... After 9C cut, lawmakers poised to send $400,000 suicide prevention request back to Baker ...... Senate agrees to study supervised drug injection facilities ...... Poftak in as interim MBTA general manager, Shortsleeve departing ...... House pulls back bill addressing law enforcement role in immigration operations ...... Senate rejects bid to boost visitor centers after senators say Mass. not welcoming enough ...... House advances bill establishing Massachusetts Minutemen and Militia Day ...... Senate budget rider requires study of high-school train between Boston and Springfield ...... Activists visit Baker's office to thank him for opposing GOP health care bill ...
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ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Senate:

LATEST FLAVORED CIGARS WOULD BE TAXED AT HIGHER RATE TO PAY FOR WELLNESS

Higher taxes on flavored cigars would replenish funding for health and wellness partnerships under an amendment adopted by the Senate during budget debate Thursday. Read More

SENATE PASSES $40.4B BUDGET

The Senate added just over $50 million in spending over three days of debate to its fiscal 2018 budget bill, unanimously passing the $40.39 billion budget Thursday night in the final session within the historic Senate chamber before it is to be renovated. Read More


SHORTSLEEVE DEPARTURE TRIGGERING OVERHAUL OF MBTA MANAGEMENT

The MBTA leadership team is undergoing a sudden overhaul with Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve departing at the end of June, triggering a series of moves pending the hiring of a permanent CEO. Read More

Steve Poftak, vice chair of the MBTA Fiscal and Ma

Steve Poftak, vice chair of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, was named Thursday as the T's interim general manager. He replaces MBTA Chief Administrator and acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve (left). [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE ALL ABOARD WITH WESTERN MASS. PUSH FOR HIGH-SPEED TRAIN STUDY

The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday unanimously agreed to study the feasibility of developing a high-speed rail line between Boston and Springfield, an issue its sponsor portrayed as a matter of regional economic equity. "If you leave the 617 area code of Massachusetts, there are many areas of the commonwealth that have fallen behind," said Sen. Eric Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat who sponsored the budget amendment calling for the study. Read More


SENATE ADDS EPIPEN BULK PURCHASING MEASURE TO BUDGET

Taking on the "sacred cow" of the pharmaceutical industry, senators on Wednesday unanimously adopted a budget amendment intended to provide a salve to those afflicted with allergies who are struggling under the high cost of EpiPens. Read More


ACTIVISTS THANK BAKER FOR OPPOSING GOP HEALTH CARE BILL

Calling the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act a "literal death sentence," more than two dozen health care advocates gathered in front of Gov. Charlie Baker's office Thursday afternoon to thank the GOP governor for opposing that bill. Read More

Rev. Burns Stanfield, president of the Greater Bos

Rev. Burns Stanfield, president of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, led a group of health care advocates at the State House on Thursday speaking out against the AHCA and thanking Gov. Charlie Baker "for his commitment to health care access." [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE REJECTS CREATIVE ECONOMY PLAN, FOR NOW

Senators rejected more than 250 amendments to their fiscal 2018 budget in the first two days of debate, and Senate President Stan Rosenberg hinted one of them might ultimately win the chamber's support at another time. Read More


EAST BOSTON FUMING OVER TRAFFIC SNARL AT FORMER SUMNER TOLL PLAZA

Sen. Joseph Boncore had plenty of time to talk about how traffic has put a stranglehold on East Boston since the state Department of Transportation took down the Sumner Tunnel toll plaza and reconfigured how cars approach and enter the tunnel. Read More


ENGINE LEAK DELAYS BOSTON-BOUND GREENBUSH TRAINS

Passengers on a train from the South Shore to Boston on Thursday had their morning commute held up nearly 90 minutes when smoke started flowing from the locomotive's engine. Read More

A leaking gasket on a Greenbush train's main engin

A leaking gasket on a Greenbush train's main engine led to delays for commuters on Thursday morning. [Photo: FILE/SHNS]


SENATE VOTES TO SCRAP PAROLE FEES

The Senate on Thursday afternoon voted to eliminate parole fees in Massachusetts, adopting with little discussion a budget amendment to abolish the charges. Read More


BRAYTON POINT POWERING DOWN AT END OF MONTH

Brayton Point, the last coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts, will close for good on June 1, its owner announced earlier this week. Read More

BRAYTON POINT [Photo: Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons]

BRAYTON POINT [Photo: Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons]


SENATE AGREES TO STUDY DRUG INJECTION FACILITIES

Looking to "throw the kitchen sink at the problem" of opioid overdoses, the Senate on Thursday afternoon adopted a budget amendment directing the Department of Public Health to study whether supervised injection facilities could work in Massachusetts. Read More


SENATE LOADS UP ON EARMARKS DESPITE TIGHT FISCAL PICTURE

Despite tight finances that may force lawmakers to make wholesale budget revisions, senators on Wednesday night were in a giving mood, adding spending measures for anniversary celebrations in Peabody, Amesbury, Mendon and Westfield as well as a soccer program in Lawrence, a winter tourism campaign in Hull, the MetroWest Food and Music Festival and a theater in Hyde Park. Read More

By 1:30 p.m. Thursday, senators added $35.9 millio

By 1:30 p.m. Thursday, senators added $35.9 million in spending to their fiscal 2018 budget, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. [Photo: FILE/Sam Doran/SHNS]


LAWMAKERS POISED TO SEND SUICIDE PREVENTION $$$ REQUEST BACK TO BAKER

The Senate on Thursday added a $400,000 line item to its budget to help Samaritans, Inc. offer assistance to people who may be considering suicide, and senators said the funding would be important as some schools have alerted parents that a Netflix show is drawing more attention to suicide among high schoolers. Read More


PACHECO

TAUNTON SENATOR TRAVELING TO AUSTRIA NEXT WEEK

Sen. Marc Pacheco, who last year was bestowed the fourth-highest award of honor by the Austrian government, will travel to Austria next week to speak at a conference focused on international partnerships. Read More


GOP LEADER SEES SENATE BUDGET DEBATE WINDING DOWN

The Senate could wrap up its fiscal 2018 budget deliberations Wednesday afternoon, based on the volume of amendments remaining to be considered, according to Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. Read More


GOVERNORS TO MEET IN PROVIDENCE JULY 13-16

Legislators, policymakers, and governors from across the country will convene in New England this summer for conferences, with talks focusing on the economy, the workforce and education. Read More


BOSTON TOPS STATE IN 2016 POPULATION GAINS

The Greater Boston area led the state in population gains from 2015 to 2016 as the capital city's population grew by 7,200 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Read More


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SENATE BUDGET DEBATE TO CONTINUE THURSDAY WITH 357 AMENDMENTS LEFT

State senators will resume their fiscal 2018 budget deliberations at 10 a.m. on Thursday with 357 amendments remaining before them. Read More


MORE PEOPLE UNINSURED, REDUCED DEFICIT PROJECTED BY CBO UNDER TRUMPCARE

The health care reform bill recently approved by the U.S. House would reduce the federal deficit over a 10-year period by $119 billion, but would cause 14 million more people to be uninsured by 2018 than under current law, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Read More


KEENAN

FORMER REP KEENAN TABBED FOR SALEM STATE PRESIDENCY

Former state lawmaker and current Salem State University administrator John Keenan was chosen Wednesday by the college's board of trustees to become the school's next president. Read More


SENATE REJECTS MEASURE TO LIMIT TAX ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS

The Senate on Wednesday stuck with its plan to levy a tax on all short-term room rentals, such as those offered through the Airbnb online portal, an initiative the chamber's chief budget-writer said would raise $18 million in new revenue. Read More


NEW SENATORS GRANTED PRIORITY ITEMS AFTER MAIDEN SPEECHES

The three new members of the Senate signaled their budget priorities on Wednesday, securing funding in the advancing annual budget bill for local substance abuse treatment programs, a Berkshire County workforce development effort, and a statewide program to assist small businesses. Before the freshmen senators addressed the chamber, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg alerted members to listen to the three Democrats' maiden speeches. Read More


HOUSE ADVANCES BILL RESTRICTING INMATE LABOR

The House on Wednesday advanced a proposal that would prevent the use of inmate labor on out-of-state projects after rejecting a Republican-backed attempt to analyze the issue further. Read More


SENATORS AVOID ROLL CALL ON REJECTED AMENDMENT BUNDLE

After adopting a new rule earlier this year requiring a recorded vote to reject bundles of amendments, the Massachusetts Senate opted on Wednesday to instead reject amendments resolved during the behind the scenes bundling process with individual voice votes. Read More


SENATE BOOSTS DEEDS FEE FROM $20 TO $45 TO FUND CPA AGREEMENTS

The Senate on Tuesday night adopted an amendment more than doubling the Registry of Deeds fee that funds the Community Preservation Act Trust Fund, a step aimed at rejuvenating the collapsing partnership. Read More


SALEM STATE TO CHOOSE NEXT PRESIDENT

A former state representative's bid for the Salem State University presidency faces a critical vote Wednesday. Read More


IMMIGRATION, INMATE BILL VOTES EXPECTED IN HOUSE

The Massachusetts House is expected to take it first legislative action in response to the Trump administration Wednesday, the first fruit of Speaker Robert DeLeo's Trump working group. Read More


WALSH

WALSH NOMINATION SIGNATURES EXCEED VOTES FOR HIM IN 2013 PRELIM

In a reflection of the power of incumbency, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh's campaign collected more than 12 times the required signatures in his re-election bid, his campaign announced Wednesday. Read More


FOR SETTI, IT WAS SOMETHING THAT HE SAID

Candidate for governor Setti Warren travels to New Bedford Wednesday where he will host a press conference anchored around something Gov. Charlie Baker said on Monday. Read More


WARREN

"PUZZLED" GUV CANDIDATE DEFINES CONSTITUENCIES HE'D REPRESENT

Something Gov. Charlie Baker said recently in reference to Newton Mayor Setti Warren left the gubernatorial candidate "puzzled," so puzzled, in fact, that on Wednesday the mayor sought to set the record straight. Warren, a Democrat who launched his campaign for governor over the weekend, took issue with a comment Baker made about the decision all candidates must make to put their name into the limelight and run for office. Read More


HOUSE VOTES TO PREVENTING OUT-OF-STATE USE OF INMATE LABOR

The House on Wednesday voted to prevent the use of inmate labor beyond the borders of Massachusetts over the objections of Republicans who argued that existing law addresses the issue and questioned why it was a priority. Read More


VIDEO | HOUSE ADDS $45 MIL IN SPENDING DESPITE BUDGET DIFFICULTIES

Despite on ongoing revenue slump, the Massachusetts House on Wednesday packed on $45.5 million in fiscal 2017 spending. Tax collections 10 months into the fiscal year are running nearly half a billion dollars behind budget projections and a plan to address the difficulties has yet to emerge from the Baker administration, which says it has been planning to address the situation and monitoring revenue collections. Read More


MASS. HOUSE PULLS BACK BILL AIMED AT COUNTERING TRUMP

Massachusetts House leaders indefinitely postponed a planned vote Wednesday on legislation recommended by Democrats as a response to President Donald Trump's illegal immigration crackdown. The bill would prevent state resources from being used to execute agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to train state and local law enforcement to act as federal immigration agents. Read More


HOUSE APPROVES $45.5 MIL IN ADDITIONAL FY 2017 SPENDING

Piling on more spending despite struggling tax collections, the Massachusetts House on Wednesday gave initial approval to a $45.462 million bill that adds spending to the fiscal 2017 budget. Read More


APPEALS, JUVENILE COURT NOMINEES APPROVED BY COUNCIL

Two attorneys were unanimously approved for seats on the bench Wednesday, with the Governor's Council commending the administration on the caliber of the nominees. Read More


MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR MISSING CHILDREN PROBES PUSHED AT REMEMBRANCE EVENT

When 16-year-old lifeguard Molly Bish went missing in 2000, it took three years to find her body some two-and-a-half miles from her Warren home. When 16-year-old Lawrence High School student Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino went missing in November 2016, it took nearly three weeks to find his body. Read More


TARR

TARR: DEMS' BUDGETING MANEUVERS LEAVE SPENDING VULNERABLE TO CUTS

Senate Republicans on Tuesday night alleged that the proposed fiscal 2018 budget underfunds major spending accounts and is not balanced, but attempts to add funding to those accounts were rejected. Read More


HOUSE INTRODUCES NEW SPENDING BILL

In the midst of anxiety over potential overspending, House Democrats on Wednesday morning introduced a new spending bill which could emerge on the House floor for consideration Wednesday afternoon. Read More


LIKE HOUSE, SENATE BUDGET FEATURES MAJOR BACKROOM COMPONENT

The Massachusetts Senate, which often touts its efforts to operate transparently, packed an unspecified number of state budget amendments into a single amendment and adopted it without debate Monday night. Read More


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

SENATE BID TO TRIM FILM TAX CREDIT RIPPED AS "ATTACK"

The Senate took a swipe at the decade-old film tax credit on Tuesday, adopting a proposal to impose more stringent requirements for studios to qualify, which one of the incentive's House supporters said could deal a death blow to the program. Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat who sponsored the approved Senate budget amendment, said it would give the program a "trim," saving the state roughly $14 million to $15 million annually. Read More


SENATE TURNS BACK BID TO EXPAND MANDATED ABUSE REPORTERS

The Senate on Tuesday rejected a bipartisan proposal to expand the number of professionals required to report to authorities when they have reasonable suspicions that a child is being abused or neglected. Read More


VIDEO | TRUMP'S "TAXPAYER FIRST" BUDGET ENCOUNTERS STRONG MASS. BACKLASH

Deep cuts proposed by President Donald Trump to federal Medicaid and research spending in his $4.1 trillion budget plan drew bipartisan pushback in Boston on Tuesday over concerns that the plan could strain thinly stretched state tax dollars and cut off a key line of support for the life sciences and health sectors. Read More


RENEWABLE ENERGY LAW LEAVES TIMEFRAME, SCALE QUESTIONS, PANELIST SAY

As public officials take steps towards wind and hydropower procurements called for under a new renewable energy law, industry officials on Tuesday said the state should require utilities to purchase more electricity from renewable sources. Read More


TARGET TO PAY $625K IN CONNECTION WITH 2013 DATA BREACH

Target will pay Massachusetts $625,000 as part of an $18.5 million multistate settlement resolving the investigation into its 2013 data breach that affected more than 41 million customer payment accounts. Read More


LOTTERY SALES DECLINE CONTINUED THROUGH APRIL

Keno was the only Massachusetts Lottery product to have a positive month in April as overall sales fell $4.3 million from April 2016. Read More

While lottery sales over the first 10 months of fi

While lottery sales over the first 10 months of fiscal 2017 are lower than this point in fiscal 2016, prize payout percentages are also down. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]


REPORT: WAGE SUPPORTS NOT REACHING DIRECT CARE WORKERS

A report released Tuesday by a human service workers union found direct care workers' wages have not increased proportionally with new state funding, a dynamic senators may address as they debate their fiscal 2018 budget. Read More


SENATORS: LOCAL SPORTS SUCCESS A SIGN OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE

The odds of the Republican minority in the Massachusetts Senate getting all of what it wants during this week's budget debate may be akin to the Boston Celtics rallying to win their series against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers and then toppling the Golden State Warriors to claim the NBA crown. Read More


DAIRY FARMERS TO TURN MANURE INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY

For years, dairy farmers have used cow manure as fertilizer to spread over crops like corn and hay. But two farms in Western Massachusetts have a new use for all that manure - renewable energy. Read More


CONDUCTIVE CONCRETE PITCHED TO ADDRESS SNOW AND ICE

A South Shore senator pitched his colleagues Tuesday on studying the possible uses of electrically-conductive concrete, an engineering breakthrough that he said could save money on snow and ice costs, and prevent chemicals from entering the ecosystem. Read More


WHEELABRATOR DENIES IT NEGLECTED WATER QUALITY IN SAUGUS

A Saugus ash landfill operator on Tuesday denied allegations that it failed to track and monitor water quality surrounding its 140-acre landfill, saying the claims appear to be designed to interfere with an application Wheelabrator filed with the state to continue operations. Read More


SENATE FORGES AHEAD ON BUDGET DESPITE WEAK REVENUE SUPPORTS

Senators from both parties are in agreement that the $40.3 billion spending bill up for debate and amendments this week rests on shaky revenue supports but Senate budget chief Karen Spilka claimed at the outset of deliberations Tuesday that "we are clear-eyed about our current financial situation." Read More


VIDEO | BAKER: CONCERT SECURITY WILL BE UPPED AFTER MANCHESTER ATTACK

With thousands of concert-goers expected to descend on the Boston Calling music festival this weekend, Gov. Charlie Baker said there are no current threats of venues being targeted for violence, but urged residents to remain "vigilant" following the deadly attack Monday night at a concert in Manchester, England. Read More


BEATON

NORTHEAST MARINE MONUMENT UNDER REVIEW, BEATON HOPES FOR MODIFICATIONS

The state's top environmental official hopes the Trump administration modifies President Barack Obama's 2016 designation of a marine monument area off the Massachusetts coast, which is on the Trump administration's list of areas under review. Read More


Monday, May 22, 2017

ROSENBERG

ROSENBERG: SENATE READY TO ACT ON SHORT-TERM RENTAL TAX

The Senate is expected to pass a budget this week that would tax short-term rentals through websites, like Airbnb at the same rate as hotel and motel rooms, preempting the work of the committee that in two weeks will start its three-stop tour of the state to solicit feedback on the idea. Read More


BALLOONING PENSION GAP FORCES MBTA TO WEIGH OPTIONS

Faced with a report that the MBTA's pension fund will need about $1 billion over the next 18 years to remain solvent and fulfill its obligations, the T's Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday was presented with three options. Read More


BAKER, POLITO TO DECIDE ON RE-ELEX BID THIS FALL

The three Democrats running for governor will need to wait until the fall to learn for sure whether the popular incumbent Republican decides to try for a second term. Read More

At the 2014 MassGOP convention, Charlie Baker high

At the 2014 MassGOP convention, Charlie Baker high-fived running mate Karyn Polito after capturing the party's nomination. [Photo: File/SHNS/2014] | Hi-Res


INDUSTRY: NURSING HOMES AT "CRISIS POINT" DUE TO STATE UNDERPAYMENTS

One out of every seven direct care staff positions in Massachusetts nursing homes is vacant, the number of deficiency-free homes has dropped since 2013, and half of the facilities have less than four days of cash on hand, according to advocates seeking more state support for nursing homes. Read More


WELLNESS ASSESSMENT IN FLUX AS FISCAL YEAR WINDS DOWN

Supporters of an insurance assessment that finances health wellness and prevention services say programs are at imminent risk unless the Senate approves a budget rider to prevent the assessments from lapsing on June 30. Read More


SENATORS URGED TO BACK TAX RELIEF PROPOSALS

On the eve of the annual Senate budget debate, a group opposing tax increases is urging senators to "just say no" to any new taxes and to lock in the final step toward a 5 percent income tax rate. Read More


BAKER

AFTER CONFESSING HIS REGRET, BAKER FINALLY GETS HAMILTON DEGREE

More than 40 years after choosing to attend Harvard instead, Gov. Charlie Baker on Sunday finally got a degree from Hamilton College. Addressing the 508 graduates at the liberal arts school in New York's Mohawk Valley on Sunday morning, Baker began his commencement speech by explaining just how it was that he came to be the Hamilton Continentals' featured speaker. Read More


PILGRIM POWERED UP FOR FINAL TWO YEARS

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station powered up again early Monday morning, six weeks after shutting down to refuel one last time before closing for good by June 2019. Read More

PILGRIM

PILGRIM


BAKER "WORRIED AND DISAPPOINTED" ABOUT D.C. HEALTH CARE MOVES

President Donald Trump and the Republican-led U.S. House have caused Gov. Charlie Baker some agita with their health care proposals, while Senate President Stanley Rosenberg assigned a failing grade to the new president. Read More


FEDS OKAY SIX-MONTH EXTENSION OF PROTECTED STATUS FOR HAITIANS

More than 58,000 Haitians living in the United States, including 4,700 in Massachusetts, will have their temporary immigration protections extended for six months, a timeframe some Bay State officials said Monday is not long enough. Read More

Haitian community members joined in prayer with la

Haitian community members joined in prayer with lawmakers - including Rep. Dan Cullinane, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, and Rep. Daniel Cahill - last week at a Haitian Heritage Day event at the State House. Attendees pushed for an extension of temporary protected status for Haitians living in the United States. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


CLF INTENDS LAWSUIT AGAINST SAUGUS LANDFILL OPERATOR

Alleging violations of federal resource conservation and clean water laws, a Boston-based foundation announced plans Monday to sue the operators of an ash landfill in Saugus, saying Wheelabrator has failed to monitor and track water quality in the surrounding area. Read More


NEW HCFA LEADER PRAISES GUV'S ADVOCACY FOR MEDICAID

Amy Rosenthal, named executive director of nonprofit advocacy group Health Care for All on Monday, says she is excited to work on the "front lines" of health care advocacy in Massachusetts. Read More


CYBER OFFICIAL "AMAZED" THAT FEDS NOT AFFECTED BY WANNACRY

President Donald Trump's "cyber czar" said Monday he was surprised that the recent WannaCry global ransomware attack had not compromised federal government computer systems, and he said he worries about future attacks on power grids and hospitals. Read More

White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce sa

White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce said disruptions from the WannaCry ransomware were "preventable" with up-to-date operating systems. [Photo: Andy Metzger/SHNS]


WALSH

WALSH PROBABLY BACKING INCOME SURTAX, BUT HAS BIZ CONCERNS

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is "probably" going to support a proposed 4 percent income surtax on household earnings above $1 million, but wants to know how Boston will benefit before getting formally behind it. Read More


JUDGE WHO SENTENCED DiMASI ENDS HIS HOME CONFINEMENT

Former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi's six months of home confinement ended Monday with a ruling from the judge who originally sentenced him in a 2011 corruption case. Read More

DiMASI [Photo: File/Sam Doran/SHNS/2016]

DiMASI [Photo: File/Sam Doran/SHNS/2016]


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service