ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.

SHNS Coronavirus Tracker

SHNS Coronavirus Tracker

The Latest on COVID-19

  • VA: Dislodged Plug Compromises 1,900 Vaccine Doses 4:38 PM Fri
  • How Gov. Baker Unwinds 2:02 PM Fri
  • Superintendents: Move Educators Up In Vaccine Plan 1:15 PM Fri

Last update:

Connector Extends Open Enrollment Until March 23

Residents who need to buy health insurance will now have until March 23 to get coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector's open enrollment period, the Connector announced Friday.

Boston Nears 50,000 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

As Boston approaches a cumulative total of 50,000 COVID-19 cases, city officials urged residents Friday to trust and seek out vaccines as soon as they are available.

Panel Seeks February Agreement on Next OCPF Director

The panel seeking a new director for the Office of Campaign and Political Finance is eyeing a mid-February timeframe to interview its finalists, who will face initial questions about their management styles, the agency's nonpartisan nature and their responses to past professional challenges.

Mass. Jobless Rate Rose in December to 7.4 Percent

The state's unemployment rate ticked back up in December, climbing to 7.4 percent and again rising above the national average, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Friday morning.

Uncaptioned image for story:Lawmakers Continue to Sort Through Holyoke Home Tragedy

Lawmakers Continue to Sort Through Holyoke Home Tragedy

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders believes that a lack of preparation and infection control protocols, rather than staffing issues or the background of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home's superintendent, was the biggest factor behind a tragic COVID-19 outbreak that struck the facility last spring.

Fitch: Mass. Jobless Picture Worse Than It Appears

There is more to the Massachusetts labor market than meets the eye, analysts at Fitch Ratings said this week.

Vaccine Access Expanded to Full Range of Health Workers

More health care workers, including those who work with patients in their homes, are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines as of Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced, opening up eligibility to the full suite of priority groups included in the first phase of his three-fold vaccine distribution plan.

General Local Aid Will Rise by $39.5 Mil in Baker Budget

Gov. Charlie Baker next week will file a budget that recommends increasing the state's $1.13 billion general local aid account by $39.5 million, keeping with his administration's past practice to align growth in non-school aid for the cities and towns with estimated increases in tax revenue for the coming year.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Jan. 21

The Legislature tied a bow on its first bill of the new session Thursday, sending to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk a piece of sick-leave legislation that was among the unfinished business of the 191st General Court. George Monfreda, an employee of the Department of Mental Health at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, is in line to get a "sick leave bank" allowing co-workers to donate their sick, personal, or vacation days for his use.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Jan. 21

The House sent business relief legislation (H 55) from Gov. Charlie Baker that would freeze the rate schedule for unemployment insurance trust fund contributions to the temporary House Ways and Means Committee during their Thursday session. The governor refiled the bill last week after the Legislature did not move it across the finish line in the final hours of the 2019-2020 session and it remained in House Ways and Means as the clock expired on the 191st General Court.

Call Volume Highlights Craving for Vaccine, Testing Info

The first day that it was up and running, a hotline that offers to answer COVID-19 testing and vaccination questions for Cape Cod residents was bombarded with calls, 990 of them in the first eight and a half hours, officials said.

Biden Freezes Regulations to Afford Reviews

One of the Biden administration's first acts is a freeze on regulations, pending review, in an apparent attempt to allow for the vetting of any rules issued in the last throes of the Trump administration.

Holyoke Investigation Pivots to Staffing at Soldiers' Home

Lawmakers are poised on Thursday to dig into whether staff and labor issues might have exacerbated a catastrophic COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home.

GOP Rep Reups Effort to Relax Gun Licensing Checks

A Webster Republican is again proposing a process that would allow Massachusetts residents to apply for firearms licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic without first getting fingerprinted, refiling legislation that did not gain traction at the tail end of last session.

Group Alleges Immigrants Improperly Denied Unemployment Benefits

Hundreds of Massachusetts immigrants who legally qualify for unemployment benefits have been improperly blocked from the aid, a legal advocacy group alleged as it called for immediate action from the Baker administration.

Mass. Pols Express Relief As Biden Takes Office

Massachusetts politicians took to social media Wednesday and said they breathed a collective sigh of relief as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in to the two highest offices in the country.

Search for Top Campaign Finance Regulator Resumes Friday

Almost a year since applicants first submitted their resumes to replace Office of Campaign and Political Finance Director Michael Sullivan, the search process that had been on hiatus since March is set to resume this week.

One GOP, Two Inaugural Messages

For Gov. Charlie Baker and his Massachusetts Republican Party, inauguration day was a contrast in words.

Advances - Week of Jan. 24

Amid what is now more widespread COVID-19 vaccination in addition to the continuing virus testing and transmission, Massachusetts lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker next week take a big step into the new session.

Uncaptioned image for story:DeLeo Joining Alma Mater Northeastern as Fellow

DeLeo Joining Alma Mater Northeastern as Fellow

Former House Speaker Robert DeLeo has officially joined Northeastern University as a fellow and will both teach and mentor students at his alma mater, according to his lawyer.

Soldiers from the Massachusetts Army National Guard provided security support outside the U.S. Capitol on Inauguration Day, part of the roughly 25,000 National Guard personnel dispatched to Washington to ensure a peaceful transfer of power Wednesday. [Capt. Aaron Smith/Mass. National Guard]

Weekly Roundup - Friends in High Places

After four years of watching Donald Trump govern by tweet, President Joe Biden took to the medium from which Trump is now banned on Wednesday morning with a message of his own.

Gov. Charlie Baker gave his annual address to the Massachusetts Municipal Association on Friday. [Screenshot]

Baker Budget To Fund 2019 School Reform Law

The fiscal year 2022 state budget that Gov. Charlie Baker will file next week will fully fund, for the first time, a major school finance reform law passed in late 2019 to steer $1.5 billion to K-12 schools over seven years, he said Friday.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, pictured at a 2019 news conference, is stepping down next week to take a new post in Washington. [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Pollack Departure Creates Transportation Choice for Baker

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack will depart Gov. Charlie Baker's cabinet next week after six years as one of the most visible secretaries for a leadership role at the Federal Highway Administration, a decision that Baker called "incredibly bittersweet."

Uncaptioned image for story:Baker Lifting Curfew, Stay-at-Home Advisory on Monday

Baker Lifting Curfew, Stay-at-Home Advisory on Monday

Citing improvements to COVID-19 metrics since the start of the year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he will lift the 9:30 p.m. curfew that he imposed in November on restaurants and other businesses, effective Monday.

Baker to Tour Vaccination Site, Hold Afternoon Presser

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to tour the state's first large-scale vaccination site at Gillette Stadium before heading back up to Boston on Thursday afternoon for his first public event at the State House since last week.

Report Examines Views on Hiring People With Disabilities

There is a strong business case to be made for hiring people with disabilities but a "general discomfort" among some employers and other significant barriers contribute to the ongoing underemployment of people with disabilities, a group of lawmakers concluded.

Uncaptioned image for story:New Rule Allows More Students to Administer Vaccine

New Rule Allows More Students to Administer Vaccine

As the pool of people eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 swells, Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel can now tap into the network of students in Massachusetts training to be pharmacists or physician assistants to deliver the shots.

Who’s On The Move? Check The Personnel File

... Sen. John Cronin of Lunenburg has staffed up, with a former Congressional aide and a former legislative aide among his picks ... a former aide to Rep. Christine Barber will take the helm of Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators later this month ... the private non-profit Cotting School, founded in 1893 as the nation's first school for children with disabilities, is planning a leadership change later this year ... an intern with experience on Joe Biden's presidential campaign has joined Rep. Kay Khan's staff ...

Marijuana Retailers File Suit to Void Delivery Rules

Making good on a warning issued months ago, the organization that represents most of the state's marijuana retailers is suing the Cannabis Control Commission to invalidate the new regulations that create a separate category of businesses allowed to deliver non-medical marijuana directly to consumers.

Biden Eyes Eviction Moratorium Extension Through March

As Massachusetts experiments with expanded monetary and legal assistance to prevent evictions during the pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden is making eviction policy a central part of his day one executive actions to address what he is describing as an "almost unprecedented housing affordability crisis."

Read more in the Front Page Archives

Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Friday.
New Confirmed Cases4,935
Total Confirmed Cases467,845
Total Deaths13,987

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