... MTF: budget accord supports continued spending of capital funds on MBTA employees ...... HPC's Altman: Beth Israel Lahey Health merger could boost health care spending by $138 million to $191 million annually ...... Elected rallying around gas workers as National Grid lockout continues ...... Baker sounds inclined to sign bill protecting reproductive rights by repealing antiquated laws ...... Gonzalez says Mass. House need to "act now" to pass Senate-approved wage theft legislation ...... Safe Communities would help students "come to school free of worry of being separated from their parents," MTA head Najimy says ...... NECTA: Senate net neutrality bill "will do little to protect consumers while hurting innovation and economic growth" ...... DeLeo: municipalities can adopt their own ICE policies while state mulls legislative options ...... Activists resist energy conference committee's decision to negotiate in private ...... Advocates look to House to seal deal on caretaker registry ...... Short-term rental regulation, taxation bill fails to emerge after DeLeo suggests vote imminent ...... Lelling statement throws cold water on supervised drug injection sites ...... Senate approves net neutrality bill ...... Opioid, economic development bills face uncertain negotiations that could leave GOP shut out ...... Lawmakers boost revenue estimate, jack up spending in $41.88 billion fiscal 2019 budget accord ...... Budget deal expands earned income tax credit from from 23 to 30 percent of federal credit ...... Branches send Baker bill raising tobacco purchase age to 21 ...... Codfather's fleet heading back to sea, NOAA says ...... State offers draft plan to spend $75 mil Volkswagen emissions settlement ...... U.S. Attorney: Dominican national wanted for murder in the DR arrested in Lynn ...... Tax, equity concerns swirl around advancing community benefit district legislation ...... Linsky, of Natick, taking over for Kaufman as House chair of METCO caucus ...... Sen. Feeney backing Galvin for re-election as secretary of state ...... State Police turn to O'Toole for management advice ...... Coyne nominated for Brockton District Court ...... Despite bump in revenue estimate, lawmakers leave accounts underfunded by $70 mil in compromise budget ...... Mass. Women's Political Caucus re-endorses female legislators seeking re-election ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)
Formal sessions end on July 31, 2018.

LATEST ADVANCES - WEEK OF JULY 22, 2018

Along with a $41.9 billion fiscal 2019 budget, bills raising the tobacco purchase age, rolling back "archaic" abortion and contraception laws, and assessing car renters to pay for municipal police training tumbled on to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk this week. Read More

WEEKEND HOLDS AUTHORIZED UNDER SENATE OPIOID BILL

The House flat out rejected Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to involuntarily hold people addicted to opioids for up to 72 hours to introduce them to treatment, but the Senate on Thursday took a small step toward the governor by voting to allow addicts to be held overnight or over a weekend until a judge can review their case. Read More


PERSONNEL FILE - FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2018

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has a new director of communications, a familiar name around the State House ... Boston Children’s Hospital has a new head of payor relations ... Attorney General Maura Healey has promoted a new leader for her office's open government division ... the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has a new director ... the Joint METCO Caucus has new leadership on the House side ... and the UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has a new leader with a resume stocked with championships. Read More


UNEMPLOYMENT RATE REMAINS LOW, AT 3.5 PERCENT, IN JUNE

The Massachusetts unemployment rate held at 3.5 percent in June and public officials also reported Friday that the state's labor force participation rate is at its highest level in 10 years, with more than 100,000 residents becoming employed over the past year. Read More


WEEKLY ROUNDUP - BILLS COMING DUE

Well, it may not have been Bob DeLeo's greatest budget, but it was his latest. As for Harriette Chandler? Well, she's basically a glass-half-full type, so if you asked her, she'd probably point out it's her earliest! This will be her only budget as Senate president. Read More

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez talk

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez talked to reporters Wednesday after the release of a compromise House-Senate budget for fiscal 2019. The agreement reached Gov. Charlie Baker's desk 18 days past the deadline for a new annual budget. [Photo: Chris Triunfo/SHNS] | Hi-Res


Thursday, July 19, 2018

SENATE SESSION - THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2018

The Senate ended its week late Thursday night with a unanimous vote to pass a substance abuse treatment and prevention bill that would expand access to medically assisted treatments in prison, move pharmacies toward electronic prescriptions, and make the overdose reversing drug Narcan more accessible to more people. The Senate, however, abandoned a provision in the initial bill that would have launched a supervised injection site pilot program after Gov. Charlie Baker said he opposed the idea and U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling put out an advisory indicating that federal authorities were unlikely to turn a blind eye to such facilities that would be in violation of federal law. Instead, the Senate adopted a Sen. William Brownsberger amendment to study the issue further. Read More


CODFATHER'S FLEET HEADING BACK TO SEA, NOAA SAYS

While Carlos Rafael serves a federal prison sentence at Devens, fishery regulators have charted a course for the groundfish industry to make good on what you might call his outstanding 36-ton debt of witch flounder. Read More


LELLING WARNS SENATE ON SUPERVISED INJECTION SITES

Ahead of an expected Senate vote Thursday on an opioid addiction prevention bill that would authorize supervised sites for illegal drug use, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts said anyone who uses or works at such a facility would likely face federal charges "regardless of any state law or study." Read More


STATE OFFERS DRAFT PLAN TO SPEND $75 MIL VW EMISSIONS SETTLEMENT

The state is prepared to use Volkswagen emissions case settlement funds to spend $11 million on electric buses for the Pioneer Valley and Martha's Vineyard, $5 million on electric vehicle equipment like charging stations, and $7.5 million on competitively procured projects to reduce vehicle emissions, under a draft plan announced Thursday. Read More


TAX, EQUITY CONCERNS SWIRL AROUND ADVANCING BENEFIT DISTRICT BILL

The Senate beat back a volley of amendments Wednesday as fresh doubt emerged when lawmakers considered legislation that has been passed by the Legislature in each of the last two years, both times rejected by the governor. Read More


TO GUARD REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, LEGISLATURE REVISITS OLD LAWS

After warning that shifts on the U.S. Supreme Court could put reproductive rights at risk in Massachusetts, lawmakers on Thursday morning sent to Gov. Charlie Baker legislation eliminating old state laws dealing with abortion and contraception, including a mid-1800s law banning all abortion and a ban on contraception for unmarried couples. Read More

Speaker Robert DeLeo addresses the press after law

Speaker Robert DeLeo addresses the press after lawmakers sent Gov. Charlie Baker legislation eliminating old state laws dealing with abortion and contraception. [Photo: Chris Triunfo/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BILL RAISING TOBACCO PURCHASE AGE CLEARS BRANCHES

House and Senate lawmakers reached a compromise on a bill raising the tobacco-purchase age to 21 statewide, and could send it to the governor within days. Read More


SENATE PASSES NET NEUTRALITY BILL

The Senate passed legislation on Thursday intended as a response the Trump administration's rollback last year of federal net neutrality regulations, but it stopped short of a statewide ban on internet providers blocking access to content or throttling the speed at which certain websites load. Read More


ADVOCATES LOOK TO HOUSE TO SEAL DEAL ON CARETAKER REGISTRY

Advocates for people with disabilities cheered the Senate for passing a bill to create a registry of caretakers found to have abused those in their care and called on the House to follow suit before the end of the month. Read More


DeLEO: MUNICIPALITIES CAN ADOPT THEIR OWN ICE POLICIES

With activists furious about the failure of an immigration law enforcement measure, House Speaker Robert DeLeo expects the House will spend the coming months evaluating legislative options. Read More

Activists reacted Thursday after Andrew Gordon, 35

Activists reacted Thursday after Andrew Gordon, 350 Mass legislative manager of the Better Future Project, announced that no one from Speaker DeLeo's office could meet with them. A crowd of about 200 people had filled the hallway outside DeLeo's office to rally support for clean energy measures and efforts to restrict local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement officials. [Photo: Michael Norton/SHNS] | Hi-Res


ENERGY, VOTER REGISTRATION CONFERENCES CLOSE DELIBERATIONS

With a budget now sitting on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk, there are 10 remaining active conference committees trying to negotiate compromise bills before the end of the month, and two of them got started on Thursday. Read More

Energy bill conferees convened their negotiations

Energy bill conferees convened their negotiations on Thursday in Sen. Michael Barrett's office while environmental advocates held up signs calling for the conference process to be open to the public. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HOUSE SESSION – THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2018

The Massachusetts House finished its work week Thursday morning by enacting bills raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 statewide and eliminating old state laws dealing with abortion and contraception, including a mid-1800s law banning all abortion and a ban on contraception for unmarried couples. Lawmakers also advanced bills dealing with data, a parcel of land in Salem, and a property in Webster. The House will return on Monday for an informal session. Read More


ADVOCATES WANT ENERGY TALKS TO STAY OPEN

Environmental advocates on Thursday called for lawmakers negotiating a compromise on House-Senate approaches to clean energy legislation to conduct their meetings in public. Read More


SENATE NET NEUTRALITY BILL WOULD GRADE INTERNET PROVIDERS

Ahead of an expected Senate vote on a bill that would establish a state preference for internet service providers that meet new standards for internet neutrality, an industry group said the measure will be ineffective and will harm the state's economy. Read More


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

SENATE SESSION - WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2018

On a 36 to 1 vote, the Senate approved the annual budget (H 4800) for fiscal 2019 and later enacted it, sending it to Gov. Charlie Baker 18 days after the start of the fiscal year. Sen. Jamie Eldridge cast the only vote against the annual spending bill because it did not include provisions limiting local law enforcement's inquiries into immigration status. The Senate also unanimously enacted a $2 fee on rental vehicles to finance police training (H 4516), voted 22-15 to engross a bill (H 4546) legalizing community benfits districts, and found compromise with the House on legislation (H 4486) raising the tobacco purchase age to 21. Final votes in both branches are still needed to get the tobacco bill to Baker. Senate President Harriette Chandler was hoping to send the governor legislation (H 4770) repealing old abortion laws, but by the time the Senate concurred with the House's amendment the House had already adjourned for the evening. Read More


STATE BUDGET BILL KEEPS FANTASY SPORTS ALIVE, UNTAXED

Daily fantasy sports will remain legal and free of taxation or a new regulatory structure after this month under the state budget bill sent to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk Wednesday night. Read More


COLLEGE CLOSURE NOTICE PROVISION CHOPPED FROM BUDGET

After Mount Ida College's closure sparked a furor, state budget negotiators on Wednesday dropped a Senate plan intended to provide more notice of college closures, but a similar proposal remains alive in a bill before the House. Read More


ENERGY BILL CONFEREES TO HOLD FIRST MEETING THURSDAY

House and Senate negotiators will start discussions on clean energy proposals Thursday morning in the first meeting of a conference committee appointed Tuesday. Read More


BUDGET NEGOTIATORS COME "OUT OF THE WOODS" WITH MORE MONEY

The $41.88 billion budget deal that was filed Wednesday morning and quickly approved by the Legislature includes no new fees, according to the lead House negotiator, and relies on an unusual eleventh hour revenue projection upgrade to boost spending to levels higher than either the House or Senate approved this spring. Read More


LAWMAKERS POISED TO SEND BAKER FEE BILL TO TRAIN POLICE

The new $2 fee on rental cars that both branches of the Legislature are on record supporting was dropped from the compromise fiscal 2019 budget, but the Senate is expected to advance the proposal separately Wednesday afternoon. Read More


DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING COMMISSION SLOW TO START

As the recreational marijuana industry gets ready to step on the gas, the panel that's supposed to make recommendations to prevent operating under the influence of marijuana and impaired driving has barely gotten its key in the ignition. Read More


INSTITUTE: DATA UNDERSCORES HEALTH CARE PRICE DISPARITIES, TRANSPARENCY PROBLEMS

State data highlighting "wide variations" in the prices agreed to between insurers and health care providers and the portions paid by consumers and insurers underscores the need to put downward pressure on prices by making claims data public, according to a policy brief released Wednesday. Read More


MAYOR WALSH TO RALLY DEMS IN RUST BELT

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will hit the campaign trail Thursday, but he won't be trying to get a head start on a 2022 statewide race. Read More


HOUSE SESSION - WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2018

Under increasing pressure to get a state budget to Gov. Charlie Baker, House and Senate negotiators unveiled a $41.9 billion compromise spending bill for the fiscal year that began 18 days ago. Read More


SENATE'S SUPERVISED INJECTION SITE PILOT HAS LELLING'S ATTENTION

Under a Senate approach to treating opioid addiction that will be up for debate Thursday, officials in the Department of Public Health would be responsible for designing supervised sites for illegal drug use, although that type of facility runs contrary to federal law. Read More


STATE POLICE TURN TO O'TOOLE FOR MANAGEMENT ADVICE

As it tries to steady its ship amid myriad controversies, the Massachusetts State Police announced Wednesday that it is bringing former secretary of public safety and Boston Police commissioner Kathleen O'Toole on board as a management consultant. Read More


LAWMAKERS HUSTLE CAR RENTAL FEE BILL TO BAKER'S DESK

The Legislature on Wednesday sent Gov. Charlie Baker a bill funding municipal police training with a new $2 fee on rental cars, leaving themselves enough time later in the month to deal with any potential response from Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More


DEMS DROP ICE RIDER FROM BUDGET, ANGERING IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS

The inability of House and Senate budget negotiators to reach a consensus over immigration law enforcement doomed a budget measure that would have restricted local police from acting as immigration agents, the House's lead negotiator and supporter of immigration reform Jeffrey Sanchez said. Read More


COYNE NOMINATED FOR BROCKTON DISTRICT COURT

Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday nominated Sabine Coyne, a Suffolk Superior Court assistant clerk magistrate who lives in North Attleborough, for a judgeship on the Brockton District Court. Read More


RENEWABLE BACKERS URGE LAWMAKERS TO "GO BIG" WITH NEW BILL

Massachusetts ranks first in the United States for electricity efficiency savings, seventh for solar power and 35th for its increase in electricity generation from wind over the past 10 years, according to a report released Wednesday and touted by activists as evidence that lawmakers need to adopt bold clean energy proposals by month's end. Read More


HOUSE PLANS TO VOTE WEDNESDAY ON $41.88 BILLION BUDGET

The House plans to vote Wednesday on its just-filed $41.88 billion fiscal 2019 budget, according to a House official. Read More


CONFEREES BOOST SPENDING, AGREE TO $41.88 BILLION FISCAL 2019 BUDGET

Jacking up spending beyond levels approved by either branch this spring, House and Senate negotiators on Wednesday agreed to a $41.88 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. The compromise spending plan, now 17 days overdue, was filed with the House clerk's office just after 10 a.m. Read More

Senate Budget Director Christopher Marino, Second

Senate Budget Director Christopher Marino, Second Assistant House Clerk Elizabeth Thompson and House Clerk Steven James. House and Senate negotiators on Wednesday filed a $41.88 billion budget compromise for the fiscal year that began July 1. [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS]


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

WAIT FOR BUDGET CONTINUES AMID SIGNS DEAL COULD BE CLOSE

A compromise between the House and Senate on a state budget for fiscal 2019 will have to wait at least another day, despite anticipation running high Tuesday night that a deal could be filed in time for votes to be taken on Wednesday. Read More


HOUSE SESSION – TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2018

During an informal session split between morning and afternoon portions, the Massachusetts House on Tuesday appointed members to three conference committees that will be charged with ironing out differences between House and Senate legislation. Read More


NURSE STAFFING QUESTION CHOSEN FOR INTENSIVE CITIZENS' REVIEW

Twenty citizen panelists will participate in four days of deliberations on a 2018 ballot question calling for mandatory nurse staffing ratios, a measure that proponents say is essential to patient safety. Read More


ASH CONFIDENT LAWMAKERS WILL AGREE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BILL

With funds dwindling in some accounts and a $666 million bill that would replenish them still before a Senate committee on the day of a new legislative deadline, the state's economic development chief said Tuesday he is not concerned. Read More


BAKER HITS TRUMP OVER "DISGRACEFUL" COMMENTS IN HELSINKI

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday joined the chorus of Democrats and Republicans repudiating President Donald Trump over his performance at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Trump sought to clarify that he accepts the U.S. conclusion of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Read More


BEER GARDENS ARE COMING TO CHARLES RIVER PARKS

A state agency has selected an Everett company to operate beer gardens this year in two public parks. Read More


SAFE INJECTION SITE PILOT INCLUDED IN SENATE OPIOID BILL

A powerful Senate committee on Tuesday endorsed legislation giving those addicted to opioids new access to medically assisted treatment in prisons and creating harm-reduction sites for people to use drugs while advancing several other ideas to curb the deadly scourge. Read More


CONGRESSMEN, FORMER NYC OFFICIAL TO KNOCK DOORS FOR MATIAS

Two congressmen and a former New York City Council speaker will join U.S. House hopeful Juana Matias on Saturday for a rally and day of door-knocking. Read More


REPS MAKE LATE-SESSION PUSH FOR SEX ED BILL VOTE IN HOUSE

[Story Developing] With time running out again on comprehensive sex education legislation, Rep. James O'Day is trying to convince his House colleagues that the bill is not about encouraging young people to be sexually active. Read More


NATIONAL VIGILS PLANNED IN WAKE OF TRUMP-PUTIN PRESSER

Critics and opponents of President Donald Trump, outraged by his statements at a Helsinki press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin, plan to gather outside the State House Wednesday at 7 p.m. and in locations across the country as part of a national vigil. Read More


COMMISSION SEEKS CONNECTICUT RIVER WATER SAMPLERS

Are you available each Wednesday morning between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. in the greater Springfield area? If so, you may be just the "citizen scientist" the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is looking for to collect water samples from the Connecticut River this summer. Read More


HOUSE PANEL POLLING OUT BILL ADDRESSING OLD ABORTION LAWS

The House Committee on Ways and Means has begun moving legislation eliminating antiquated anti-abortion statutes, as the future of abortion access has become less certain around the country. Read More


SENATE SESSION – TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2018

The Senate on Tuesday appointed members to three conference committees tasked with reconciling clean energy (H 4756/S 2608), investing in environmental assets (H 4613/S 2602), and regulating animal welfare (H 4565/S 2347). The Senate also teed up bills dealing with Alzheimer's disease (S 2612), promoting net neutrality (S 2610), adjusting rules for the National Guard (S 2611), and treating opioid addiction (S 2609). While the Senate was technically in a formal session, there were no bills debated on the floor. Read More


BIZ GROUPS WARN HEALTH CARE BILLS WILL DRIVE UP COSTS

Some business leaders are beginning to speak out about their feelings of being misled by the Legislature, telling key leaders in a letter that they are "disappointed" both the House and Senate ignored an opportunity tackle cost growth in the state's Medicaid program and instead are pursuing strategies that would increase spending on health care. Read More


SENATE SCHEDULES THURSDAY DEBATE ON NET NEUTRALITY, OPIOID BILLS

In addition to a bill intended to combat the opioid epidemic, the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday reported out bills dealing with internet neutrality, Alzheimer's disease and raising the pay for certain members of the National Guard, preparing each for possible votes later this week. Read More


REPS MAKE LATE-SESSION PUSH FOR HOUSE SEX ED BILL VOTE

With time running out again on comprehensive sex education legislation, Rep. James O'Day says he's trying to convince his House colleagues that the bill is not about encouraging young people to be sexually active. Read More

Reps. James O'Day, Paul Brodeur and Jack Lewis add

Reps. James O'Day, Paul Brodeur and Jack Lewis address activists. [Photo: Chris Triunfo/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BRANCHES STRUGGLING TO MOVE ENERGY BILLS INTO CONFERENCE

Facing a Tuesday deadline and pushing different approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the House and Senate do not have an agreement on how to proceed with clean energy legislation, President Harriette Chandler said late Tuesday morning. Read More


PERSONNEL FILE - TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2018

… A former Massport official is the new chief customer service officer at the MBTA … Partners HealthCare tapped a former aide to U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern as vice president of government affairs … UMass Lowell's longtime athletic director is retiring … Sen. Joan Lovely and Rep. David Linsky have brought new staffers on board … Please enjoy the Personnel File Read More


ENVIRO BOND, ANIMAL PROTECTIONS BILLS HEAD TO CONFERENCE AS DEADLINE HITS

The House and Senate on Tuesday appointed members to conference committees dealing with animal protection and environmental spending bills, signalling efforts to wrap up work on those bills before formal sessions end on July 31. Read More


CARETAKER REGISTRY, BENEFIT DISTRICTS ON SENATE AGENDA

The state would be required to create and maintain a registry of caretakers who have been found to have abused a person with a developmental or intellectual disability, under a bill that appears poised for a vote in the Senate on Tuesday. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service