Fitchburg Infrastructure Grant Seen as Big Boost to Downtown

A $3 million infrastructure grant will help transform downtown Fitchburg, in part, by leveraging up to $100 million in private investments and supporting housing and mixed use development planned in the city's "smart growth" district.

Ballot Question Landscape Coming Into Sharper Focus

Ballot questions related to electoral reform, beer and wine sales, automotive repairs and more are on track to go before voters in 2020 after supporters cleared a major signature-gathering threshold by Wednesday's deadline.

Spilka and Budget Negotiators Cancel Flights to Israel

Their flight wasn't scheduled to leave until tomorrow, but three top Senate Democrats have canceled - for now - their plans to travel with colleagues to Israel as the standoff with the House over a surplus spending bill continues.

Senate Session Summary - Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019

Another day, another Senate session that came and went with little business and no resolution in a partisan dispute over when to schedule a special election to fill an open seat.

Baker: “Unfortunate” Subway Problems “Need to be Fixed”

After two straight days of significant delays and equipment malfunctions on the Orange Line, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday the MBTA needs to be more reliable for the people who use it everyday.

Construction Begins on Weymouth Compressor Station

Construction activities have begun on a natural gas project in Weymouth that is expected to take 10 months to complete and continues to draw widespread opposition. Construction activities have begun on a natural gas project in Weymouth that continues to draw widespread opposition, and one official involved in the project recently outlined a 10-month construction schedule.

New Rental Tax Tracking Toward $27.5 Mil Haul

Almost a year after Massachusetts passed a law taxing and regulating short-term vacation rentals, the state's revenue commissioner said Wednesday that the new tax is "settling in pretty well" after education and outreach efforts.

Senate Running Out of Time on Special Election Push

[Coverage Developing] Without the ability to overcome Republican objections, Senate leaders could soon run out of time to schedule a special election that would coincide with the March 3 statewide presidential primary.

Three Orange Line Trains Experience Rush-Hour Mechanical Problems

Complaints about poor service on the Orange Line were common on social media Wednesday morning.

Ballot Question Landscape Coming Into Sharper Focus

[Coverage Developing] Supporters of proposed ballot questions dealing with government-funded nursing home, beer and wine sales at food stores, access to vehicle repair information, and a voting system reform are claiming signature-gathering success ahead of a 5 p.m. filing deadline.

Institute Sees Tax Revenue Growth Slowdown Ahead

[Story Developing} Growth in state tax revenues will slow this fiscal year to just under 2 percent above fiscal 2019 collections and collections in fiscal 2021 will slow even further, growing by under 1 percent over fiscal 2020, according to one of the groups invited by lawmakers to testify at a hearing Wednesday.

Senate Session Summary - Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

A day of closed-door negotiations did not yield compromise in the Senate's dispute over when to hold a special election in the Plymouth and Barnstable district.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the lead senator on supplemental budget talks, and Senate President Karen Spilka both plan to forgo their planned trip to Israel this week if a budget deal isn't struck. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Senate’s Israel Trip A New Wrinkle in Supp Saga

If bad optics and the state comptroller's threat to take action on his own weren't enough impetus for Senate President Karen Spilka to want to cut a budget deal with the House, the Ashland Democrat may have another reason to soon bring the protracted negotiations with the House to a close.

Baker to Mark Thermo Fisher’s Expansion in Lexington

Thermo Fisher Scientific is opening an expanded gene therapy manufacturing facility and Gov. Charlie Baker plans to travel to Lexington on Wednesday to help mark the $93 million investment.

Nursing Home Ballot Campaign Files 87,000 Signatures with State

Supporters of a potential 2020 ballot question updating rates paid by state government to nursing homes say they are positioned to advance to the next stage in the process.

Who’s On the Move? Look Inside the Personnel File

... A Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member steps down ... Boston Fed promotions ... new hires at the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Providers' Council and U.S. Sen. Markey's campaign ... Please enjoy the latest Personnel File ...

Section of Orange Line Reopens After Power Problem

Orange Line service was offline at several Boston stops Tuesday morning and customers were asked to take the Green Line instead to reach any downtown destinations due to an apparent malfunction in the third rail.

More First Student Bus Drivers Join Teamsters

Bus drivers who provide transportation to students who attend a high school in Marlborough voted during Monday's snowstorm to join the Worcester-based Teamsters Local 170.

Housing Aid Pilot Helping More People in Boston

An expanded homelessness prevention program continued to grow in fiscal year 2019, with households that fit the new definition now comprising close to a third of those aided in the greater Boston region, according to a new report.

Economic Experts Ready to Offer Fiscal 2021 Outlook

The lineup is set for Wednesday's annual hearing on projected tax revenues.

A prescribed burn at Penikese Island Sanctuary. [Courtesy/MassWildlife]

Enviro Officials Tout Regenerative Effects of Controlled Burns

Massachusetts environmental officials set more than a dozen controlled fires that burned across 761 acres of land within the state's wildlife management areas in 2019, a record year for fire in the Bay State.

Gov. Charlie Baker said he wants voters in the Plymouth and Barnstable District to have "an opportunity to tune in on the state Senate race." [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Baker Backs Tarr Plan To Pair Senate and Prez Primaries

The confrontation over when to schedule a special election for an open Senate seat spilled outside the Senate chamber walls Wednesday when Gov. Charlie Baker endorsed the Republican leader's plan to avoid a general election on the same day as the presidential primary and Secretary of State William Galvin accused the minority party of attempting "voter suppression."

Gov. Baker's budget chief Michael Heffernan (standing), Ways and Means Vice Chair Sen. Cindy Friedman, and Chairmen Sen. Michael Rodrigues and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz chatted before gaveling in the fiscal 2021 consensus revenue hearing on Wednesday. The annual hearing kicks off the process of crafting next fiscal year's spending plan. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Experts: Revenue Boom Will Fade in Next Budget Cycle

State budget writers began the fiscal year 2021 budget cycle Wednesday with a hearing at which the Department of Revenue, independent economists and think tanks sent the same message: get ready for state tax revenue growth to start slowing down.

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg said she thinks it will "take a few more trips" to New York to meet with agency representatives before Massachusetts gets an upgrade to its credit rating. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Goldberg: S&P Not Ready for Mass. Rating Upgrade

The credit rating agency that knocked Massachusetts down a peg two years ago is keeping an eye on the state and is not yet ready to contemplate upgrading the state's rating, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg told lawmakers Wednesday.

Uncaptioned image for story:Maylor: Surplus Sweep May Have "Downstream Consequences"

Maylor: Surplus Sweep May Have “Downstream Consequences”

While the fiscal 2021 budget cycle kicked off Wednesday, the impasse continued over major spending and saving decisions for fiscal 2019.

Uncaptioned image for story:State on Target for Sizeable Share of Pot $$$

State on Target for Sizeable Share of Pot $$$

Massachusetts tax collectors are expecting to haul in between $93 million and $173 million in legal marijuana revenue this current budget year and could collect as much as $189 million in the next budget year, Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding told lawmakers Wednesday.

Uncaptioned image for story:GOP Leader Keeps Hold on Special Election Order

GOP Leader Keeps Hold on Special Election Order

A Senate stalemate over setting a special election date to fill an open seat will stretch on until at least Wednesday. After holding session open for most of Tuesday, Senate leaders were unable to reach agreement with Republicans on whether to host the special election alongside the March 3 presidential primary as Democrats proposed or seek another date.

Rep. Paul Donato, testifying alongside Sen. Becca Rausch (right), gestured to the large crowd that filled Gardner Auditorium on Tuesday attracted by two vaccine-related bills. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Exemption, Standards Bills Stir Debate Over Vaccinations

An overflow crowd of parents, doctors, public health professionals and at least one homeland security expert packed into Gardner Auditorium on Tuesday afternoon for what promised to be a long hearing on a controversial topic – vaccines.

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, Liam Lowney of the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito testified Tuesday on a Gov. Charlie Baker bill that proposes changes to the penalties for sharing sexually explicit images. [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS]

Alternative Pitched for Teens Who Share Explicit Images

Supporters of bills that would change the consequences teenagers face for sharing explicit images described the current penalties as "draconian," and urged lawmakers to adopt an approach that focuses on education.

A new era dawns next week for fans of the Numbers Game, Mass Cash, and Megabucks Doubler as the state Lottery debuts a new studio with new drawing equipment. [Courtesy/Mass. State Lottery]

New Optics In Store for Mass. Lottery Drawings

When the Massachusetts Lottery moved from Braintree to Dorchester earlier this year, it was a big deal for the Lottery as an agency and for its employees. But players likely have not noticed any difference -- especially if they haven't hit those big jackpot prizes that must be claimed at the headquarters.

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