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Advances - Look At The Week Ahead

Lawmakers are set to vet some weighty matters next week as they wait for signals from legislative leaders and Gov. Charlie Baker about some immediate concerns and developments. Bills addressing aid in dying, decriminalization of drugs, and supervised drug consumption sites are due up for public hearings, along with one designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day.

Robinson Looking Forward To Energy Challenges

If Rep. Maria Robinson makes it through the federal nomination process to become the next assistant secretary in the Office of Electricity, she hopes to dive into the intersection of electricity and transportation as well as geothermal energy.

Judges Denies State Police Bid For Injunction On Vax Mandate

A Superior Court judge on Thursday denied the request of the union representing 1,800 members of the State Police to block the implementation of Gov. Charlie Baker's vaccine mandate until the details can be collectively bargained.

House Agrees to Vaccine Mandate For Reps, Staff

The House voted Thursday to require all members and staff to be fully vaccinated if they want to work out of the State House, agreeing to strict new COVID-19 health protocols that will put it mostly in line with the Senate and Gov. Charlie Baker's policies on employee vaccination. The measure is intended to be the first step toward reopening the State House to all legislators, staff and, eventually, lobbyists, advocates and the general public.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Sept. 23

In a heated and sometimes emotional session, House Democrats adopted a State House reopening framework featuring a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on House members and employees who wish to work in-person.

House Adopts Vaccine Mandate For Reps, House Employees

[Story Developing] The House voted Thursday to require all of its members and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they want to work out of the State House, agreeing to strict new pandemic rules after an emotionally charged debate.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Sept. 23

The Senate approved a compromise version of legislation shuffling the redistricting and reprecincting process Thursday, sending to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk a revision of the bill opposed earlier this year by elections overseer Secretary William Galvin and the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Biggest Offshore Wind Procurement Draws Just Two Bids

The two companies already chosen to develop offshore wind projects for Massachusetts were the only two to submit proposals for the state's third offshore wind solicitation, each offering up to 1,200 megawatts of power generation and various economic development-related sweeteners.

Massport Optimistic Despite “Softening” Air Travel

Buoyed by a passenger surge in July, Massachusetts Port Authority officials are optimistic that the return of air travel through Logan International Airport is outpacing their earlier projections even as the Delta variant portends a forthcoming slowdown.

State Council Approves Tax Packages To Leverage $130 Mil In Investments

A state council that oversees a tax credit and incentive program on Thursday approved aid for eight projects, including a planned boutique inn and speakeasy bar in Peabody and the developer of a hotel on the site of the long abandoned Great Barrington high school and middle school.

Senate Again Looks To Engage House on Sex Ed

For supporters of a comprehensive sexual health education curriculum who have never found a receptive audience in the Massachusetts House, maybe the fourth time will be the charm. Before advancing student nutrition and gender-neutral records bills, the state Senate on Thursday approved legislation (S 2534) requiring school districts that offer sex education to deploy medically accurate, age-appropriate programs.

Auditor: Rethink Reliance on Boards, Limit Holdovers

A day after the Legislature held a hearing on a bill that would task the state auditor with examining the worthiness of hundreds of state commissions, Auditor Suzanne Bump released a report Thursday that found Gov. Charlie Baker's office relies heavily on the practice of letting board and commission members serve long after their terms have expired.

Expanded Eligibility for Parent Coaching Program

More young parents in Massachusetts are now eligible for a family support and coaching program aimed at reducing abuse and neglect by helping create stable and nurturing environments for children.

House Vaccine Order Also Triggers Extension Of Remote Voting

Eyeing a way to get back to face-to-face dealmaking in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, House leaders on Thursday will ask lawmakers to approve a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all members and staff who want to work from the State House, brushing off the concerns of some legislators who believe it's a step too far.

Judge Weighs In On Commutations, Women’s Prison

Appearing before the Governor's Council to seek elevation to the Superior Court, District Court Judge Cathleen Campbell on Wednesday applauded coverage of the recent push to commute a Brockton man's prison sentence, and knocked a proposed new women's prison.

Livestream Restored As Council Vets Superior Court Nominee

The elected panel that votes on Gov. Charlie Baker's judicial nominees reactivated its public livestream Wednesday, after live video of meetings in the shuttered State House was abruptly disabled last week.

Rep Seeks Independence For Climatologist Post That’s Unfilled

The position has not been fully funded or filled since it was established, but Rep. Ken Gordon on Wednesday made a case for moving the office of the state climatologist out of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs secretariat and giving it independence.

Bill Aims To Force Gender Balance, Diversity On Public Boards

A number of state boards and commissions would need their memberships to better reflect the state's population based on gender, race, and ethnicity under legislation that advocates say would balance out the makeup of high-profile public bodies.

Rehab Agency Grappling With Disconnect In Client Demographics

Nearly eight out of 10 people with disabilities served by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission last year were white, a higher rate than the statewide population makeup that prompted the agency's head to call for a renewed focus on reaching people of all races and ethnicities.

New Tool Maps Birds, Fish In Offshore Wind Areas

Location, location, location. While federal and state officials eagerly pursue a rapid and significant deployment of offshore wind turbines to generate cleaner power along the East Coast, scientists and advocates on Wednesday unveiled a new mapping tool designed to give developers, regulators and the public a better sense of the natural resources below the surface in the neighborhood of proposed wind projects.

Protesters hold up signs in support of Haitian migrants at the southern border at a rally outside the JFK Federal Building in Boston Friday. A number of elected officials from Boston attended the event and criticized Biden administration immigration policies and the treatment of those trying to enter the United States. [Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - They Were On a Boat

Sal DiMasi, before his fall from grace, had the life sciences and health care. Bob DeLeo left his mark with an expansion of gaming. And whether his speakership ends in a year or 10, House Speaker Ron Mariano seems to want to be remembered as the wind whisperer.

At a rally outside the JFK Federal Building in Boston Friday, Boston City Council at-Large candidate Ruthzee Louijeune said "whether under the Trump administration or under the Biden administration, this country has said loudly: Haitians we don't want you here." [Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Pols Demand New Approach To Haitian Migrants

In the wake of controversial images showing U.S. agents on horseback chasing Haitian migrants at the country's border with Mexico, politicians in Massachusetts and Boston are criticizing the Biden administration's immigration policies and treatment of those trying to enter the U.S.

Masks Back, Poker On Its Way At Springfield Casino

Things have been going smoothly at the state's casinos and slots parlor as they adapt to local health and safety measures and continue to adjust their offerings to consumers, gaming regulators said Thursday.

The Charlesbank Landing project features a new visitors center, the park's first year-round public restrooms, and more than 70,000 square feet of landscape improvements. [Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates/via the Esplanade Association]

Lease Bill Could Unlock Major Esplanade Project

The nonprofit that partners with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to steward Boston's Charles River Esplanade is planning a $20 million gift to the state that it says would "transform" an area that's been largely closed off to the public for decades.

Mayflower Wind Bid Pledges Fall River Operations Base

[Coverage Developing] If one of its proposals is selected as the third offshore wind farm for Massachusetts, Mayflower Wind plans to set up an operations and maintenance port in Fall River and spend up to $81 million on economic development programs on the South Coast.

Uncaptioned image for story:Rare Delay Temporarily Stalls Rollins Nomination

Rare Delay Temporarily Stalls Rollins Nomination

Republicans on Thursday postponed for a week a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to become the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.

Top Legislators Offer Suite of Soldiers' Home Reforms

Massachusetts would transform the oversight of its two state-run soldiers' homes, impose new certification requirements at the facilities and on its top leaders, and elevate the secretary of veterans' services to a Cabinet-level position, under a sweeping reform bill lawmakers plan to file Thursday.

Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham. [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Biden Taps Framingham Rep For Federal Energy Post

President Joe Biden announced plans late Wednesday to nominate Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham to join his administration in the U.S. Department of Energy.

"What do you think, is this a pretty good place for wind, yes or no?" Gov. Charlie Baker said as he pretended to be blown away by the breeze during a Wednesday visit to an offshore wind workforce training site at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. [Screenshot]

Higher Ed Expanding Partnership Around Offshore Wind

A partnership among higher education institutions in southeastern Massachusetts focused on the offshore wind sector will soon expand to involve twice as many schools, the head of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy said Wednesday.

House Session Summary - Wednesday, Sept. 22

House leaders introduced an order on Wednesday to require vaccines for all members and staff working out of the State House, and scheduled a debate on the "reopening" plan for Thursday. House Rules Committee Chairman William Galvin also filed and the House adopted an order giving legislators until 5 p.m. to file amendments to the reopening plan ahead of Thursday's session. - Matt Murphy

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Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
New Confirmed Cases1,821
Total Confirmed Cases745,771
Total Deaths18,504
Full Vaccinations4,597,638

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State House News Service