. Read More


NON-PROFIT TAKES TO AIRWAVES TOUTING BAKER ON CLEAN ENERGY

The governor's race in Massachusetts is moving to television, but it's not any of the four candidates moving their ground games into the airwaves. Read More


HOUSE SESSION – THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018

In a roughly 15-minute session, the House on Thursday received a communication from the Supreme Judicial Court reporting on the upcoming suspension of Judge Thomas Estes who had an undisclosed sexual relationship with Tammy Cagle, a clinician member of the team in the drug court session of Pittsfield District Court, according to the order introduced at session. Read More


NURSE STAFFING QUESTION OPPONENTS LAUNCH AD CAMPAIGN

In a sign of how serious they are about defeating a nurse staffing ballot question, the opposition campaign has begun airing TV ads more than five months before the election and while a legal challenge to the initiative petition is still pending before the courts. Read More


AFTER TENSE DEBATE, SENATE ADOPTS SAFE COMMUNITIES AMENDMENT

After lengthy and emotional debate late Wednesday evening, the Massachusetts Senate adopted a budget amendment to restrict cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities. Read More


SENATE SESSION - 11 A.M.-7 P.M. - THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018

Senators had just under 60 amendments left to work through out of the 1,200 filed to their fiscal 2019 budget when they took their dinner break Thursday evening. Amendments adopted so far Thursday deal with issues including suicide prevention among first responders, a feasibility study for high-speed rail between Springfield and Boston, fines for violations at nursing homes and a task force on essential health services. The Senate rejected an amendment to increase the cap on the dairy farm tax credit. Read More


SJC: CENSURED, SUSPENDED JUDGE ESTES SHOWED "COMPLETE DISRESPECT" FOR COURT

The Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday publicly censured a western Massachusetts judge and ordered his suspension after he admitted to having "an undisclosed sexual relationship" with a woman who worked on a team he oversaw. Read More

Thomas Estes was interviewed in 2014 at a Governor

Thomas Estes was interviewed in 2014 at a Governor's Council hearing. [Photo: File/SHNS] | Hi-Res


FAULTY FOUNDATION INSPECTIONS EYED IN NEW SENATE MEASURE

Homeowners within 20 miles of a Connecticut quarry would be able to seek reimbursement for having an engineer inspect their home's foundation for structural issues if a provision adopted Wednesday by the Senate prevails in the final fiscal 2019 state budget. Read More


FOR K-5, SENATE FAVORS STRICT 20-MINUTE DAILY RECESS

Bay State schools would need to provide 20 minutes of "free play" recess per day to students from kindergarten through fifth grade under an amendment the Senate tacked onto the state budget on Wednesday. Read More


SENATE SESSION - 1:30 P.M.-11:20 P.M. - WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2018

After two full days of budget consideration, the Senate has worked through 771 of the 1,196 amendments senators filed to the fiscal year 2019 budget plan, roughly 64.5 percent of the total number of proposals. Read More


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HOUSE VOTES TO LET COURTS TAKE GUNS FROM OWNERS DEEMED A THREAT

In the wake of yet another school shooting in the United States in Texas, the House on Wednesday night passed legislation that would allow a judge to take away someone's guns if they pose a threat to themselves or others. The "red flag" bill cleared the House 139-14, with two Democrats - Rep. Colleen Garry of Dracut and Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik of Gardner - joining 11 of 34 Republicans and one independent, Rep. Susannah Whipps, voting against the measure. Read More

Members of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in Ame

Members of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America crowded into Speaker Robert DeLeo's office to take photos with the speaker and Reps. David Linsky and Marjorie Decker after the House passed the "red flag" extreme risk protection bill Wednesday night. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


VETERANS BENEFIT BILL CLEARS HOUSE BEFORE MEMORIAL DAY

With the long Memorial Day weekend approaching, the House unanimously passed a multi-faceted veterans' benefits bill on Wednesday evening that Rep. John Lawn said would keep Massachusetts at the forefront among state of caring for its veterans. Read More


SENATE OKAYS BIZ TAX CREDIT TO EASE STING OF DOUBLE ASSESSMENTS

The Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to create a tax credit intended to ease the fiscal sting for businesses that have to pay both state and federal employee health care assessments. Read More


MASS. TURNS TO VINEYARD WIND TO FULFILL OFFSHORE WIND PLEDGE

Vineyard Wind, a project backed by a Danish fund management company, was chosen Wednesday by Massachusetts electric companies to build an 800-megawatt offshore wind farm off the southern coast of Martha's Vineyard, potentially fulfilling the state's long-dreamed goal of adding offshore wind power to its energy mix. Read More


LEGAL GROUPS SOUND WARNING ON REMOVING JUDGES

The heads of the state's public defender agency and the Massachusetts Bar Association are pushing back against calls for Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley to be removed from the bench. Read More


REP: NEW JERSEY TRAGEDY UNDERSCORES NEED FOR SEATBELT BILL

After a fatal crash in New Jersey, a House Democrat is trying to dislodge a bill to require school buses be equipped with seatbelts from the House Ways and Means Committee. Read More


CAR RENTAL FEE ADVANCES TO FUND POLICE TRAINING

Both branches of the state Legislature now back a new $2 fee on car rentals to pay for municipal police training. Read More


HOUSE, SENATE ADVANCE $1.8 BILLION HOUSING BOND

[Story Developing] The House and Senate early Wednesday night were advancing a $1.8 billion, five-year borrowing bill that supports affordable housing efforts around Massachusetts and pays for the investments over the next three decades. Read More


LAWMAKERS BACK RESOLUTION ASKING BAKER TO REMOVE JUDGE

A group of House lawmakers is seeking to topple a Superior Court judge whose decisions have recently come under fire. Rep. James Lyons, an Andover Republican, filed a resolution on May 17 requesting that Gov. Charlie Baker remove Judge Timothy Feeley from the Essex County Superior Court bench. Read More


VINEYARD WIND SELECTED TO MOVE MASS. FORWARD ON OFFSHORE ENERGY

Vineyard Wind, a project backed by a Danish fund management company, has been chosen by the Baker administration and state utilities to build an 800 megawatt offshore wind farm off the southern coast of Martha's Vineyard, officials announced Tuesday. Read More


SENATE PLAN TARGETS NEW DANGER TO FIREFIGHTERS: THEIR OWN GEAR

Sounding the alarm on cancer risks faced by firefighters, the Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday voted to set aside $420,000 to help municipalities buy equipment to remove deadly carcinogens from firefighters' gear. Read More


INCIDENTS SPUR SENATOR TO CALL FOR STATE HOUSE DOCTOR

After watching an injured House court officer lay on the ground for more than 20 minutes Wednesday waiting for medical attention, a senator is calling for the return of a dedicated State House medical doctor. Read More


UNION SEES 200 NEW JOBS, PROTECTIONS IN EVERSOURCE CONTRACT

About 1,800 Eversource workers are covered under a new three-year contract agreement reached between the utility and the Utility Workers Union of America Local 369. Read More


HOUSE SESSION - WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2018

The House met into the evening on Wednesday as members weighed dozens of proposed amendments to a gun violention prevention bill (H 4517) that would allow a family or household member to petition the courts to issue an extreme risk protection order, or ERPO, suspending someone's license to carry a firearm and ordering them to surrender their firearms and ammunition if they are believed to be a danger to themselves or others. Several Republicans argued forcefully that the bill missed an opportunity to focus on mental health as a cause of gun violence and suicide, and pitched several changes that were rejected that would have increased the standard of proof that a judge must weigh before intervening with someone's Second Amendment rights. The "red flag" gun bill passed 139-14. The House also unanimously passed a package of benefits for veterans timed to the Memorial Day holiday, and enacted a $1.8 billion housing bond bill that emerged from a conference committee earlier in the day. The branch will meet one more time Thursday in an informal session before the long weekend. Read More


HOUSE, SENATE FINALIZE $1.8 BILLION HOUSING BOND BILL

More than a year after it was first filed, lawmakers on Wednesday rushed to the governor a bill financing affordable housing development and improvements at public housing facilities. The five-year, $1.8 billion housing bond bill (H 4536) cleared the House and Senate on Wednesday night, hours after negotiators settled on a final plan. Read More

Sen. Joseph Boncore and Rep. Kevin Honan led House

Sen. Joseph Boncore and Rep. Kevin Honan led House-Senate negotiations over a compromise housing bond bill. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


OFFICIALS REPORT NORTH SHORE OPIOID TRAFFICKING "TAKEDOWN"

Law enforcement officials say they've dismantled a North Shore heroin and fentanyl trafficking operation. Read More


BAKER REAPPOINTS SENIOR JUDGE HERNANDEZ TO IAB

Gov. Charlie Baker has reappointed Industrial Accidents Board Senior Judge Omar Hernandez to the board that adjudicates workers compensation disputes. Baker on Wednesday submitted the nomination to the Governor's Council. Read More


DeLEO SWEEPS SPORTS BETTING OFF 2018 LEGISLATIVE TABLE

House Speaker Robert DeLeo all but dashed the dreams of sports betting enthusiasts hoping that Massachusetts lawmakers might move quickly to capitalize on the newly legal industry, indicating Wednesday that he intended to take his time making a decision on whether to embrace sports gambling. Read More


SENATE SESSION - 11 A.M.-1:30 P.M. - WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2018

By midday Wednesday the Senate had completed most of its work on education matters in the fiscal 2019 budget. Amendments adopted Wednesday seek to provide more support for institutions located at UMass Boston, investigate the legacy of debt at UMB's harbor campus, and increase funding for METCO. Read More


SUFFOLK DOWNS IN BID TO REVIVE THOROUGHBRED RACING IN BERKSHIRES

There's a new effort afoot to reestablish thoroughbred racing in the southern Berkshires, and the people behind the movement are coming to Beacon Hill with a legislative request to accommodate the new arrangement. Read More

Live racing was popular at the Great Barrington Fa

Live racing was popular at the Great Barrington Fairgrounds in the last century. [Photo: courtesy Fair Grounds Community Redevelopment Project]


CONDO SALES, PRICES OUTPACING HOME SALES IN MASSACHUSETTS

While conditions are challenging for many in the housing market, home and condo sellers in Massachusetts keep finding buyers willing to pay higher prices. Single family home sales in Massachusetts were up 1.2 percent in April, compared to April 2017 and condo sales shot up 15.1 percent over the year, according to numbers released Wednesday morning by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. Read More


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SENATE ADOPTS LIMITS ON CHARTER SCHOOL EXPANSION

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education would be prohibited from approving new charter schools or charter expansions unless the Legislature fully funds charter school reimbursements for local districts under a provision the Senate added to the annual budget on Tuesday. Read More


THREE GALVIN AIDES LIKELY DID CAMPAIGN WORK ON STATE TIME, PROBE CONCLUDES

Secretary of State William Galvin has ordered all of his staff to begin using an electronic time sheet system to track their work hours after an internal investigation found that three of 19 employees known to have performed campaign work for Galvin likely did so during work hours. Read More

Secretary of State William Galvin accepted his dep

Secretary of State William Galvin accepted his deputy's recommendation of a formal reprimand and docked pay for the three employees who performed campaign work while claiming to work a full day. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE SESSION - 2:10 P.M.-6 P.M. - TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

The Senate adopted budget amendments establishing a new $2 fee on car rentals to fund municipal police training and allowing the use of campaign funds for child care expenses during its afternoon session Tuesday, which was largely devoted to local earmarks. Read More


FEES WOULD RISE TO BOOST CPA FUNDS UNDER SENATE PLAN

Municipalities that participate in the Community Preservation Act would see an increase in state matching funds and real estate transaction fees would also rise under a Senate budget amendment adopted unanimously Tuesday morning. Read More


BACKGROUND CHECKS UNDERWAY, CCC MAY START AWARDING LICENSES NEXT WEEK

With just more than a week until it can begin issuing business licenses, the Cannabis Control Commission is in the midst of conducting its first background checks for prospective legal marijuana businesses. Read More


TARR

TARR: TEAMWORK NEEDED TO TAME BUDGET COST DRIVERS

Sen. Bruce Tarr used a top-of-mind sports metaphor Tuesday to make his point that lawmakers need to take a team approach to tame some of the biggest cost drivers in the state budget. Read More


SIXTEEN ARRESTED AFTER PROTESTING RACISM, ECONOMIC INEQUALITY

Sixteen demonstrators were arrested on trespassing charges at the State House on Monday evening, after refusing to leave the building and telling State Police they wished to be arrested. Read More

A State Police van pulled out of the State House a

A State Police van pulled out of the State House archway Monday evening after 16 activists were arrested at the capitol on trespassing charges. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE SESSION - 7 P.M.-8:30 P.M. - TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

After returning from dinner during its first day of budget deliberations, the Senate rejected around 50 amendments and adopted a bundle of others. On a voice vote the Senate adopted a Sen. Jehlen amendment adding new considerations for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education when it is determining whether to approve a charter school. The Senate broke for the night at 8:33 p.m. with plans to return to session at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Read More


MASS FISCAL UNLEASHING NEW ROUND OF MAILERS TARGETING DEMS

With the next state election several months away, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance is targeting 25 Democrats with mailers chiding them for votes on their own pay raises and other issues. Read More


SENATE REJECTS CALL FOR STATE-FED COOPERATION ON ELECTION SECURITY

Senate Democrats on Tuesday knocked down a proposal to have the secretary of state work with federal agencies to develop new policies to ensure the cybersecurity of elections in Massachusetts. Read More


DECKER

GUN ACCESS BILL SPONSOR SAYS GOAL SPREADING "HYSTERIA"

The state's leading gun rights organization is up in arms over the newest version of a "red flag" gun bill slated for a vote in the House Wednesday, but the legislation's original author Rep. Marjorie Decker accused the local NRA group of trying to spread "hysteria" without understanding the facts. Read More


SENATE DEMOCRATS REJECT SALES TAX HOLIDAY, SALES TAX CUT

The Senate on Tuesday rejected two tax reform proposals that voters may have a chance to settle later this year. Senators turned down a proposal to grant Bay State shoppers a weekend free from the sales tax this August, an idea that Beacon Hill lawmakers have embraced in the past, and also rejected a budget amendment to reduce the sales tax to 5 percent from 6.25 percent. The tax was raised from 5 percent in 2009. Read More


SENATE HOLDS LINE ON LIMITED EXPANSION OF EITC

A proposed major expansion of the state earned income tax credit in Massachusetts was set aside Tuesday morning before debate or a vote. Read More


NEW NUMBERS SHED MORE LIGHT ON PREVALENCE OF OPIOID OVERDOSE DEATHS

At least 201 Massachusetts residents died of opioid overdoses in the first three months of 2018, according to new Department of Public Health data, which shows the death toll for the quarter could rise to more than 500. Read More


SENATE VOTES TO DIVORCE STATE FROM FED'S K-12 TAX REFORM PROVISION

Parents setting aside tuition money for secondary and parochial schools through a federal plan would not be able to take advantage of state tax incentives under a budget amendment that cleared the Senate on Tuesday. Read More


HOUSE REFORM WIDENS TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR PRE-TRIAL DETAINEES

A House-approved measure aimed at ensuring pretrial detainees have access to substance abuse treatment is now poised to come before the Senate. Read More


LICENSING PITCHED AS WAY TO ADDRESS POLICE MISCONDUCT

If Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes were to fire an officer for misconduct, a reference-check phone call would likely keep that person from getting a job at another department. But, Kyes said Monday at State House panel, if the same officer resigned in lieu of being terminated, they might be able to apply and be hired at another law enforcement agency. Read More


SENATE SESSION - 10:00 A.M.-12:40 P.M. - TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2018

The Senate on Tuesday morning began deliberations on its fiscal 2019 budget bill. Senators acted on amendments dealing with a sales tax holiday, the sales and income tax rates, commuter tax benefits, 529 school savings plans, and Community Preservation Act matching funds, before recessing for lunch. The branch plans to resume session Tuesday afternoon. Read More


SENATE AMENDMENTS WOULD GROW BUDGET BY $1.7 BILLION

While there's not a groundswell around adding new revenues, state senators have collectively proposed adding $1.7 billion to the budget this week, according to an independent analysis. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service