... Heavy industry group says state plan cuts spending on highways ...... Rosenberg on Kinder Morgan pipeline decision: "NED is dead" ...... Auditor's fraud-fighting unit presents first data analytics report ...... Senate bundling amendments into "yea" and "nay" packages ...... Baker files bill to cap sick leave benefit accrual ...... Senate votes to put brakes on health safety net eligibility changes ...... House advances bill for annual remembrance of Women's Defense Corps ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Senate:

LATEST SENATE ADJOURNS IN MEMORY OF GERARD JOYCE, SENATOR'S FATHER

Nearing the end of their budget debate late Thursday night, the Senate adopted an adjournment order in memory of Gerard Joyce, father of Sen. Brian Joyce and a U.S. Army veteran. The elder Joyce died Wednesday at age 96. Read More

SENATE SENDS GOVERNOR HOSPITAL FUNDING BILL

The Senate on Thursday shipped to the governor a health care bill that avoids a ballot question redistributing hospital revenues, benefiting hospitals that now receive less insurance compensation. Read More


SENATE PASSES $39.5B BUDGET

The Senate wrapped up three days of fiscal 2017 budget deliberations around 11 p.m. Thursday, voting unanimously to pass an annual spending bill after adding a total of $61.3 million on the floor. Read More


Thursday, May 26, 2016

HOSPITAL $$$ DEAL PINCHES STATE HEALTH INFORMATION AGENCY

The outgoing head of the health care agency whose funding will be siphoned to pay for an accord over health care provider pricing is questioning the impact the deal would have on struggling community hospitals. Read More


SENATE ADOPTS TWO-TIERED REAL ID COMPLIANCE PLAN AS PART OF BUDGET

Mimicking the way the House handled the issued last month, the Massachusetts Senate on Thursday tacked onto its budget bill an amendment intended to bring Massachusetts into compliance with the federal Real ID Act. The Real ID Act, a federal post-2001 anti-terrorism initiative, requires states to begin issuing secure and compliant forms of identification that for many residents will replace their current driver's licenses. Read More


SENATE ADOPTS PLAN TO STUDY FANTASY SPORTS

The Senate on Thursday approved of an amendment that would create a special commission to study the regulation of daily fantasy sports and online gaming in Massachusetts. Read More


SENATE CLEARS WAY FOR PROBATION FEE WAIVER

Massachusetts judges would have new discretion over whether to impose fees on probationers under a budget rider adopted by the Senate on a 31-7 vote Thursday. "We need to make it possible for people to get back on their feet, get out of the system, start living their normal life," Sen. William Brownsberger, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the News Service after the vote. Read More


FORRY SAYS WALSH DOING A "GOOD JOB AS MAYOR"

Cross Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry off your list of potential 2017 Boston mayoral candidates. Read More

FORRY

FORRY


ON BOSTON COMMON, FLAGS PLANTED TO REMEMBER LIVES GIVEN

Against a backdrop of thousands of American flags, relatives of military members who died in active duty read their names Thursday while a flag was simultaneously planted on Boston Common in their name. Read More

An additional 230 flags planted near the Sailors a

An additional 230 flags planted near the Sailors and Soldiers Monument on Boston Common Thursday, completing a display featuring nearly 37,000 flags representing fallen Massachusetts' service members. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHSN] | Photo Gallery


CHIEF JUSTICE: JUDGES IN ZAMBRANO CASES BROKE NO LAWS, RULES

A preliminary review of court decisions involving Jorge Zambrano, the man authorities say shot and killed Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino during a traffic stop early Sunday, found "that no law, court rule or court procedure was violated," according to the chief justice of the trial court. Read More


SENATE BREAKS FOR DINNER WITH 10 AMENDMENTS REMAINING

The Senate broke for dinner Thursday evening with 10 amendments out of the more than 1,100 filed remaining for consideration on the fiscal 2017 budget. Read More


SHUFFLING OF ROLES IN GOVERNOR'S PRESS SHOP

Gov. Charlie Baker's press secretary Elizabeth Guyton will take over as communications director on June 1 in a reshuffle of responsibilities within the press offices of the executive branch. Read More


ROSENBERG

ROSENBERG: HOME ACT COMING UP SOON

Though the Senate is not expected to take up veterans benefit legislation before the Memorial Day weekend break, the matter appears to be among the issues lined up for consideration soon after the day of observance. Read More


HOSPITAL PRICING DEAL BEING FAST-TRACKED THROUGH LEGISLATURE

Massachusetts lawmaker are fast-tracking legislation required to codify a high-dollar health care financing deal brokered Wednesday between the state's largest health care provider and the health care workers union behind a ballot campaign to restructure hospital payments. Read More


SENATE BUDGET $30 MIL LARGER AFTER TWO DAYS OF DEBATE

Through two days of fiscal 2017 budget debate, the Senate added about $30 million to its nearly $39.5 billion annual budget bill, according to a spokeswoman for Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka. Read More


SENATE VOTES TO PAY COLLEGE COSTS FOR KIDS OF THOSE KILLED ON DUTY

Citing the recent line-of-duty deaths of Auburn police officer Ronald Tarentino and state trooper Thomas Clardy, the Senate unanimously agreed Thursday to a budget rider creating a scholarship program for the children of veterans, law enforcement officers and other public employees killed on the job. Read More

[File photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

[File photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]


HIGH COURT UNABLE TO OFFER YES-OR-NO ON BARRIER BEACH MIGRATION BILL

The state's highest court on Thursday said it was unable to offer a conclusive opinion to the Senate on whether property rights and ocean erosion legislation pending on Beacon Hill complies with the state Declaration of Rights and the U.S. Constitution. The Senate in April asked the court for its opinion on a Rep. Frank Smizik bill (H 753) that cleared the Environment Committee in March and is pending before the Senate Rules Committee. Read More


RETAIL GROUP: SENATE BAG BAN VOTE THE LATEST IN STRING OF MANDATES

A ban on single-use plastic bags from large stores and chains around the state, approved by the Massachusetts Senate on Wednesday, will feed the anger of store owners upset with recent government actions, according to their chief spokesman. Read More


MASS. SENATE HEADS INTO HOME STRETCH OF ANNUAL BUDGET DELIBERATIONS

With Memorial Day weekend looming, weary-eyed senators on Thursday return to Beacon Hill for day three of debate on their $39.497 billion state budget with 307 amendments left to consider. Read More


STATE PLAN CUTS CAPITAL $$ FOR MASS. HIGHWAYS, CONSTRUCTION GROUP SAYS

Bay State motorists receive short shrift in the state's five-year $14.3 billion transportation capital investment plan, according to the Construction Industries of Massachusetts, which said the plan would cut the highway division's capital budget by 27 percent over the next half decade. Read More


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

DEAL TAKES SHAPE TO AVERT BALLOT FIGHT ON HEALTH CARE PRICING

A deal brokered by Beacon Hill leaders between labor and the hospital industry to avert a contentious hospital pricing disparity ballot question this fall would reenergize a special commission examining health care costs and direct $120 million over five years in financial relief to hospitals across the state. Read More


STATE POLICE HONOR LIFE SAVERS AFTER TRAGEDY IN AUBURN

Reflecting on a somber week marked by the fatal shooting of an Auburn police officer, the Massachusetts State Police highlighted the heroic roles played by a group of 28 who intervened to help save a life. Read More


SENATE ADDS PLASTIC BAG BAN TO BUDGET

Less than three weeks after passing a bill that would prohibit farmers' market vendors from giving out plastic bags to their customers, the Senate voted 29-9 to add a broader ban on single-use plastic bags to its fiscal 2017 budget. Read More


VIDEO | CHARTERS DON'T APPEAR ON DeLEO'S RADAR FOR FINAL TWO MONTHS

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner and just two full months of formal sessions left for the Legislature, House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday questioned the propriety of expending time and effort trying to pass a bill expanding access to charter schools. Read More


SENATE VOTES TO WAIVE MED MARIJUANA FEES FOR VETERANS

Veterans who qualify to access medical marijuana through the state's dispensary program would no longer have to pay annual registration fees under a rider that the Senate tacked onto its fiscal 2017 budget Tuesday night. Read More


SENATE DISPENSES WITH 439 AMENDMENTS ON 2 VOTES, SPENDING INFO SCARCE

Senators and clerks took a break from fiscal 2017 budget deliberations at 1 p.m. Wednesday to sort through at least 439 amendments that were adopted and rejected on voice votes without any debate or explanation. Read More


SENATOR'S AMENDMENT WOULD DELAY SNAKE PLAN

Flagging it as a public safety issue, Sen. Eric Lesser has filed a budget amendment to block for at least a year the Baker administration's plan to establish a venomous rattlesnake colony on an island in the Quabbin Reservoir. Read More


SENATE BUNDLING AMENDMENTS EARLIER THAN USUAL

The piles of fiscal 2017 Senate budget amendments designated for mass passage or rejection on Wednesday could offer hints about the course deliberations. Read More


BAKER [File Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

BAKER OFFERS PLAN TO CAP SICK LEAVE ACCRUAL BENEFITS

In the wake of reports of long-time state employees walking into retirement with lucrative compensation packages boosted by payouts for unused sick time, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday unveiled legislation to cap sick leave accrual at no more than 1,000 hours, or six months of work. Read More


SENATE VOTES TO BLOCK JUNE 1 CHANGES IN HEALTH SAFETY NET ELIGIBILITY

The Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday night voted to block the Baker administration from making changes to eligibility criteria for health safety net services that one senator said are set to take effect next week, on June 1. Read More


SENATE BUDGET AMENDMENT "BUNDLES" AVAILABLE

Senators are being given a chance to learn the fate of remaining budget amendments before the second day of debate resumes Wednesday. Read More


TRANSGENDER BILL CLEARS HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS 19-4

A transgender rights bill being readied for debate in the House next Wednesday cleared the Ways and Means Committee on a 19-4 vote, with eight members reserving their rights not to weigh in as the bill was being released by committee. Read More


SENATE VOTES TO EXCLUDE GENDER AS FACTOR FOR DISABILITY INSURANCE PREMIUMS

Gender would join race and religion as variables that insurance companies are not allowed to use as rating factors when determining the cost of disability insurance, under a budget amendment adopted Wednesday by the Senate. Read More


DENTAL HYGIENE PRACTITIONERS EMPOWERED UNDER SENATE BUDGET RIDER

Your next tooth extraction or crown work might not be performed by a dentist but rather an advanced dental hygiene practitioner, a designation created under a budget amendment unanimously adopted Wednesday in the Senate. Read More


PUBLIC RECORDS LAW OVERHAUL SENT TO BAKER'S DESK

The Massachusetts House and Senate each voted unanimously Wednesday to advance to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk a compromise bill that represents the first major overhaul of public records access laws in 43 years. Read More


UMASS TOUTS DIVESTMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS

After a unanimous vote by the UMass Foundation Board of Trustees, the University of Massachusetts announced Tuesday it had become the "first major public university" to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. Read More


VIDEO | HOUSE COUNTING TRANSGENDER BILL VOTES, REPS PREPPING AMENDMENTS

House Speaker Robert DeLeo confirmed plans on Wednesday to bring a transgender rights bill to the floor for a vote next week despite being uncertain whether sufficient support exists to override a potential veto from Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More

After meeting with House members, Speaker Robert D

After meeting with House members, Speaker Robert DeLeo spoke to reporters about plans to take up a transgender anti-discrimination bill next week. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]


SENATE VOTES TO GIVE MUNI RETIREES HEALTH INSURANCE COST REPRIEVE

A Senate effort to grant two years reprieve to municipal retirees shouldering health insurance bills runs counter to local goals of reducing an unfunded liability approaching $30 billion, according to an advocate for local government. Read More


SENATE VOTE PRESERVES FUNDING CUT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH LABS

The Senate on Tuesday night rejected an amendment sponsored by 10 Senate Democrats that would have boosted funding for state laboratories by nearly $1.2 million, to about $13.5 million. Read More


SENATE CHURNS THROUGH QUARTER OF BUDGET AMENDMENTS IN 12 HOURS

At the end of about 12 hours of debate on a $39.497 billion state budget, the Senate had dispensed with 298 of the 1,167 proposed amendments in one form or another, leaving a mere 869 amendments to go as day two of budget debate kicks off Wednesday. Read More

ROSENBERG [File Photo:SHNS]

ROSENBERG [File Photo:SHNS]


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WEDNESDAY: LEGISLATURE PULLING DOUBLE DUTY

Twelve hours after they recessed from their first day of budget deliberation, senators will be back at it Wednesday morning for round two. Read More


BAKER REITERATES SUPPORT FOR DEATH PENALTY AFTER OFFICER'S KILLING

Following the killing of an Auburn police officer, and a shootout that resulted in a dead suspect and a wounded State Police trooper, Gov. Charlie Baker said a different approach to criminal justice might be warranted and he believes police killers should be executed. Read More


VIDEO | TRANSGENDER BILL OPPONENTS AGAIN RAISE CONCERNS AS MASS. HOUSE EYES VOTE NEXT WEEK

As House leaders gear up for a potential floor vote next week on a transgender rights bill, opponents of the measure returned to the State House Tuesday hoping they could have better luck convincing House members to oppose the legislation than they did with senators. Read More

A group opposed to a transgender public accommodat

A group opposed to a transgender public accommodations bill tentatively scheduled for debate in the House next week held a rally Tuesday at the State House to raise concerns they have with the legislation.[Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE REJECTS BID FOR MULTIPLE PUBLIC HEARINGS ON TAX HIKE BILLS

As Senate leaders agitate for new taxes and more revenue to meet service demands, Senate Democrats on Tuesday rejected a proposal aimed at requiring multiple public hearings around Massachusetts on tax increase proposals. Read More


BAKER: WE'RE NOT ALLOWED TO PICK WHICH ENDANGERED SPECIES TO SUPPORT

Though his administration paused plans to bring poisonous reptiles to an island in the Quabbin Reservoir, Gov. Charlie Baker has not waned in his advocacy for the endangered timber rattlesnake. Read More

Timber rattlesnake [Photo: Tim Vickers/Wikimedia C

Timber rattlesnake [Photo: Tim Vickers/Wikimedia Commons]


SENATORS EXPRESS FRUSTRATION WITH REVENUE LEVELS

Saying the economic recovery has "already happened," Sen. Dan Wolf joined many of his Senate colleagues on Tuesday in lamenting the lack of appetite for new revenues from the House and Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More


REPORT: OBAMAS RETURNING TO VINEYARD FOR SUMMER VACA

President Barack Obama and the first family will return this year to Martha's Vineyard for their seventh summer vacation on the island since Obama took office in 2009, the Cape Cod Times reported Tuesday, citing the commanding officer of Air Station Cape Cod. Read More


SENATE WEIGHING PLAN TO GIVE LOTTERY "BROAD MANDATE" FOR ONLINE GAMES

If the Massachusetts State Lottery is to continue to thrive and return hundreds of millions of dollars to cities and towns, it must have the ability to move online in some fashion, its executive director said, but it first needs permission from the Legislature to test the World Wide Web's waters. Read More


VENDING BILL BACKERS HOPING LAWMAKERS WILL FORCE HEALTHIER OPTIONS

Pointing to endorsements from two legislative committees and a "breakthrough" in addressing opposition, supporters say this could be the year that Massachusetts lawmakers pass a bill requiring vending machines on state property to stock foods like yogurt, fruit and nuts alongside chips, candy and other standbys. Read More


REGIONAL SCHOOL BUSING GETS MONEY BOOST THROUGH GOBI AMENDMENT

Regional school districts would be reimbursed for 73 percent of the cost of shuttling students to and from school under a budget amendment unanimously adopted Tuesday by the Senate. Read More


ACTIVE SHOOTER DETECTION SYSTEMS RECOMMENDED BY SENATE FOR UMASS

The Senate on Tuesday tacked onto its budget a directive for the University of Massachusetts to study the feasibility of installing on every campus a system to detect gunfire and alert the authorities. Read More


UTILITIES COULD FACE POLE FINES UNDER SENATE BUDGET RIDER

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a measure granting cities and towns the authority to impose fines of up to $1,000 on utilities that fail to remove obsolete poles in a timely manner. Read More


BAKER DISCUSSES POTENTIAL 2018 CAMPAIGN THEMES

More than two years out from the next gubernatorial election, Gov. Charlie Baker has some arguments for why voters might return him to office in 2018. The governor, who has yet to announce whether he would seek a second four-year term, was quizzed on Boston Herald Radio Tuesday about what he would say to a potential challenger. Read More


TAX POLICY PROPOSALS RULED OUT OF ORDER IN SENATE BUDGET DEBATE

Thirty-one state budget amendments involving tax law modifications were ruled unconstitutional and removed from consideration Tuesday as the Senate began plowing through more than 1,000 proposed changes to its $39.497 billion fiscal 2017 spending bill. Read More


SENATE REJECTS TAX EXEMPTION FOR "PUBLIC PURPOSE" FARMERS' MARKETS

The Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday turned back an amendment that would have made farmers' markets exempt from paying property taxes. The Sen. Richard Ross amendment, which was rejected 10-28, would have designated farmers' markets as a public purpose, freeing them from paying taxes on any property they own. Read More


Rep. Swan [File Photo: SHNS]

SWAN ENDORSES SON, WILL GIVE UP HOUSE SEAT HE'S HELD SINCE 1994

As one Benjamin Swan prepares to retire from politics, another could be ready to take his place. After more than 22 years in the House of Representatives, Springfield Rep. Benjamin Swan, 82, on Tuesday announced his intention not to seek re-election this fall, and instead endorsed his son - 56-year-old Benjamin Swan Jr. - for the seat he has held in 1994. Read More


CHAIRMAN SEES SENATE TAKING UP VETERANS BILL AFTER BUDGET

The Massachusetts Senate is gearing up for a debate on its version of House-approved legislation protecting veterans against employment discrimination and delivering more public housing opportunities to veterans. Read More


STATE PLAN MEANS MORE T BUSES OPERATING BEYOND USEFUL LIFE, GROUP SAYS

The state's draft five-year $14.3 billion transportation capital plan lacks adequate funding for MBTA buses and fails to follow through on a bus maintenance facility for Pioneer Valley commuters, according to a transit advocate. In public comments, the Conservation Law Foundation said the number of buses that are beyond their useful life of 12 years would increase over the next half decade under the draft plan. Read More


BAKER: "I'M NOT GOING TO VOTE FOR ANY OF THESE PEOPLE"

After ruling out casting his ballot for the likely Republican, Democratic and Libertarian presidential tickets, Gov. Charlie Baker made it clear on Tuesday: he does not plan to vote for any presidential candidate. Read More

BAKER [File Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

BAKER [File Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]


THIRST FOR SPENDING REFLECTED IN SENATE BUDGET AMENDMENTS

Facing a current-year budget deficit and sluggish tax collections, Massachusetts senators are nonetheless exhibiting a strong appetite for spending, filing budget amendments with a total cost of more than $4.1 billion, according to an analysis released ahead of the start of annual budget deliberations on Tuesday. Read More

State Senate chamber [File photo: Antonio Caban/SH

State Senate chamber [File photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service