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Advances - Week of Jan. 26

The finalists for the UMass Boston chancellor's post could be announced, the state Senate plans to debate a game-changing carbon reduction proposal, and Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to resume his push for major changes in the health care industry.

Who’s On The Move? Look Inside the Personnel File

The attorney general promoted a new staff general to lead her office ... the State House has a new reporter on the beat ... Jane Doe, Inc. hired a new policy director ... a former top Deval Patrick advisor has landed at UniCare ... and a couple of former House lawmakers have new roles. These and more employment announcements in the latest Personnel File. Please Enjoy.

Committee Bill Gives CCC Express Authority over Host Community Agreements

Lawmakers on the Cannabis Policy Committee on Friday advanced a redrafted bill that would give the Cannabis Control Commission express authority to review and regulate the mandatory agreements and payments between host communities and marijuana businesses.

Polito Focused on State, Not Impeachment Trial

Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito has not been closely monitoring the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, she said Friday, describing it as "not high on my list of things to view."

Baker Holds Local Road Repair Program at $200 Mil

[Story Developing] The Baker administration is again proposing $200 million in annual local road repair funds, despite repeated calls from municipal leaders for a larger allocation and a multi-year plan to help meet infrastructure needs.

Former Magistrate Could Return to Nantucket Court

Donald Hart of Plymouth, a former assistant district attorney who ran a law practice out of Holbrook for nine years, was nominated this week by Gov. Charlie Baker to serve as clerk magistrate of the Nantucket District Court.

Labor: Mass. Employers Added Nearly 45,000 Jobs in 2019

The state unemployment rate in December fell a tick to 2.8 percent and state labor officials reported Friday that employers added 44,800 jobs over the past year, with half of the job gains coming in the education and health services sector.

Baker Ally To Advise Bloomberg Prez Campaign

Former New York City mayor and Medford native Michael Bloomberg has hired a top political advisor to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to advise his Massachusetts presidential campaign efforts in the run-up to Super Tuesday.

OCPF Director Search Panel Now Fully Stocked

The dean of the Boston College Law School will join the commission that will choose the next Office of Campaign and Political Finance director after Gov. Charlie Baker filled a long-vacant position, clearing the path for the commission to begin its work.

Uber, Lyft Rip Baker Plan to Jack Up Fees

Gov. Charlie Baker won praise from Democratic lawmakers for targeting ride-hailing companies as a source for new MBTA funding, but the idea riled the services themselves. Uber and Lyft slammed Baker's plan to increase the per-trip fee on their platforms from 20 cents to $1 as a misfire that will pose an undue strain on their customers and on drivers contracted by the companies.

Baker Budget Ups Fines for Gas Utility Violations

The Baker administration is looking to sharply increase the fines it can assess on companies that do work on or near natural gas pipelines and to make utilities establish a timeline for replacing leak-prone pipes.

Police Chiefs Back Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

An organization representing urban police chiefs voted this week to support legislation authorizing undocumented immigrants to obtain a standard state driver's license.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020

The House referred Gov. Charlie Baker's fiscal 2021 budget to the House Committee on Ways and Means before adjourning for the weekend.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020

The Senate on Thursday introduced carbon emissions, electric vehicle and energy efficiency bills that are set to hit the floor for debate next week.

Passengers Screened, State on Lookout for Coronavirus

Passengers aboard a flight arriving from China were screened at Boston's airport Wednesday night as health officials around the world work to contain an outbreak of a new strain of a disease that's sickened hundreds and killed more than a dozen people in China.

Theoharides Letter Will Formalize Net-Zero 2050 Target

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides plans to issue a letter of determination in the coming weeks to formally establish a policy of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, she told the News Service Thursday.

Baker Targets Zappers Used to Suppress Retail Sales

Gov. Charlie Baker wants to arm the state's tax collection agency to go after retailers who might be short-changing the state of sales tax revenue through the use of technology that falsifies digital sales records.

Association, Non-Profit Team Up on Affordable Generic Drug Plan

In an effort to reduce the cost of some generic prescription drugs, Blue Cross Blue Shield companies from around the country are partnering with a non-profit to help bring more affordable select generic drugs to market in uncompetitive markets.

Roadside “Nips” in Falmouth Used to Make Point on Litter

Over a six-month period, volunteers with a local Falmouth group counted every piece of litter they could find on the town's roadways and grouped the items into 23 different categories. Almost a third of the trash they found came from a single category: miniature bottles of alcohol, often referred to as "nips."

Gov. Charlie Baker said his proposed fee hikes on rides through apps like Uber and Lyft are a response to the "wear and tear" put on traffic infrastructure by the popular services. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Baker Seeks Increase in Ride-Hail Service Fees

After blaming ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft for clogging roads and operating with "little oversight" in a speech Tuesday night, Gov. Charlie Baker proposed in his annual budget to hike the per-ride fees on such services and to use much of the new funding to improve the safety and reliability of the MBTA.

The "Sacred Cod," a historical carved symbol, swam high over the action on Tuesday night while Gov. Charlie Baker outlined his priorities for 2020. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Climate Sea Change

The state of the Commonwealth is ... stuck in traffic, emitting too many greenhouse gases on its way to a home that costs too much and is located too far from where it works. But other than that, Gov. Charlie Baker says Massachusetts is doing swell.

More than 20 lawmakers, led by Rep. Liz Miranda, Rep. Ruth Balser, and Sen. Jamie Eldridge (at microphone), crowded around a hearing table to voice support for limits on immigration enforcement cooperation between local and federal officials. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Immigration Enforcement Bill Draws Big Crowd

Brian Rosa, a 13-year-old living in Allston with his parents and younger sister, said he lives in fear of losing his family. Sony Fernandez, an immigrant from Brazil living in Fall River, said she has witnessed the disruption deportation causes among immigrant communities in the state.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito told municipal officials Friday that she hoped to see the Legislature act promptly on the administration's annual road funding bill so that cities and towns can begin important projects as soon as possible. [Photo: Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Baker Holds Local Road Repair Program at $200 Mil

The Baker administration is again proposing $200 million in annual local road repair funds, despite repeated calls from municipal officials for a larger allocation and a multi-year plan to help meet pressing infrastructure needs.

Rep. William Straus (right) said he's waiting to hear back from his transportation co-chairman, Sen. Joseph Boncore (left), about moving the governor's transportation bond bill out of committee. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Rep: House Ready to Move on $18 Bil Transpo Bond

The House's top Democrat on the Transportation Committee said Thursday he's ready to move on Gov. Charlie Baker's $18 billion borrowing bill to finance infrastructure improvements over the next five years, one of the major pillars of the governor's agenda for 2020.

Sen. Michael Barrett told reporters Thursday that he "wanted to put a price on carbon by any path we could lay our hands on." Barrett joined Sen. Michael Rodrigues (left) and President Karen Spilka (center) to detail the Senate's climate bill which has been teed up for debate next week. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Carbon Pricing a Cornerstone of Senate Climate Package

The Massachusetts Senate next week plans to take up a far-reaching package of climate bills whose major components include an electric MBTA bus fleet by 2040, carbon-pricing mechanisms for transportation, homes and commercial buildings, and a series of five-year greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements that ramp up to net-zero emissions in 2050.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz walked into an Education Committee hearing about school funding reform on March 22, 2019. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Chang-Diaz Questions Baker’s Edu Funding Claim

A state senator who has advocated for education funding reform is pushing back against Gov. Charlie Baker's description of his fiscal 2021 budget proposal as "fully" funding the new school finance law.

R. Norman Peters, chairman of the UMass Boston Chancellor Search Committee, called the committee's first meeting to order on Aug. 27, 2019 alongside UMass President Martin Meehan (right). [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Searchers Closing in on UMB Chancellor Finalists

After interviewing 11 candidates, members of the UMass Boston Chancellor Search Committee plan to meet next week and could then select finalists for the post.

Senate Bill Will Require Electric-Only Buses in 2030

Federal inaction has put pressure on Massachusetts and other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Senate President Karen Spilka said Thursday, and a Senate bill due to be unveiled Thursday will amend the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act to lay out the steps to get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Uncaptioned image for story:School Funding Law Leads Baker to Propose $304M in New Aid

School Funding Law Leads Baker to Propose $304M in New Aid

Gov. Charlie Baker's first state budget after the signing of an education funding reform law in November proposed to boost K-12 school aid by 6 percent, or more than $300 million.

Michael Heffernan, Gov. Charlie Baker's budget chief, said education and transportation investments are the central themes of the administration's fiscal 2021 budget proposal. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Baker Budget Pushes Spending Up to $44.6 Bil

With the $44.6 billion fiscal 2021 budget his administration unveiled Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker said Massachusetts would be able to fully fund both the letter and spirit of the new education funding law, make sizeable investments in public transit and workforce training, and still stash more money away for an eventual economic downturn.

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