ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (No Calendar)

Senate Session Summary - Monday, Dec. 6

The Senate approved a measure Monday expanding the types of degrees that students can earn at Wheaton College in Norton. The Senate also admitted a new bill filed by Cape Cod lawmakers Rep. Kip Diggs and Sen. Julian Cyr that would honor Barnstable native Mercy Otis Warren, a literary light of the Revolution, with a memorial "in a conspicuous place" at the State House.

Diehl Urges Baker to Veto ARPA Bill for More UI $$$

Republican candidate for governor Geoff Diehl on Monday called for Gov. Charlie Baker to veto the $4 billion spending bill that the Legislature finalized last week, arguing that the plan to spend American Rescue Plan Act funds fell short of the need in the business community for the state to reduce employers' unemployment insurance costs.

Auditor, Lawmakers Call for Educational Info to Follow Children

Auditor Suzanne Bump and several Democratic lawmakers testified Monday that technology may not be able to repair broken homes or reverse the emotion or physical trauma experienced by foster children, but it can improve their educational experience.

State Tax Collections Continue Rapid Pace in November

State tax collectors hauled in $2.416 billion last month, keeping the recent trend of above-benchmark receipts going as the November total exceeded Baker administration expectations by almost 9 percent.

Advances - Week of Dec. 5, 2021

Gov. Charlie Baker has built a dedicated team in his administration and their loyalty will be put to the test over the year ahead now that the governor has revealed that he's leaving the office for good after 2022.

Baker: Vaccination Surge Could Cut Hospitalizations By Half

If every unvaccinated person in Massachusetts got their COVID-19 shots, the state's COVID-19 hospitalization rate would drop by 50 percent, Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday.

Baker Gets Spending Bill He’s Been Pushing For

It looks a lot different from the bill he proposed, but Gov. Charlie Baker finally has on his desk a version of legislation doling out billions of dollars in federal economic relief funds and surplus state tax revenue.

Grants Will Boost Vocational Learning for People with Disabilities

With $17 million from the federal government, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission plans to reimagine the ways that it tries to connect people with disabilities to job skills and employment opportunities.

Senate Session Summary - Friday, Dec. 3

After around half an hour of discussion between budget chief Sen. Michael Rodrigues and Republican leader Sen. Bruce Tarr, the Senate in an informal session Friday accepted and enacted the $4 billion compromise investment package disbursing state surplus revenues and a majority of its federal American Rescue Plan Act aid. "I know this is a little unusual, but not unprecedented, that we are taking this issue up in an informal session," Rodrigues said in his opening remarks.

Baker Signs Genocide Education Bill

Students in Massachusetts middle and high schools will soon learn about the history of genocides around the globe as a required part of their curriculum.

Neal High On East-West Rail Prospects

A passenger rail link between Boston and western Massachusetts is "one of the most essential infrastructure investments we anticipate making" now that a federal infrastructure package has been signed into law, Congressman Richard Neal said Thursday.

No Compromise Needed: Lawmakers Pack All Pet Projects Into $4B Bill

For Boston University climate scientist Michael Walsh, the $4 billion COVID-19 relief spending package that's on the cusp of being sent to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk could be a huge windfall.

House Quick To Pass $4 Billion Spending Bill

The Massachusetts House approved a roughly $4 billion compromise spending bill on Thursday and legislative leaders appeared ready to push it to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk on Friday when both branches are scheduled to hold sessions.

Hodgson Opponent Gets Push From Beacon Hill Dems

A Fall River Democrat vying to unseat long-serving Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson got a hand from some state lawmakers this week as he raised money for his campaign.

GBH Launching Weekly Politics Show

A new television show scheduled to debut Friday at 7 p.m. plans to cover local politics with a special focus on the 2022 Massachusetts gubernatorial race -- a contest that was blown open after Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Wednesday that they would not seeking reelection.

Chang-Diaz Snags Backing Of People’s Action Network

A day after Gov. Charlie Baker announced he would not seek reelection in 2022, a national progressive group waded into the Massachusetts gubernatorial race to throw its support behind a Democratic state senator seeking her party's nomination.

State Pension Fund Balance Tops $100 Billion

It's always carried a hefty balance of assets, but the state pension fund has now cleared a threshold that might cause a few double takes.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Dec. 2

The House approved a compromise $4 billion spending package (H 4269) that uses part of the state's share of American Rescue Act Plan funds and surplus tax revenue, setting it up for likely Senate passage on Friday.

Top Doc Urged Mass. To “Stay Masked”

[Coverage Developing] Two days after the first case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant was officially confirmed in Massachusetts, the head of the state's largest hospital system stressed the importance of vaccines and masks.

House Session Summary - Monday, Dec. 6

Having completed one of House Speaker Ronald Mariano's priorities for 2021 last week by getting legislation spending about $4 billion of American Rescue Plan Act money and surplus tax revenue to the governor's desk, the House met for about two minutes Monday morning before adjourning until Thursday.

Gov. Charlie Baker appears emotional as Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito discusses their decision Wednesday not to run for third terms. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - “We Love the Work”

Family. A polarized political environment. A pandemic on the resurgence.

House Session Summary - Friday, Dec. 3

The Legislature on Friday sent Gov. Charlie Baker a nearly $4 billion spending package aimed at helping the state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a move that comes two weeks after both branches ended formal sessions for the year.

Uncaptioned image for story:Goldberg Seems To Tip Hand On Reelection Plan

Goldberg Seems To Tip Hand On Reelection Plan

Two-term Treasurer Deb Goldberg may wait until next year to officially announce her political plans but seemed to tip her hand in a radio interview Thursday when she said she looked forward to working with the next governor and talked about how much she loves her job.

On Guv’s Bid, Walsh Deflects To Work At Labor Department

If former Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is interested in running for governor of Massachusetts next year, he gave no indication of it when asked about the race Friday morning during a national radio appearance.

Uncaptioned image for story:Narrow Senate Vote Edges Rollins Nomination Forward

Narrow Senate Vote Edges Rollins Nomination Forward

Democrats in the U.S. Senate took a major step forward toward confirmation of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to become the next top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, narrowly voting on Thursday to bring her nomination forward to the full Senate.

President Joe Biden visited the National Institutes of Health in Maryland on Thursday to detail his strategy for managing the COVID-19 pandemic this winter without imposing new restrictions on the economy. [Screenshot]

Free Rapid Tests Part Of Biden’s Winter COVID Strategy

As COVID-19 cases surge in Massachusetts and around the country and scientists begin to get a better picture of a worrisome new variant circulating, President Joe Biden on Thursday laid out his strategy to control the pandemic this winter without putting new restrictions on the economy.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Dec. 2

After a session where the two senators present advanced a local bill for Rehoboth and admitted a new petition dealing with municipal regulation of solar energy sitings, the Senate scheduled a Friday morning gathering with the intention of completing work on a $4 billion bill appropriating much of the state's surplus tax revenues and American Rescue Plan Act funds. "The Senate's plan is to take it up first thing in session tomorrow. ... And our plan is to get the bill onto the governor's desk before the end of the day tomorrow," Sen. Jason Lewis told the News Service.

Former Top House Aide Starts Own Firm

Beacon Hill has a new lobbying firm as a longtime House staff attorney is breaking out on her own, leaving the firm started by former House budget chief Brian Dempsey and forming A. Lucey Strategies.

Fed: Higher Menu Prices Not Translating Into Restaurant Profits

Prices on Massachusetts restaurant menus have been increasing more than usual in recent weeks, but restaurant profit margins have actually been lower as they deal with significant increases in labor and food costs, the Federal Reserve Bank said in its latest update on economic conditions.

Free Bus Plans Advance in Merrimack Valley, Boston

Fare-free public transit continues to gain momentum in some Massachusetts communities, with the Boston City Council and the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority both taking action on Wednesday to expand the idea's reach.

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Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
New Confirmed Cases5,170
Total Confirmed Cases865,450
Total Deaths19,462
Full Vaccinations4,883,161

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State House News Service