... MassINC criminal justice summit May 15 will feature Gants, Rep. Clark ...... Senate getting ready to move out of historic chamber, hold sessions in Gardner Auditorium ...... Local road repair funding bill stalls one Senate vote shy of Gov. Baker's desk ...... After backing income surtax on high earners, Mass. House rejects bids to raise, freeze income tax rate ...... Taxpayers could save $27 million if public pension systems were consolidated, Pioneer study says ...... Voting equipment, electronic polling book regulations up for May 5 public hearing ...... State says hospital licensing regulations will remove "unnecessary requirements" ...... Domestic violence, child abuse training regulations up for May 18 BORM hearing ...... May 12 deadline for comments on MassHealth midlevel practitioner project regulations ...... Comments due by May 1 on smart growth zoning overlay district regulations ...... Former Beth Israel Deaconess chief Paul Levy to deliver health care lecture May 3 ...... Crosby says Gaming Commission has never discussed extended serving hours at casinos ...... Rhode Island picks Tufts Health Plan for new Medicaid option ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m.
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m.

LATEST HOUSE ADDED $77 MIL TO BUDGET THAT UNDERFUNDS MAJOR ACCOUNTS, REPORT SAYS

After rejecting proposals to boost taxes, the Massachusetts House added $77.7 million in spending to the annual budget bill this week, the bulk of it in funds that may be spent only on particular projects, according to an analysis by a business-backed policy group. Read More

CAMPAIGN AIMS TO BOOST ORGAN DONATIONS AMONG THOSE 50 AND OVER

A new public awareness campaign launched Wednesday by the Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Advisory Council on Organ and Tissue Transplants seeks to spread the word that age doesn't matter in organ donations. Read More


ROSENBERG PLANS CRIMINAL JUSTICE CHAT WITH DeLEO

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said Wednesday that he plans to have a conversation "very soon" with House Speaker Robert DeLeo about a process for dealing with criminal justice reform ideas this session, but broadly endorsed a more comprehensive effort to overhaul the corrections system. Read More


BAKER CHALLENGES STATE TO THINK "BIGGER" ABOUT SOLUTIONS

The solutions that state government puts forward to address large issues like the opioid epidemic and the impact of modest growth in state revenues are going to have to be "bigger and more aggressive", Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday, as society and technology change more rapidly than ever. Read More


DENIM DAY DRAWS ATTENTION TO PROBLEM OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Rep. Natalie Higgins "stumbled into" her work in sexual violence prevention as a college freshman looking for a community service opportunity, trained to work as a counselor, volunteered at rape crisis centers, advocated for survivors and taught teenagers about consent. Then, at age 24, as a law student preparing to start work on a domestic violence clinic, she was sexually assaulted at a place she had been many times and thought of as safe. Read More

Rep. Natalie Higgins on Wednesday shared her perso

Rep. Natalie Higgins on Wednesday shared her personal experience with sexual assault during the Mass. Caucus of Women Legislators' "Denim Day" for sexual assault awareness. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER: BIG IDEAS NEEDED TO TACKLE OPIOIDS, BUDGET WOES

[Story Developing] Tackling large issues like the opioid epidemic and chronically lagging state tax revenue is going to take increasingly "bigger and more aggressive" efforts from state government, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday. Read More


SHACK

COMPTROLLER WARNS OF "SILVER TSUNAMI" IN STATE WORKFORCE

[Story Developing] State Comptroller Thomas Shack sounded the tsunami alarm Wednesday morning, warning that core state services could be in jeopardy in the next five to ten years as older state employees leave the workforce and take their skill sets with them. Read More


SILVER TSUMANI, OLD TECHNOLOGY POSE CHALLENGE, COMPTROLLER SAYS

"There is a significant thing going on in state government that everyone should be aware of," State Comptroller Thomas Shack said in the early minutes of the daylong leadership summit he hosted Wednesday. Shack proceeded to sound the tsunami alarm, warning that core state services could be in jeopardy in the next five to ten years as older state employees leave the workforce and take their skill sets with them. Read More


BOSTON CHAMBER JOINS EDUCATION GROUP

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is the latest business group to align itself with the education reform group Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education. Read More


TREASURER SAYS PAY INEQUITY SITE HAS "GLOBAL" APPEAL

In the year since she launched a website to highlight pay inequities between men and woman, more than 5,000 people from 66 countries have used it, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said Wednesday. Read More


COUNCIL CONFIRMS THREE FOR JUDGESHIPS

Three judicial nominees were unanimously confirmed on Wednesday, including attorney Joseph Ditkoff, who was tapped by Gov. Charlie Baker to join the Appeals Court. Read More


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ATTORNEY NOMINATED FOR APPEALS COURT

A patent law attorney who also represented a death row inmate in Montgomery, Alabama is Gov. Charlie Baker's choice to fill a new vacancy on the Appeals Court. Dalila Argaez Wendlandt, who is a partner in the Intellectual Property Litigation Group of Ropes & Gray, would fill the seat on the appelate court last occupied by Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth Cypher. Read More


HIGHER PURCHASE AGE SEEN AS LATEST ANTI-SMOKING WEAPON

If there is any concerted opposition towards the idea of raising the statewide tobacco purchasing age to 21, Rep. Kate Hogan has not heard from it. Hogan, a former smoker and Stow Democrat who is House chairwoman of the Committee on Public Health, said support is growing behind the measure and she has yet to hear from anyone who outright opposes it. Read More


SPRINGFIELD RAID NETS TEDDY BEAR STUFFED WITH HEROIN

Authorities executing a search warrant at a Springfield apartment Wednesday morning recovered 750 bags of heroin inside a brown teddy bear. Read More

The Hampden County Narcotics Taskforce on Wednesda

The Hampden County Narcotics Taskforce on Wednesday seized a brown teddy bear stuffed with 750 bags of heroin. [Photo: Courtesy/Hampden DA's Office] | Hi-Res


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

HOUSE WRAPS DEBATE ON STATE'S FIRST $40B BUDGET

The House passed its fiscal 2018 budget on a 159-1 vote Tuesday night, green-lighting the more than $40 billion spending plan after just two days of debate. Representatives dispatched 1,210 amendments between Monday and Tuesday, grouping many of the measures together into "consolidated" packages of amendments that were approved with little public debate after closed-door meetings. The final vote came shortly after 10 p.m. Read More


MEALS ON WHEELS, AGING COUNCILS GET BUDGET BOOST

Before breaking for dinner on the second night of budget debate, the House nearly unanimously approved a bundle of amendments adding about $7.5 million to next year's budget for health and human services, and elder affairs. Read More


BID TO IMPOSE MASSHEALTH CONTROLS FAILS IN HOUSE

House Democrats on Tuesday rejected a proposal designed to limit cost growth in MassHealth and place the state's largest program under the oversight of a control board. Read More


HOUSE ADDS EARMARKS IN HOUSING AMENDMENT

House lawmakers on Tuesday afternoon unanimously added $3.05 million in spending related to housing, mental health and disability services to their 2018 budget. Read More


HUMASON

PANEL'S LONE REPUBLICAN NOT JOINING COLLEAGUES ON DC TRIP

When Democratic members of a state Senate committee left for Washington, D.C. Tuesday to lobby against potential federal spending cuts, the panel's one Republican stayed behind. Read More


HOUSE BANS MARIJUANA PURCHASES WITH PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

The House on Tuesday took a step toward barring welfare recipients from using their cash benefits to purchase recreational marijuana. Read More


LAST AMENDMENTS SET FOR PRIVATE DEBATE

House lawmakers proposing budget amendments dealing with public safety and the judiciary will have the chance to make their case to leadership Tuesday afternoon. Read More

[Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

[Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]


LOTTERY KEEPS UP PATTERN OF LOWER SALES, BIGGER PROFITS

The Massachusetts Lottery counted $70.7 million in net profit in March, up $9.5 million from last March despite $4.4 million less in total sales for the month, the Lottery director said Tuesday. Read More


HOUSE GOP STILL WAITING FOR HEALEY RESPONSE ON GUNS

House Republicans are still waiting for Attorney General Maura Healey's response to letters they and other lawmakers sent last summer about her heightened enforcement of the state's assault weapons ban, and on Monday night tried to hold up some of the attorney general's funding until they receive a reply. Read More


CARROLL

CARROLL, THOMPSON PROMOTED IN HOUSE CLERK'S OFFICE

Heading into the budget debate, the House clerk's office notified its Senate counterpart of two staff promotions, elevating Tim Carroll to assistant clerk and Betsy Thompson to second assistant clerk. Read More


MARKET BRISK AS HOME SALE PRICES RISE TO TEN-YEAR HIGH

The median sale price of homes sold in Massachusetts last month hit its highest point in ten years. Read More


HIV FUNDING TOUTED AS HOUSE APPROVES PUBLIC HEALTH AMENDMENT

The $6.895 million in public health-related spending the House added to its 2018 budget Tuesday night includes funding one representative said would bring the state "within striking distance" of eradicating HIV. Read More


WALSH [Photo: Mass. Political Almanac]

REP RUNNING FOR MAYOR BARRING COMET, NUCLEAR WAR

Rep. Chris Walsh, a Framingham Democrat, told the News Service Tuesday evening that he will run to become the first mayor of Framingham – barring catastrophic disaster. Read More


LAWMAKERS CALL FOR DEEPER JUSTICE SYSTEM OVERHAUL

House and Senate progressives, eager to seize whatever momentum there might be for comprehensive criminal justice reform this session, implored their colleagues Tuesday not to let the chance slip by to overhaul all aspects of the justice system. Read More

Rep. Mary Keefe and other lawmakers on Tuesday cal

Rep. Mary Keefe and other lawmakers on Tuesday called for criminal justice reforms while standing outside the House Chamber, where the second day of the House budget debate was getting underway. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER

BAKER PREPARING FOR POTENTIAL TAX REVENUE SHORTFALL

Without divulging any details, Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration is drafting "reasonable and appropriate" plans to deal with a revenue shortfall in the nearly 10-month-old state budget. Read More


HOUSE DERAILS "MEAN-SPIRITED" BID FOR PUBLIC HOUSING APPLICANT INFO

House Democrats on Tuesday beat back a Republican proposal that would have required adult public housing applicants to provide their Social Security numbers or alien registration numbers. Read More


BIZ, INSURER GROUPS PRESS HOUSE ON HEALTH CARE

Business organizations and health plans are opposing legislative efforts to impose a floor on hospitals reimbursements by commercial payers to benefit lower-paid community providers. Read More


HOUSE ADDS $6.5M IN ENERGY AND ENVIRO SPENDING

The House on Tuesday unanimously adopted $6.485 million in additional budgetary spending on energy and environmental affairs, endorsing earmarks for shellfish propagation on the Cape and Islands, apiary inspection, and open space development at Callahan Park in Framingham. Read More


CAMPAIGN WILL APPEAL FOR MORE LIFE-SAVING ORGAN DONORS

Organ donors and people whose lives have been shaped by successful donations plan to gather Wednesday at the State House to launch a new campaign. Read More


BULK ENERGY AMENDMENT TOTALING $6.5M READY FOR REVIEW

House leadership on Tuesday morning teed up $6.485 million in additional budgetary spending on energy and environmental affairs, endorsing earmarks for shellfish propagation on the Cape and Islands, apiary inspection, and open space development at Callahan Park in Framingham. Read More


HOUSE EXPANDS COMMITMENT TO EARLY EDUCATOR SALARIES

About 200 early educators rallied outside the State House Monday, calling on the House to pad a salary reserve account with $5 million to assist workers whose wages leave them on the edge of poverty. On Monday night, their wish was granted. Read More


HOUSE EYES LAND CONSERVATION WITH LARGER POOL OF TAX CREDITS

The Massachusetts House on Monday agreed to a significant expansion of tax credits aimed at spurring land donations to public or private conservation agencies. Read More


FRAMINGHAM SELECTMAN EYEING RUN FOR MAYOR OF NEW CITY

A Framingham selectman who opposed converting the state's largest town into a city is now gearing up to run for mayor. Read More


Monday, April 24, 2017

HOUSE ADDS $20M TO ITS BUDGET ON FIRST BUDGET DEBATE DAY

House lawmakers on Monday night added about $20 million in spending aimed at education, local aid, transportation and state administration to the $40.3 billion fiscal 2018 budget. Read More


HOUSING, MENTAL HEALTH ON TABLE AFTER HOUSE DINNER BREAK

A busy day for closed-door House budget deliberations will extend into the night Monday when lawmakers will have a chance to prevail on top budget-writers for favorable consideration of their housing, mental health and disabilities proposals. Read More


BAKER FILES FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO INVEST IN HOUSING

A $1.3 billion, five-year housing bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday would enable local housing authorities to enter public-private partnerships and make it easier for those public housing providers to finance maintenance backlogs, according to the governor’s office.  Read More


ROAD FUNDING BILL STALLED AT FINISH LINE

The House and Senate agreed on an overdue bill to deliver $200 million in funding for local road projects, but it appears a final Senate vote to send the bill to Gov. Charlie Baker will have to wait. Read More


HOUSE ADVANCES $40.3 BILLION STATE BUDGET

After turning back proposals to raise taxes or authorize a sales tax holiday, the Massachusetts House on Monday gave initial approval to a $40.3 billion budget for fiscal 2018, which begins on July 1. Read More


SCORES OF BUDGET PROPOSALS BEING SETTLED IN ROOM 348

House members who hope to amend the $40.3 billion budget proposal with ideas related to social services or veteran affairs will have a chance at 4:30 p.m. Monday to make their cases. Read More

Representatives privately discussed a number of bu

Representatives privately discussed a number of budget amendments Monday in the Members' Lounge before packing them into consolidated amendments that can be adopted on a single vote. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]


SHERIFFS SEEK HIGHER POT TAX TO FUND ADDICTION TREATMENT

Two sheriffs urged lawmakers on Monday to use the legalization of marijuana as an opportunity to invest in substance abuse treatment by raising the tax on pot sales to support public and private addiction treatment programs. "We are searching and starving for resources," Hampshire County Sheriff Nick Cocchi testifed before the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy. Read More


REPS WORKING OUT STATE BUDGET PRIVATELY

With no appetite among House members for tax-raising amendments, the bulk of action in the House on the first day of budget deliberations is occurring behind the scenes. Read More


DIEHL WOULD ASK TRUMP TO BACK HIM IN U.S. SENATE RACE

If state Rep. Geoff Diehl runs to unseat U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, President Donald Trump could hit the stump on his behalf. Diehl, the first Bay State elected official to support Trump, told reporters Monday that he would "absolutely" ask Trump to campaign for him if he does officially enter the race. Read More

Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman held a press conferenc

Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman held a press conference Monday in front of the State House criticizing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, partly for her promotion of her new book, "This Fight is Our Fight." Diehl earlier this month opened a federal campaign account and is weighing a 2018 run against Warren. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


GOLDBERG

GOLDBERG ARGUES TO KEEP POT OVERSIGHT

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg made a pitch to keep oversight of the budding marijuana industry, arguing the regulatory model approved by voters provides the greatest level of accountability. Read More


DIGITAL EVIDENCE TOUTED AS WEAPON IN FIGHTING CRIME

A fatal hit-and-run case in Chelsea served as an example of the importance of digital evidence for the law enforcement and legal officials from nearly 40 states and Canada who gathered in Norwood Monday. Read More


CONSIDERATION OF ELDER AFFAIRS, HHS TO START HOUSE BUDGET DAY TWO

The second day of budget debate in the House is slated to kick off Tuesday with a conference to go over amendments related to elder affairs, and health and human services. Read More


BAKER CAPITAL BUDGET WILL FUND UMASS BOSTON GARAGE REPAIR

The Baker administration's fiscal 2018 capital budget plan will include $78 million over three years to repair a crumbling, underground parking garage at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Gov. Charlie Baker's office announced Monday. Read More


SENATOR SEEKS COMMITTEE HEARING ON PRISON SUICIDES

On the heels of the high-profile prison suicide of former New England Patriots player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, a state senator is asking the Legislature's Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee to examine suicides among prisoners and correctional officers. Read More


EARLY EDUCATORS RALLY FOR MORE STATE SUPPORT

About 200 early education supporters rallied outside the State House Monday, thanking lawmakers for their efforts to boost the salaries of early educators but urging them to do more to help young learners and workers whose wages place them on the edge of poverty. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz told the ralliers that she was able to be at the rally because she knows her young children are being cared for while she is at work. Read More

Sen. Sonia-Chang Diaz addressed early educators at

Sen. Sonia-Chang Diaz addressed early educators at a rally outside the State House on Monday. [Photo: Michael P. Norton/SHNS]


HOUSE DEMS KILL TAX HOLIDAY PROPOSALS

House Democrats blocked efforts by GOP lawmakers on Monday to establish an annual sales tax holiday in August and a meals tax holiday in March. Rep. Shaunna O'Connell, a Taunton Republican, filed a budget amendment to establish the third Saturday and third Sunday in August each year as a sales tax holiday, while Rep. Geoff Diehl, a Whitman Republican, called for the week of March 22 to be designated annually as a holiday from the state meals tax. Read More


WAGE THEFT OPPONENTS SAY NUMBERS IN LEGISLATURE ON THEIR SIDE

Workers' rights advocates and labor leaders pledged Monday to pass into law this session a bill aimed at preventing wage theft by employers. During a press conference in support of the bill, its backers said wage theft -- a business's underpayment, non-payment or denial of benefits to a worker -- particularly hurts immigrants and can pose a barrier to families trying to move up into the middle class. Read More


SHERIFFS SEEK HIGHER POT TAX TO FUND ADDICTION TREATMENT

[Story Developing] Two sheriffs urged lawmakers on Monday to use the legalization of marijuana as an opportunity to invest in substance abuse treatment by raising the tax on pot sales to support public and private addiction treatment programs. Read More


VIDEO | GOP REPS SEEK CONTROL BOARD, MAJOR CHANGES AT MASSHEALTH

Most MassHealth enrollees would have to make contributions toward their government coverage and a control board would be installed to rein in spending at the state's Medicaid program, under a budget proposal touted by five Republican House members on Monday. Read More

Republican Reps. James Lyons and Marc Lombardo (le

Republican Reps. James Lyons and Marc Lombardo (left) pitched their plan to reduce MassHealth spending at a press conference Monday in the hallway outside their State House office. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Video


RUSH

SENATOR SERVING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Sen. Michael Rush, an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves, will be on military duty in Southeast Asia until May 9. Read More


REPS QUICKLY HUDDLE ON LOCAL AID, EDUCATION AMENDMENTS

House leaders will begin consideration of local aid and education amendments to the proposed state budget at 11:30 a.m. in Room 348 – an area closed off to the public. Read More


HOUSE TAKES BREAK TO START BUDGET DEBATE

The House gaveled in for budget week Monday morning before recessing ahead of its debate on the $40.3 billion budget proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee. Read More


Sunday, April 23, 2017

MARIJUANA TAXES SHOULD TOTAL 15 PERCENT "AT A MINIMUM," GOLDBERG SAYS

Massachusetts should raise its taxes on marijuana to 15 percent "at a minimum," according to Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. Read More


STATE UNIVERSITIES PRESSING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, FINANCIAL AID AMENDMENTS

State lawmakers are fond of promoting their support for public higher education, but critics of the Legislature say state government could do more, and the state university system has at least five ideas it hopes the House will embrace this week during fiscal 2018 budget deliberations. Read More


HOSPITALS HOPE HOUSE ADDS TAX ON SUGARY DRINKS

The $40.3 billion House budget proposal was "highly responsive" to the needs of Massachusetts hospitals but the trade group representing hospitals will push this week for additional measures, including a new tax on sugary drinks. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service