... Revenue tailspin not strong enough to require corrected budget submission, Baker team says ...... Increase over first two weeks of June leaves tax revenues up 1.4 percent with two weeks left in fiscal year ...... Senate sends "amend and improve" bill to pot talks with the House ...... On pot, it's House's repeal-and-replace bill versus Senate's amend-and-improve proposal ...... Workforce development will be focus of $500 mil life sciences investment, Baker says ...... Baker: there's a "whole series of initiatives" to address fiscal 2017 revenue shortfall ...... Baker signs bill authorizing Somerville to borrow up to $50 mil to pay for costs of Green Line Extension ...... Unemployment rate rises for fifth straight month, state officials say labor force growing ...... ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)

LATEST ADVANCES - WEEK OF JUNE 25, 2017

Lawmakers hit the midpoint of 2017 next week facing a troubling and extremely unsettled state budget situation and rushing to make major amendments to the marijuana legalization law passed by voters last November. Read More

WEEKLY ROUNDUP -- "AMBASSADORS OF CANNABIS"

ZAP! BUZZZZZZZZ! That was the sound of the Massachusetts House and Senate touching what for years has been considered a politically hazardous "third rail" subject: marijuana. Read More

Marijuana activists, some of them sharing a few jo

Marijuana activists, some of them sharing a few joints, gathered in front of the State House on Wednesday morning to protest the House marijuana bill scheduled for discussion that day. The Senate debated its own pot bill on Thursday, and conferees to work out a compromise bill were appointed Friday. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HOUSE BILL CRACKS OPEN DOOR FOR PUBLIC POT CONSUMPTION

Much of the debate about local control of legalized marijuana has focused on how municipalities can ban pot shops. Less attention has been paid to provisions of the marijuana bill (H 3776) the House passed this week that could theoretically allow people to smoke joints in public if local governments permit that activity. Read More


LAWMAKERS NAME CONFEREES ON MARIJUANA BILL

The particulars of the Legislature's marijuana overhaul are now in the hands of six lawmakers tasked with reconciling the House and Senate bills by the end of the month. Read More

Sen. Pat Jehlen and Rep. Mark Cusack, co-chairs of

Sen. Pat Jehlen and Rep. Mark Cusack, co-chairs of the Marijuana Policy Committee, are among the six conferees appointed Friday to work out a compromise between House and Senate marijuana bills. [Photo: FILE/Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE READY TO TACKLE DISTRACTED DRIVING

The state Senate next week plans to debate a bill prohibiting drivers from holding cellphones while behind the wheel, a major expansion of the texting-while-driving ban established by a 2010 law. Read More


SENATE SENDS "AMEND AND IMPROVE" BILL TO POT TALKS WITH HOUSE

The Senate on Thursday night approved a series of updates to the state's voter-passed marijuana legalization law, which supporters said closely align with the ideals of the ballot question but which differ significantly from the bill House lawmakers passed Wednesday. Read More


Thursday, June 22, 2017

HOME CARE GROUP COOL TO BAKER'S MASSHEALTH IDEAS

One of the state's leading elder care advocacy groups has serious concerns with Gov. Charlie Baker's plan to reform MassHealth and levy assessments on employers, particularly proposed changes to pharmacy benefits and a new fee that could cost home health aide industry $5.5 million next year. Read More


HOME GROW RESTRICTION FAILS AS SENATE CHURNS THROUGH POT BILL

As senators entered the eighth hour of debate on legislation altering the voter-approved marijuana legalization law, the Senate had worked through about two-thirds of the amendments members filed. Read More


PUSH FOR FEDERAL AND STATE TAX CHANGES COULD SLOW CHARITABLE GIVING

Federal tax reform proposals under consideration by Congress could put up to $513 million in annual donations to Massachusetts charities at risk, according to a new report from the state's nonprofits association. Read More


BAKER REVIEWING, NOT HEARTENED BY SENATE HEALTH BILL

Gov. Charlie Baker, much like he did when the U.S. House rolled out the American Health Care Act, warned Thursday that the Senate's draft repeal of Obamacare would result "significant funding losses" for Massachusetts through billions of cuts to the federal Medicaid program. Read More


EIGHT MASS. LAWMAKERS JOIN COUNTERPARTS IN SUPPORTING PARIS ACCORD

Massachusetts lawmakers have joined more than 550 legislators from 44 states in formally declaring their commitment to fight climate change and adhere to The Paris Agreement. Read More


WARREN

SETTI AGREES WITH SETH: TIME FOR DEMS TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Setti Warren on Thursday jumped on the coattails of Congressman Seth Moulton's provocative comments about Democrats, with the Newton mayor and candidate for governor saying the party and Massachusetts needs "a new generation of leaders." Read More


LOW GAS PRICES FUELING RECORD HOLIDAY TRAVEL PREDICTION

More Americans are expected to hit the roads and travel more than 50 miles from home this Fourth of July weekend, making it the most traveled Independence Day on record, AAA predicts. Read More


BAKER TOUTS MASS. APPEAL AT CALIFORNIA BIO CONFERENCE

Gov. Charlie Baker saluted innovation and investment in the health care field during his remarks at the 2017 International BIO Conference in San Diego on Wednesday, laying out his plans to invest in workforce development and foster public-private partnerships and thanking those in the medical industry for doing the work they do. Read More


MAJOR OVERHAUL OF POT BALLOT LAW CLEARS HOUSE

After several years of ceding marijuana policy-making to a voting public eager to adopt a more permissive approach to the once completely illegal drug, House lawmakers on Wednesday took the reins of the sticky issue, passing a bill to overhaul how the state will regulate the retail market of the intoxicant. Read More

Marijuana Policy Committee Co-Chairman Mark Cusack

Marijuana Policy Committee Co-Chairman Mark Cusack told reporters after Wednesday's House session that the House marijuana bill stuck to the framework of last November's voter-approved legalization law. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR SOUGHT TO EXAMINE "RACIAL CLIMATE" IN TRIAL COURT

Efforts to promote diversity are stymied within the Massachusetts Trial Court, according to minority court officers who claim the promotional exam is discriminatory and officials need to address the "racial climate" in the court system. Read More


STRONACH SHOWS INTEREST AS MASS. WEIGHS RESURRECTION OF HORSE RACING

The nation's largest horse track operator is showing some interest in bringing racing back to Massachusetts. Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer at the Stronach Group, told the News Service in an interview from California this week that his company has talked with George Carney, the owner of a former dog racing track in Raynham, about a potential partnership or lease. Read More


LEWIS

SYNCING OF POT, CIG AND ALCOHOL BUYING AGES PUT OFF FOR NOW

The Senate's main proponent of raising the state's minimum tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21 took a moment to make his case during Thursday's marijuana debate, arguing it would make sense to have the same age threshold for marijuana, alcohol and tobacco. Read More


PREGNANT WORKERS BILL ON THE MOVE IN SENATE

A little more than a month after the House unanimously passed it, the Senate plans to take up a bill next week mandating protections for pregnant workers. Read More


TURNING TO SENATE, MARIJUANA CAMPAIGN SLAMS HOUSE POT LAW REWRITE

A day after the House passed a bill more than doubling the tax rate on marijuana and wiping away the right of local voters to directly weigh in on whether to host marijuana facilities, the Senate on Thursday will take up narrower legislation that more closely comports with the voter-approved law. Read More

[Photo: FILE/Sam Doran/SHNS]

[Photo: FILE/Sam Doran/SHNS]


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

BAKER COULD PROVIDE ROADMAP FOR TROUBLED BUDGET, MTF SAYS

As the deadline to finalize a new state budget nears, amendments from Gov. Charlie Baker to the $40.5 billion budget he presented in January would provide House and Senate negotiatiors with a roadmap for how to deal with a drop off in tax collections since that bill was filed, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Read More


HOUSE AGREES TO CRAFT MARIJUANA AMENDMENT

The craft brewing industry has grown over the decades to become a major feature of the adult beverages market. Read More


FANTASY SPORTS COMPANIES WEIGH IN ON MASS. REGULATIONS, TAXES

DraftKings and FanDuel, two pioneers in online fantasy sports betting who are facing the prospect of more state regulation and taxation, have urged a commission reviewing the industry to leave well enough alone. Read More


FENTANYL A "GAME CHANGER," FORMER WHITE HOUSE DRUG CZAR SAYS

The emergence of the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl has been a "game changer" in the public health response to addiction and overdoses, former White House drug control czar Michael Botticelli said Wednesday. Read More


LAWMAKERS SLOW TO DIG INTO MARIJUANA BILL

[Coverage Developing] More than two hours after convening a session to consider marijuana legalization legislation, the Massachusetts House is off to a slow start. Read More

[Photo: FILE/Sam Doran/SHNS]

[Photo: FILE/Sam Doran/SHNS]


SINGH CONFIRMED FOR APPEALS COURT, DONATELLE TO JOIN SUPERIOR COURT

The court system got two new judges on Wednesday after the Governor's Council voted unanimously to confirm Gov. Charlie Baker's nominees for seats on the Appeals Court and the Superior Court. Read More


DIEHL

POSSIBLE SENATE CONTENDER DIEHL LEANING ONE WAY

Celebrating Republican wins in special Congressional elections in Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday night, state Rep. Geoff Diehl fanned the flames of his own potential U.S. Senate candidacy on Wednesday. Read More


URBAN REPS SEEK STRONGER EQUITY MEASURE IN MARIJUANA BILL

With lawmakers finally poised to debate marijuana legalization, urban officials are set to call for "stronger equity provisions" in the bill, including a requirement that at least one Cannabis Control Commission member represent communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Read More


REP MOTIVATED TO GO DOOR-TO-DOOR FOR "CO-SENATOR"

After blasting several soft-copy endorsements to his email list since early May in support of Cindy Friedman's Senate bid, Rep. Jay Kaufman penned a hard-copy letter that arrived Monday in mailboxes across parts of Lexington and Woburn. Read More


BAKER

BAKER FILES BILL TO KEEP GOVERNMENT RUNNING WITHOUT BUDGET

Gov. Charlie Baker has filed a budget bill to keep state operations on track through July if lawmakers fail to reach agreement soon on a permanent budget. Read More


VIDEO | CARIDDI'S FRIENDS IN HOUSE RECALL HARDWORKING, FUN COLLEAGUE

Four days after the death of Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, her House colleagues remembered the North Adams Democrat as a hard worker, quietly effective legislator and passionate advocate for her constituents. "But she was also awesome," Rep. Paul Mark of Peru said. "She was fun. She was fun to hang out with." Read More

In his remembrance of colleague Gailanne Cariddi o

In his remembrance of colleague Gailanne Cariddi on Wednesday, Rep. Smitty Pignatelli (left) referenced a photo he took in late May with Cariddi, Rep. Paul Mark (right), and a town official. Pignatelli said that day marked the last time he saw his friend of 35 years. [Photo: Courtesy/Rep. Wm. Smitty Pignatelli] | Video


POLL TAKES TEMP OF MASS. VOTERS ON LEGISLATIVE PAY RAISES

Lawmakers' decision to award themselves pay raises earlier this year was an unpopular move with around three quarters of the electorate, according to a poll sponsored by a conservative group that argues the pay hike could imperil progressives' push for a tax hike next year. Read More


IN POT DEBATE, REPS WEIGH POLICY PREFERENCES AGAINST WILL OF VOTERS

As the House embarks on a debate of marijuana, a subject area the Legislature has for years been loath to address, it is clear that members still have numerous and significant issues with the leadership-backed bill rewriting the legalization ballot law. Read More

At a rally in front of the State House Wednesday m

At a rally in front of the State House Wednesday morning, Rep. Byron Rushing held up a copy of the revised House marijuana bill that representatives would debate later in the day. [Photo Gallery: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


GONZALEZ

GONZALEZ OUTLINES GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION IDEAS

Democrat Jay Gonzalez, a candidate for governor, embraced the use of "smart gun" trigger lock technology to reduce firearm violence as part of a multi-pronged strategy to build on the state's 2014 gun law reforms. Read More


MUSK, BALLMER, PERDUE HEADLINING NGA MEETINGS IN PROVIDENCE

Elon Musk, the billionaire behind Tesla and space transport company SpaceX who wants to build a city on Mars, will join some 30 governors from around the country at the National Governors Association summer meeting to talk about emerging technologies and their impact on the energy and transportation sectors. Read More


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BAKER

BAKER OFFERS BUDGET CONFEREES $315 MILLION HEALTH CARE PLAN

Employers would be counted on to pay $200 million more a year over the next two years to help pay for rising expenses in the state's $16.6 billion Medicaid program under a plan the Baker administration presented to the Legislature Tuesday to balance next year's budget. Read More


CARBON FEES DEBATED AS WAY TO ENCOURAGE FUEL CONSERVATION, EMISSION REDUCTIONS

Environmental activists crowded the State House's largest meeting room Tuesday to call on lawmakers to put a price on carbon emissions as a way to reduce global warming and ensure the state meets its greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements. Read More

Gardner Auditorium, the largest hearing room at th

Gardner Auditorium, the largest hearing room at the State House, was packed on Tuesday with proponents of imposing a fee on carbon emissions. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


WAGE THEFT BILL SUPPORTERS SAY SCALE OF PROBLEM DEMANDS RESPONSE

Supporters of legislation aimed at preventing wage theft on Tuesday painted a picture of an urgent need for action, telling lawmakers that Massachusetts workers across all industries are denied hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Read More


NEW LAWS NEEDED TO BOOST HOUSING PRODUCTION, OFFICIALS SAY

In the last seven years, the state's population has grown by about 246,000 people, Bay State employers have added 353,000 jobs, and for those seeking a new place to live, 81,000 new housing units have been permitted, according to the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. Read More


UMASS TUITION/FEES LIKELY TO INCREASE BY 2 TO 3 PERCENT, MEEHAN SAYS

Tuition and fees for University of Massachusetts students will likely increase 2 to 3 percent for the coming academic year, depending on how the state budget shapes up, UMass President Marty Meehan said at at Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday. Read More


WALSH

WALSH AMONG MIAMI-BOUND MASS. MAYORS

Nine Massachusetts mayors are expected to travel to Miami Beach this weekend to join hundreds of their peers from around the country for the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting. Read More


UNIVERSITY ECONOMISTS URGE STATE TO INVEST IN EARLY EDUCATION

Economists from 43 Massachusetts universities have signed a letter urging Beacon Hill officials to increase access to early education, an often costly service for families but one that analysts say improves the odds that children will have long-term academic success. Read More


SHORTSLEEVE

MBTA NEEDS TO MAKE ROOM FOR $9 MIL RETIREE PAYMENT, GM SAYS

The MBTA pension fund's problems have been festering for years, but T officials this year did not include $9 million in funds needed to pay retirees and now say they'll have to find room in their budget for that payment. MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve told T officials about the funding requirement at a meeting on Monday. Read More


REVENUE-HUNGRY POLS MULL POPULAR SALES TAX HOLIDAY

A two-day sales tax holiday, which has taken place nearly every year for more than a decade, is a lifeline for shops swamped with competition by online retailers that are always a few clicks away, the state's top retail spokesman told lawmakers. Read More

Retailers Association of Massachusetts president J

Retailers Association of Massachusetts president Jon Hurst testified Tuesday before the Revenue Committee. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


COST ARGUMENTS ON BOTH SIDES OF SUGARY BEVERAGE TAX DEBATE

If Massachusetts lawmakers create a tax on sugary drinks, Polar Beverages' $10 million investment in a new can line and water treatment system might become unnecessary. "It would be stranded investments," Polar executive Christopher Crowley told the News Service after a hearing Tuesday. He said, "It's an enormous undertaking, a three-year process and it's like, 'Hey, now you don't need it.'" Read More


INSURERS SEE TIERED NETWORK ASK AS HIGH HURDLE

Bay State health insurers are largely supportive of the new Baker administration proposal to assess employers and reform MassHealth to cover rising Medicaid costs, but threw up the caution flag Tuesday on one proposal to encourage greater participation in tiered-network plans. Read More


KEENAN

STATE BOARD OKAYS KEENAN AS SALEM STATE PRESIDENT

The state Board of Higher Education on Tuesday unanimously approved former state lawmaker John Keenan as the new president of Salem State University, the school announced. Read More


CURRENT LANDSCAPE AMPLIFIES CASE FOR SINGLE PAYER, SUPPORTERS SAY

Backers of single-payer, government-sponsored health care on Tuesday told lawmakers that now is the time to adopt a "Medicare for all" system in Massachusetts, citing uncertainty over federal health care legislation and the burden of rising costs. Read More


CONSUMERS DESERVE MORE INFO ABOUT CHEMICALS IN PRODUCTS, GROUPS SAY

Environmental groups, workers' rights organizations and consumer protection advocates pitched a package of bills they said will give people more information about toxins in common household products and end the use of certain chemicals. Read More


PRESIDENTIAL TAX RETURNS HEARING CANCELLED FOR CARIDDI SERVICE

A hearing planned for Thursday on Sen. Michael Barrett's bill to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the state ballot has been postponed due to its overlapping with memorial services in the western part of the state for the late Rep. Gailanne Cariddi. Read More


POT LAW REWRITE CLEARS HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY

Legislation more than doubling the tax rate on retail marijuana and stripping local voters of the right to directly weigh in on whether to host retail pot shops has unanimously cleared a House committee. Read More


NORTHEASTERN, MLB STRIKE DEAL FOR PLAYER EDUCATION

Some big names in baseball could be coming to Boston but they would be joining the Huskies, not necessarily the Red Sox. Read More

The Huntington Avenue Grounds, land that is now pa

The Huntington Avenue Grounds, land that is now part of the Northeastern campus, was host to the first modern World Series in 1903. [Photo: Courtesy/Wikimedia]


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service