... Holyoke, New Bedford police departments, Essex sheriff among new P.A.A.R.I. Recovery Corp members ...... Sanders for president supporters launch Massachusetts campaign network ...... New Bedford charter bill causes stir at informal House session, which Hawkins halts with quorum call ...... Medford mayor knocks "major decrease" in education aid under state budget proposals ...... In committee testimony, Cullinane says majority of House supports wage theft bill ...... With summer around the corner, lawmakers still working on local road and bridge repair bill ...... WCRI study examines impact of workers compensation prices on health outcomes ...... Senate sticks by Ways and Means language directing UMass to freeze tuition and fees ...
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House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:

LATEST WEEKLY ROUNDUP - QUALITY CONTROL

Finally, the cold spring is over. The speaker is feuding with college students and the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the House and Senate are headed for high-stakes conference committee negotiations over pharmaceutical drug pricing, Sen. Edward Markey found out his 2020 re-election won't be a cakewalk, and the Department of Environmental Protection may have botched a gas pipeline project permit. Read More

As education funding activists protested outside House Speaker Robert DeLeo's office Wednesday, a House court officer spoke to former Massachusetts Teachers Association president Barbara Madeloni and current vice president Max Page. A barrage of security personnel, veterans, and lawmakers approached ralliers asking them to pause their demonstration during a Gold Star families Memorial Day service happening downstairs. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res

ADVANCES - WEEK OF MAY 26, 2019

Next year's University of Massachusetts tuition and fee rates, the extent of new state regulation of pharmaceutical companies, and the size of an aid package for the nursing home industry are among the issues where the House and Senate hold significantly different views heading into the fiscal 2020 budget conference committee. Read More


VETERAN TAX RELIEF ADVOCATE CHIP FAULKER DIES AT 73

Chip Faulkner, an ardent supporter of tax relief and veteran of many Beacon Hill battles, died Friday after fighting pancreatic cancer for the past year. Read More


POPULATION GROWTH CITED IN 82 PERCENT OF MASS. COMMUNITIES

The state's U.S. Census liaison is reporting "encouraging numbers" about population growth ahead of next year's Census, with the largest population increases since the 2010 Census in the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett and Lowell. Read More


Thursday, May 23, 2019

SENATE SESSION – THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2019

The Massachusetts Senate passed a roughly $42.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday night, leaving a little more than five weeks for negotiations between the House and Senate ahead of the July 1 start of the fiscal year. The Senate voted 40-0 around 10:30 p.m. Thursday to adopt the spending plan, which was amended over the course of three days of debate in the Senate Chamber. In total, senators tacked about $74.4 million in additional spending onto the fiscal 2020 budget that the Ways and Means Committee proposed, the committee said. Read More


DELEO ACCUSES STUDENTS OF "TRUMPIAN TACTICS" IN ED FUNDING FIGHT

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has accused college students and organizers frustrated with his response to their higher education funding protests this week of using "Trumpian tactics," miffed by allegations being spread online that he had threatened their arrest and that the State House uses facial recognition software. Read More


SENATE BACKS BIG INCREASE FOR NON-PROFIT SECURITY

The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to direct $600,000 towards a state grant program that helps religious and nonprofit facilities "at risk of terrorism and violent threat" improve their security. Read More


PATRIOTS PLAYERS URGE ACTION ON ED $$$ BY AUGUST

A group of New England Patriots players who have been advocating for education funding reform in Massachusetts urged state lawmakers on Thursday to move a bill out of committee next month and pass it into law before they take their summer break in August. Read More


UMASS OBJECTIONS TO TUITION FREEZE FALL FLAT IN SENATE

Throughout three days of budget debate, the Senate has decided to stand by language prohibiting student cost increases at the University of Massachusetts, with the outcome to ultimately be settled in talks with the House. Read More


BAKER UNSURE OF NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE BILL'S CHANCES

Gov. Charlie Baker said he and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh returned from a two-day trip to Washington last week feeling pretty good about the chances of seeing a national infrastructure bill move through Congress. Now he's not so sure. Read More


SENATE SESSION - (10:45 A.M. - 3:30 P.M.) - THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2019

The Senate immediately opened its third day of fiscal year 2020 budget debate by bundling together 36 amendments for approval and 29 for rejection, leaving it with roughly 10 percent of the total amendments left to work through. Read More


SENATE BUMPS UP TRANSPORTATION AID FOR REGIONAL SCHOOLS

The Senate voted Thursday to add another $2 million in spending on regional school transportation reimbursement to its fiscal year 2020 budget document, an area of education funding where lawmakers from both parties said the state has not "kept its promise." Read More


GUV AGAIN SEEKING GREATER PENALTIES FOR REPEAT CHILD RAPISTS

Days after the state's highest court ordered the release of convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman, Gov. Charlie Baker refiled legislation to reform the state's civil commitment laws for sex offenders. Read More


DRUG PRICING REFORM SETTING UP AS BIG ISSUE FOR CONFEREES

While the details remain to be worked out, it appears pharmaceutical companies will soon face a new regulatory process in Massachusetts aimed at protecting taxpayers from footing the bill for some of the most expensive drugs on the market. Read More


AFTER ADDING $74.4 MIL, SENATE ADOPTS FY20 BUDGET

The Massachusetts Senate passed a roughly $42.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday night, leaving a little more than five weeks for negotiations between the House and Senate ahead of the July 1 start of the fiscal year. Read More


DELEO TELEGRAPHS VOTE ON UNION DUES BILL BEFORE JULY 4

House Speaker Robert DeLeo hopes to pass legislation before July 4 that would allow unions to charge non-members fees for representation in arbitration and grievance cases. Read More


WEYMOUTH COMPRESSOR OPPONENTS URGE STATE TO VACATE AIR QUALITY PERMIT

Petitioners challenging a proposed natural gas compressor station in Weymouth asked Thursday for the state to scrap the facility's air-quality permit or allow for air in the neighborhood to be reevaluated, arguing that hundreds of pages of new data released late in the process show that initial estimates of the facility's health impacts were incomplete. Read More


TEEN DATING VIOLENCE PREVENTION GETS BOOST FROM SENATE TO $1MIL

After rejecting a Republican sponsored amendment to boost funding for teen dating violence prevention, the Senate on Wednesday night adopted a similar amendment filed by Sen. Becca Rausch to make $1 million available next year to promote healthy youth relationships. Read More


NEW BEDFORD CHARTER SCHOOL EXPANSION BILL BLOCKED IN HOUSE

A bill state education officials want to see passed by the end of the month to execute a deal between New Bedford and a charter school in that city hit a speed bump Thursday in the House of Representatives and could face a rocky path ahead with some representatives wanting a larger debate. Read More


RIGHT TO CHOOSE SAFE IN MASSACHUSETTS, BAKER ASSURES

Acknowledging a "tremendous amount of anxiety" over abortion rights around the country, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that a woman's right to choose is safe in Massachusetts, even if he remains skeptical of expanding abortion access. "I certainly will do everything I need to do to protect a woman's right to choose here in Massachusetts, period," Baker said during an interview on Boston Public Radio. Read More


CTHRU NOW BREAKING DOWN STATE SETTLEMENTS, JUDGEMENTS

The state comptroller has added two new data sets to its open checkbook and financial transparency website, along with a new way of presenting the data to the public. Read More


EVERSOURCE PAYS $250,000 PENALTY TO RESOLVE WAGE VIOLATIONS

Eversource, which began compensating employees for payroll errors prior to a state investigation, will pay $250,000 for wage and hour law violations that affected 3,000 Massachusetts workers, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Thursday. Read More


HOUSE SESSION - THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2019

The House was forced to adjourn suddenly Thursday after a Attleboro Rep. James Hawkins doubted the presence of a quorum when a New Bedford charter school petition was introduced, and no quorum was present. Read More


MEDFORD FACING $1 MIL NET REDUCTION IN STATE EDUCATION AID

Beacon Hill leaders are touting big increases in K-12 education spending but the math is not working out for Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke. Medford faces a net state education aid revenue cut of $861,000 under the House's fiscal 2020 budget and of $1.19 million under the Senate budget, the mayor's office estimates, and city officials blame most of the problem on the way the state is covering charter school costs. Read More


SENATE DONE WITH 90 PERCENT OF ITS BUDGET AMENDMENTS

[Coverage Developing] Heading into its third day of state budget deliberations, the Senate had about 185 amendments left to its fiscal 2020 budget, before immediately putting a huge dent in the remaining workload. Read More


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

SENATE SESSION - WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2019 - 5 P.M. - 10 P.M.

Senators had less than 200 amendments remaining before them when they concluded their second day of budget debate around 10 p.m. Wednesday. Wednesday night's session was punctuated by passionate speeches from Sen. Marc Pacheco of Taunton on nursing home closures. Pointing to a municipally run facility in his hometown on the brink of closure, Pacheco called the funding of nursing homes "one of the biggest issues that we face as a society here in Massachusetts right now." He unsuccessfully sought to have the Senate reconsider its rejection of an amendment that would have prohibited patients from being relocated more than 25 miles away if their nursing home closes, disagreeing with Ways and Means Vice Chair Cindy Friedman's assessment that the language would prevent people who want to move farther away for specialty care from doing so. The Senate plans to return at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for a third day of debate that could stretch late into the evening. - Katie Lannan Read More


COLLEGE STUDENT SIT-IN COMES TO LOUD, TENSE END

Student protesters from the University of Massachusetts Amherst ended their five-day State House sit-in on Wednesday, after saying legislative leaders did not respect their voices and following a brief but tense confrontation with participants in a military event. Read More

House Public Safety Chairman Harold Naughton, a ma

House Public Safety Chairman Harold Naughton, a major in the Massachusetts National Guard, came upstairs from a Gold Star families event Wednesday to ask student protesters to stop chanting during the ceremony, which honored fallen soldiers and sailors ahead of Memorial Day. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


WORRIED CASINO EXEC ASSURES "EVERYTHING'S ON TRACK"

With Wynn Resorts ditching talks over possibly selling its Everett project to MGM Resorts and confirming its intention to open the resort in one month, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Wednesday pivoted towards some of the nitty-gritty decisions that are part of opening a casino. Read More


EVERETT CASINO WILL SERVE ALCOHOL 'TIL 4 A.M.

Active gamblers at Encore Boston Harbor in Everett will be able to get complimentary alcoholic beverages from the time bars close at 2 a.m. until 4 a.m. after the Gaming Commission voted Wednesday to approve the casino's later last call. Read More


ELEVATED HOME PRICES FORECAST THROUGH THE SUMMER MONTHS

Home sales and sale prices rose in Massachusetts last month, with the median sale price setting a new record for April at $382,500. Read More


DEP CALLS DELAY IN RELEASE OF AIR QUALITY TESTS "STANDARD PRACTICE"

Facing the threat of sanctions for waiting three days to providing air-quality data to parties in an appeal case, the Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday it had no intention to delay the proceeding and that it notified attorneys "as promptly as reasonably possible." Read More


SENATE SESSION - (10:30 A.M. - 5 P.M.) - WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2019

Senators on Wednesday are continuing to make their way through their fiscal 2020 budget debate are expected to continue into the evening. Amendments discussed so far have dealt with topics including aid for rural schools, civics education, home care worker pay, and food insecurity. Read More


BUS PILOT WILL OFFER SUMMERTIME SHORTCUT TO LOGAN

Allowing Silver Line buses heading toward Logan International Airport to circumvent traffic via an emergency access ramp, which the state plans to study in a summertime pilot program, may reduce trip times by more than 10 minutes, but the route could only be used safely under certain conditions, MBTA officials said. Read More


SENATE ALLOCATES $1.5 MIL FOR CIVICS EDUCATION

Six months after the governor signed a law implementing new statewide civics education requirements, the Senate moved Wednesday to dedicate $1.5 million in next year's budget to help implement the new curriculum. Read More


TICKET-CASHING SCHEME CATCHES UP TO OCTOGENARIAN

A Lynn man who has frequently claimed large Massachusetts Lottery prizes and has been eyed by the Lottery and others as possibly being involved in a nefarious scheme pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to tax fraud charges. Read More


SENATE REJECTS TEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION FUNDING BOOST

The Senate rejected a budget amendment Wednesday that would have boosted funding for teen domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programming, on the same day Gov. Charlie Baker rolled out a new public awareness campaign to promote healthy teen relationships. Read More


SENATE BRISKLY MOVING THROUGH BUDGET AMENDMENTS

When it recessed for lunch around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Senate had dealt with more than half of the amendments filed to leadership's proposed $42.7 billion fiscal year 2020 budget. Read More


SENATE REJECTS AMENDMENT TO BOOST MINIMUM EDUCATION AID

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a budget amendment that would have increased the minimum education aid every district receives from $30 per pupil to $100 per pupil on a 7-32 vote Wednesday. Read More


UNION TO DELIVER PETITIONS TO BOSTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE

The state Legislature isn't the only deliberative body hearing a louder-than-usual message this year from students, teachers and activists who are frustrated with government's approach to education. Read More


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

WYNN REMAINS 'COMMITTED' TO CASINO AS MGM TALKS CRUMBLE

The discussions between Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts around a possible sale of the soon-to-open Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett are over and Wynn Resorts says it is committed to its Boston-area project. Read More


PROTEST WORRIES PROMPT CLOSURE OF SENATE VIEWING GALLERY

Before changing course mid-afternoon, the Senate opted to close one of two galleries from which the public is allowed to observe debate Tuesday due to the possibility of activists blocking access to the chamber as senators began to debate one of the most significant pieces of legislation of the session. Read More

Senate court officer Joseph O'Donnell guarded a cl

Senate court officer Joseph O'Donnell guarded a closed-off public gallery on Tuesday, the first day of Senate budget debate, and redirected a State House visitor to another gallery on the opposite side of the chamber. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


THREE COST CENTERS CONSUME HALF OF STATE BUDGET

About half of the $42.7 billion Senate budget proposal is consumed by spending in just three areas - health care, pensions and debt service - leaving some senators worried about underinvestment in other priority areas like transportation, housing and the environment. Read More


STATE TURNING TO FEE HIKES TO BOOST COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

As it kicked off its budget deliberations Tuesday, the Senate followed the House's lead and voted to raise the fees that are used to fund the popular Community Preservation Act in hopes of making what is supposed to be a state-local partnership more equitable. Read More


HEALEY IN MULTI-STATE SUIT OVER CARE PROVIDER RULE

More than $12 billion in federal funding for public health programs in Massachusetts could be at risk by a proposed Trump administration rule that Attorney General Maura Healey sued to block on Tuesday along with 23 states, cities and counties. Read More


VINEYARD WIND SEEKS HELP IN PROTECTING RIGHT WHALES

The company preparing to build an 84-turbine wind farm off the coast of Martha's Vineyard put out a call Tuesday to universities, technology companies and other innovators that could help implement a system to detect the presence of endangered North Atlantic right whales during construction. Read More


SENATE SESSION - (10 A.M. - 1 P.M.) - TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2019

The Senate began debate on its $42.7 billion fiscal 2020 budget on Monday, adopting its first amendment before breaking for lunch just after 1 p.m. The amendment, offered by Majority Leader Cynthia Creem, would boost the real-estate transaction fees that support the Community Preservation Act. Read More


APPELLANTS GET TWO EXTRA DAYS TO ANALYZE AIR QUALITY DATA

As controversy swirls over new air quality testing data introduced into an appeal hearing at the last minute, the case's presiding officer has granted parties challenging a natural gas compressor station's permit additional to review the new information. Read More


SENATE SESSION - (7:35 P.M. - 8:26 P.M.) - TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2019

By the close of the Senate's first day of fiscal 2020 budget debate, the chamber had approved 89 of 1,142 amendments filed to the spending bill and rejected another 141. Read More


SENATE SESSION - (1 P.M. - 7 P.M.) - TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2019

After returning from a lunch break, the Senate embarked in earnest on the nearly 1,150 amendments filed to its fiscal year 2020 budget. Read More


CALLS GROW FOR DEP TO "RECONSIDER" AIR QUALITY PERMITS

The organization whose health impact assessment opened the way for a proposed natural gas compressor station in Weymouth believes the state should "reconsider" an air-quality permit issued to the project after hundreds of pages of new data showed higher levels of toxins than previously detected. Read More


WINDOW SHORTENING FOR NEW BEDFORD CHARTER BILL

The clock is ticking for lawmakers to act on a bill needed to execute a deal between New Bedford officials and a charter school that wants to expand in that city, according to Education Commissioner Jeff Riley. Read More


LAWMAKERS ASSEMBLING AID PACKAGE FOR NURSING HOMES

Amid what they decried as a crisis for thousands of people who live in nursing facilities across Massachusetts, hundreds of nursing home residents, their families, nurses, caretakers, and advocates packed the Grand Staircase on Tuesday morning to implore lawmakers to help the struggling nursing home industry. Read More

In front of a backdrop of nursing home advocates,

In front of a backdrop of nursing home advocates, Rep. Denise Garlick said Tuesday that emphasis should be placed on the effect facility closures have on seniors who lose their home of choice. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


McQUILKEN LOOKING AT POSSIBLE RUN FOR CONGRESS

With U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton increasingly on the road as he campaigns for president, potential candidates back home are beginning to make plans to run for his seat should Moulton become the Democratic nominee, or even if he doesn't. Add a new name to the list: Angus McQuilken. Read More

Angus McQuilken spoke at a gun violence prevention

Angus McQuilken spoke at a gun violence prevention event at the State House in 2018. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File] | Hi-Res


BICKFORD

DEM PARTY CHAIR SEES DANGER IN DEP'S HANDLING OF COMPRESSOR CASE

The Massachusetts Democratic Party has joined the critics knocking the Baker administration's handling of air quality tests that led the Department of Environmental Protection to issue an important state permit to Enbridge, which plans to build a natural gas compressor station in Weymouth. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service