ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (Formal)
ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (No Calendar)

House Session Summary - Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

The House plans to meet in a formal session on Tuesday to vote on compromise distracted driving legislation (H 4203) that a House-Senate conference committee filed Monday afternoon, with another formal session scheduled for Wednesday to vote on a school breakfast bill (H 591).

Senate Renews Push for Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban

The Massachusetts Senate is now scheduled to vote on not one, but two consumer product bans on Wednesday in its final formal session of the year. The chamber teed up legislation Monday that would forbid retail businesses from providing customers with single-use plastic bags, placing it on an agenda that already includes a House-approved bill banning flavored tobacco products and imposing a 75 percent tax on e-cigarettes.

Delegation Irked By Proposed SNAP Changes

The entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation signed a letter urging the Trump administration to reconsider a proposed regulation that the lawmakers said would result in Massachusetts losing about 9 percent, or about $100 million, in annual nutrition funding.

MBTA Will "Be There" For Riders This Winter, Baker Assures

With the official start of winter just over a month away, Gov. Charlie Baker voiced confidence in the MBTA's ability to serve riders through another season of freezing temperatures, snowstorms and icy conditions.

Child Health Negotiators To Make "Progress" Announcement

The six lawmakers tasked with ironing out the differences between different House and Senate bills addressing children's health and wellness plan to "make an announcement about their progress" Monday afternoon.

Senate Session - Monday, Nov. 18, 2019

The Senate on Monday teed up for a vote Wednesday a bill banning retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bag. Wednesday's planned formal session will be the final formal session of the year.

MBTA Retirement Fund Investing More Assets Through PRIT

The MBTA Retirement Fund is getting more comfortable with investing assets through the larger state pension fund.

Top Negotiators Say They Have Distracted Driving Bill Deal

House and Senate negotiators announced Friday they reached an agreement to resolve distracted driving legislation that has been stalled for months, but they declined to share details of the compromise.

Fentanyl, Assault Weapons Involved in Lawrence Area Sweep

A law enforcement sweep on Friday morning led to the arrests of 32 people and the removal of 79 guns, including assault weapons, in the Greater Lawrence area, according to federal prosecutors.

Bakers Spending Weekend in Vegas

Gov. Charlie Baker and First Lady Lauren Baker plan to spend the weekend in sunny Las Vegas.

Poll: Voters Split on Key Transpo Revenue Ideas

Massachusetts voters support raising new revenue to make transportation investments, but a new poll shows they are divided over some of the key methods that lawmakers are weighing to generate funding.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019

After passing a prescription drug pricing and transparency bill on a 40-0 vote, the Senate acted on an Ethics Committee report filed Thursday evening and removed Brockton Sen. Michael Brady as chair of the Public Service Committee.

Senate Unanimously Approves Bill Targeting High Drug Prices

The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday unanimously agreed to impose new oversight on the pharmaceutical industry and cap consumer costs for insulin.

Berry Institute of Politics Taking Shape at Salem State

A year after the death of former state Sen. Fred Berry, North Shore lawmakers are helping to build out the Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics and Civic Engagement at Salem State University.

Cost of Budget Delay Surpassing $1 Million

Having watched another week go by without finalizing budget work left over from fiscal year 2019, the House and Senate now stand to forfeit more than $1 million in interest that the state could have earned had lawmakers completed their work on time.

Report: One In Four Nursing Homes at Risk of Closing

One quarter of the nursing homes in Massachusetts are at risk of closing, according to an industry trade group.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019

Now just three work days remain for the House before its winter recess, and the list of things many are hoping to see completed before the break did not get any shorter on Thursday.

Clark Offering Free Cannabis Certificate to Government Employees

Employees in municipal and state government in Massachusetts who have earned undergraduate degree may pursue a cannabis-related graduate certificate for free under a program announced this week by Clark University.

Baker: Prez Candidates "Get a Pass Out of the Gate"

He challenged him for the governorship here in 2010 and succeeded him in the corner office in 2015, but Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday he won't be weighing in on Deval Patrick's presidential run, at least not yet. "Look -- People who want to run for president, they get a pass out of the gate as far as I'm concerned," Baker said Thursday morning in the office that Patrick occupied for eight years. "That's just the way it works."

Senate to Vote on Flavor Ban, Vaping Tax Next Week

Gov. Charlie Baker could have a bill banning the sale of flavored vaping and tobacco products and levying a tax on e-cigarettes on his desk by the time the Legislature leaves for its holiday recess next week.

Uncaptioned image for story:Mass. Retailers Forecast "Solid" Holiday Season Sales

Mass. Retailers Forecast "Solid" Holiday Season Sales

Massachusetts retailers are predicting a 3 percent gain in sales during the upcoming holiday period.

All six House and Senate negotiators signed off on the compromise distracted driving bill. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Compromise Hand-Held Cellphone Driving Ban Filed

[Story Developing] Lawmakers ended their months-long impasse over distracted driving legislation Monday, advancing a compromise bill that will require hands-free use of all electronic devices behind the wheel but that does not require raw traffic stop data to be published.

Susan Fargo was a newspaper editor, teacher, selectman, and eight-term senator. [Photo: SHNS/File]

Former Sen. Susan Fargo Dies at 77

Susan Fargo, a Lincoln Democrat who served eight terms in the Massachusetts Senate, died last week after a period of declining health. She was 77.

Uncaptioned image for story:Vote on College Screening Rules Planned in December

Vote on College Screening Rules Planned in December

State higher education officials need to develop a screening process to identify colleges at risk of closure and a training program for boards of trustees, under legislation Gov. Charlie Baker signed Thursday.

Sen. John Keenan, one of the sponsors of a bill to ban flavored nicotine products in Massachusetts, rallied with young activists outside the House Chamber on Tuesday to bring attention to youth nicotine addiction and call for a ban on all flavors, including menthol and mint.  The House passed such a ban on Wednesday, and it heads to the Senate next week for debate. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Changing Minds

Deval Patrick thinks there's a reason to believe.

Uncaptioned image for story:Cold Weather Puts Mosquito-borne Illness Threat on Ice

Cold Weather Puts Mosquito-borne Illness Threat on Ice

Mosquito-borne illness season is over in Massachusetts now that all parts of the state have experienced a hard frost.

Sen. Michael Brady waited to appear in Quincy District Court on June 4. [Pool Photo/David L. Ryan/Boston Globe]

Mass. Senate Strips Sen. Brady's Committee Chairmanship

The Senate stripped Brockton Sen. Michael Brady of his $15,000-a-year post as Senate chairman of the Committee on Public Service on Thursday night as punishment for his conduct during his March 2018 drunk driving arrest, which was deemed to be a violation of the chamber's rules.

Speaker Robert DeLeo (right) said he is pushing the House's transportation funding debate into the new year, after consulting with his budget chief Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (left) and other key chairmen. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

House Kicking Transportation $$$ Debate Into 2020

With just days remaining until the Legislature recesses until 2020, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Thursday he's decided to push back his timeline for a hotly anticipated debate over new revenue for transportation until next year.

Uncaptioned image for story:Pacheco: Spilka Agrees to Climate Bill Vote in January

Pacheco: Spilka Agrees to Climate Bill Vote in January

After pressing his colleagues for weeks to take up a climate bill before breaking for their next recess -- and suggesting he'd use a procedural measure to bring one to the floor if he needed to -- Sen. Marc Pacheco on Thursday said he'd secured a commitment from Senate President Karen Spilka that a vote would happen in January.

C.J. Williams, David Ajemian, and Stephen Helfer stopped by the Judiciary Committee office Thursday to drop off more than 1,500 petition signatures opposed to the so-called ROE Act. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

ROE Act Opponents Visit Judiciary Committee

ROE Act opponents visited the Judiciary Committee Thursday to deliver signatures from people opposed to the bill, which was the subject of a long public hearing in June.

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