... Brown rejects sexual harassment allegations, says he's "PO'd" and willing to testify ...... Bit by drought, cranberry growers could produce smaller harvest in Massachusetts ...... State officials say gantries will save motoring public about 800 hours a day, 875,000 gallons of gas per year ...... MassPike toll plan will feature 16 gantries, compared to 26 toll plazas currently ...... More than half of all driver will see tolls decrease or remain the same in swith to gantry system ...... MassDOT: toll removal and reconstruction will cost about $133 million ...... Warren, Moulton applaud $102 mil GE Aviation contract with Army to design helicopter engines in Lynn ...... Drug trafficking, fentanyl on Baker's mind as he preps for meeting with region's governors ...... DPH launches new prescription monitoring system ...... Baker admin plans fee increases, for out-of-state campers ...... DCR ranger accused of settting up pen camera to videotape women in bathroom ...... Bill introduced to name Jamaica Plain bridge after Arredondo brothers ...... House, Senate agree to amendment to school improvement plan bill (H 391) ...... Governing Magazine rates Mass. economy as best among states ...... Concord tornado was 14th to strike Massachusetts since 2010 ...... Urban Edge awarded $10,000 from U.S. Soccer Foundation ...... Politicians, GE hold private celebration to mark company's move-in ...... Soldering work triggers alarms, forces State House evacuation ...... Light, motion sensor project in State House will take five years, official says ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.

LATEST ADVANCES - WEEK OF AUG. 28, 2016

Regional energy issues loom as Gov. Charlie Baker prepares to host the governors of New England and officials from eastern Canada for meetings in Boston on Sunday and Monday.  The gradual shift to more renewable energy sources combined with the mothballing of nuclear and coal power and obstacles to natural gas pipeline capacity are in play as state CEOs look to get greener in the energy sector, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure that power supplies are reliable and affordable.   Read More

WEEKLY ROUNDUP - SUGAR COATED

Summer means there's time for Gov. Charlie Baker to tour a distillery in the Berkshires, for Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash to continue his search for the perfect chocolate frappe, and for local farmers - notwithstanding the scorching drought - to show off their prize-contending tomatoes. Read More

National Dog Day, which fell on Friday, came early

National Dog Day, which fell on Friday, came early this week at the State House with Gumdrop, a nine-week-old pitbull-type puppy, stealing the show at a Wednesday event marking a new animal protection law. [Photo:Katie Lannan/SHNS]


BAKER ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR FELLOW GUVS, PREMIERS

Dean Serpa and Scott Conway of Gov. Charlie Baker's office spent time Friday preparing for the arrival Sunday of New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers. Massachusetts is hosting this year's conference for the northeast state and province leaders. Private events are planned Sunday at the State House - including a formal ceremony on the front steps and a dinner featuring locally-produced food and drink - followed by public events Monday at the Hynes Convention Center. Read More

[Photo: Michael Norton/SHNS]

[Photo: Michael Norton/SHNS] | Hi-Res


Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

FACING INSPECTION BACKLOG, ELEVATOR OVERHAUL RECOMMENDED TO LAWMAKERS

The Department of Public Safety should stop conducting inspections of elevators inside owner-occupied single family residences, inspect certain types of elevators biennially instead of annually and charge its inspection fees based on the number of floors an elevator serves, the state's Elevator Study Commission has concluded. Read More


NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CELEBRATES 100 YEARS

While celebrating a birthday for the National Park Service on Thursday, a local park official acknowledged the system has had to become "smart" in the face of budget limitations. Read More

National Parks of Boston Superintendent Michael Cr

National Parks of Boston Superintendent Michael Creasey on Thursday cut into a birthday cake at a celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Photo Gallery


ACTIVITIES OF NEW SANDERS GROUP CHALLENGED BY MASS FISCAL

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative non-profit that has established itself as a foil to Democratic lawmakers on Beacon Hill, believes the new organization formed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to carry on the ideals of his presidential campaign may be violating state campaign finance law. Read More


TEACHERS UNION MAKES PICKS AHEAD OF DEM PRIMARIES

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, which is spending aggressively this cycle to fight a ballot question proposing to expand charter schools, has recommended 24 legislative candidates ahead of the Sept. 8 primaries, including 11 incumbents. Read More


[Courtesy: U.S. Drought Monitor]

DROUGHT SEVERITY EXPANDING ACROSS PORTIONS OF MASSACHUSETTS

In the midst of a summer devoid of significant rainfall, all of Massachusetts is now at least "abnormally dry" and the portion feeling the effects of a "severe drought" or worse has expanded to cover almost 75 percent of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Read More


WOMEN'S CAUCUS LINES UP ABIGAIL ADAMS HONOREES FOR OCTOBER RECEPTION

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Sen. Karen Spilka, and Rep. Elizabeth Malia will be among the honorees at this year's Abigail Adams Awards, the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus announced Wednesday. The women's civic engagement group is preparing for its 29th annual tribute to Adams, a Weymouth native and the politically-minded wife of President John Adams. A dinner reception is set for Oct. 27 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Read More


SEC CHARGES CHELSEA AFTER CITY SELF-DISCLOSED BOND OFFER PROBLEMS

When Chelsea's treasurer-collector learned of a voluntary disclosure program at the Securities and Exchange Commission two years ago, he decided to review prior financial filings, and turned up some minor discrepancies. On Wednesday, the SEC, which regulates Wall Street's financial markets as well as municipal bond offerings, announced that Chelsea was among 71 governmental debt issuers subjected to enforcement actions. Read More


CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL EXPANSION FOES CHALLENGE NEW PATIENT PROJECTIONS

The group seeking to stop Boston Children's Hospital from moving forward with a $1 billion expansion filed a report this week with state health officials questioning whether the project would be necessary and sustainable. On Wednesday, the Save the Prouty Garden group filed a report with the Department of Public Health and the Health Policy Commission in response to a separate analysis commissioned by the hospital. Read More


MBTA JANITORS CAMP OUTSIDE GUV'S OFFICE TO PROTEST LAYOFFS

MBTA janitors and their supporters protested planned layoffs Thursday, occupying the lobby and hallway outside Gov. Charlie Baker's office and filling the State House with the sound of chanting and singing on an otherwise quiet August day. Read More

Union officials and janitors held a sit-in at the

Union officials and janitors held a sit-in at the governor's office Thursday to protest layoffs for MBTA custodial jobs. [Photo: Andy Metzger/SHNS] | Hi-Res


DEP MAKING MOST OF BUDGET $$ TO PREPARE FOR SPILLS

Laboring under a tight budget this year, the Department of Environmental Protection has some programs in the works to prepare for spills on inland rivers and provide property owners with more guidance. Read More


PLYMOUTH COURT A STEP CLOSER TO BEARING THERESE MURRAY'S NAME

Legislation to name the Plymouth Trial Court after former Senate President Therese Murray cleared the House on Thursday as both branches tended to an agenda that included the advancement of multiple local bills dealing with bridge namings, liquor licenses and other municipal matters. Read More


THREE NOMINATED TO SUPERIOR COURT AS VACANCIES GROW

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday nominated three attorneys for Superior Court judgeships. Read More


NEW BEDFORD AIRPORT CLEARED FOR MORE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

United States Customs and Border Protection and the United States Department of Agriculture have cleared flights that originate outside the United States for landing at New Bedford Regional Airport, the city announced Thursday. Read More

Aerial view of New Bedford Regional Airport [Court

Aerial view of New Bedford Regional Airport [Courtesy: City of New Bedford]


SEVEN HEARINGS SET TO TAKE FEEDBACK ON NEW TURNPIKE TOLL RATES

Chugging toward an Oct. 28 launch when the advent of all-electronic tolling will require some drivers to pay more and others less, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation plans seven meetings to hear feedback on new rates. Read More


REPORT: 80 PERCENT OF MASS. ACUTE CARE HOSPITALS PROFITABLE IN 2015

Eighty percent of the 65 acute care hospitals in Massachusetts were profitable in 2015 despite a slight statewide drop in profitability from the previous year, according to a new state report. Read More


Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

BAKER TO TOUR BERKSHIRE DISTILLERY ON WESTERN SWING

Gov. Charlie Baker will spend his day Thursday in western Massachusetts where he will visit a Berkshire distillery owned by the nephew of former Gov. William Weld after taking part in a “topping off” ceremony to mark the placement of the last steel beam to be hoisted atop a $95 million subway car manufacturing plant. Read More


TRIBE APPLAUDS JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FOR CHALLENGING COURT RULING

The Obama administration on Wednesday challenged a federal court ruling that would strip the Mashpee Wampanoag of its tribal land in southeastern Massachusetts, according to the tribe, reigniting hope for the future of the tribe's planned casino in Taunton. Read More


SNAPSHOT REVEALS GROWTH IN HEALTHY BAY STATE BIOPHARMA SECTOR

Employment in biopharmaceutical manufacturing in Massachusetts grew by 34 percent over the past 10 years, a period when the sector lost nearly 8 percent of its jobs nationally, according to a new report, which noted 9 million square feet of commercial lab space has been added in Massachusetts since 2007. Read More


JUDGES REACH VERDICT - ON STATE'S BEST TOMATOES

The tomatoes were sliced with great care. First in half, then one half was itself halved, and then one quarter was cut into bite-sized hunks. As the scent of fresh tomato filled the Boston Public Market on Wednesday, judges prepared to sample the various shapes, sizes and colors of tomato in an effort to pick the cream of the crop. Read More

Judges sampled field tomatoes entered by commercia

Judges sampled field tomatoes entered by commercial farmers into the 32nd annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest at the Boston Public Market on Wednesday. The judges were tasked with selecting the best tomatoes based on flavor, firmness and slicing quality, exterior color and shape in four categories: slicing, cherry, heirloom and weight. [Photo: Colin A. Young/SHNS] | Photo Gallery


BAKER TO MARK PROGRESS AT RAIL CAR FACTORY

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to travel to Springfield where he will sign the last steel beam to be hoisted atop a $95 million subway car manufacturing plant. Read More


BROWN

BROWN REJECTS SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS

Fox News analyst and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown on Wednesday rejected the sexual harassment allegations made against him in a newly filed lawsuit against the cable network, calling the charges levied by a former television host "out of left field." "I'm a little PO'd that's for sure," Brown told Boston Herald Radio as he said he was getting ready to go on a bike ride with his wife of 30 years Gail Huff. Read More


GRANT PROGRAM OPENED AHEAD OF STATE'S FIRST EARLY VOTING PERIOD

With the start of the state's first early voting period two months away, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin on Wednesday announced a new grant program aimed at helping municipalities open their polling places for the last weekend in October. Read More


PLANE LANDS ON QUABBIN SANDBAR

A single-engine plane flown by a Rhode Islander landed on a sandbar in the Quabbin Reservoir on Tuesday afternoon, according to the State Police. The pilot, identified as a 42-year-old man from Newport, reported mechanical issues with the aircraft. Read More


MARIJUANA PROPONENT SAYS QUESTION'S PASSAGE WILL HELP PEOPLE AVOID "THE LIST"

While noting the illegal marijuana market has been thriving for decades, the chief spokesman for the campaign to legalize general adult use of the drug says passage of Question 4 in November will enable people to avoid one aspect of the legal medical marijuana market: "the list." Read More


SOUTH SHORE TOWN DROPS WATER USE BY 300,000 GALLONS A DAY

The announcement greets all visitors to the town of Scituate's website. At the top of the page, inside a fire engine red box, in all capital letters and sprinkled with exclamation points is the alert: "NOTICE: FULL WATER BAN IN EFFECT! PLEASE CONSERVE - WATER SOURCES ARE AT CRTICAL [sic] LEVELS! VIOLATORS WILL BE FINED." Read More


SJC AT FULL STRENGTH AFTER PRIVATE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY

David Lowy and Kimberly Budd were officially sworn in as justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in a private ceremony Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Charlie Baker's office said. Read More

BUDD / LOWY

BUDD / LOWY


MASS. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IN POSITIVE TERRITORY FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT QUARTER

Gains in consumer confidence in Massachusetts over the past year have been erased, and while most residents remain overwhelmingly positive there's been a drop recently in the number of people who believe it's a good time to make a major household purchase, according to newly released data. Read More


UTILITIES BEHIND PIPELINE LOOK TO REESTABLISH MASS. "CONTRIBUTION"

National Grid and Eversource Energy this week withdrew applications for long-term gas capacity contracts in the wake of a Supreme Judicial Court decision, but a new letter to policymakers reinforces the utilities' commitment to the Access Northeast pipeline project. Read More


MASS. STUDENTS TOPS IN NATION ON ACT TEST

Recent Massachusetts high school graduates had the highest average score on the annual ACT test, a benchmark for their college and career readiness, according to test results released Wednesday. Read More


VIDEO | NEW LAW PROTECTS RESCUERS OF PETS IN DISTRESS

As the temperature climbed above 80 degrees late Wednesday morning, Gumdrop, a nine-week-old pitbull-type puppy, took refuge from the heat and sun in a patch of shade underneath a desk placed on pavement outside the State House. From the same desk moments earlier, Gov. Charlie Baker had ceremoniously signed a new law aimed at protecting pets like Gumdrop from extreme temperatures in cars. Read More

Gumdrop, a nine-week old pitbull-type puppy, sat a

Gumdrop, a nine-week old pitbull-type puppy, sat atop the table where Gov. Charlie Baker marked the signing of a pet protection bill into law. [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS] | Photo Gallery


FORECAST POINTS TO SMALLER CRANBERRY HARVEST IN MASSACHUSETTS

On the brink of the harvest season and amid concerns about the ongoing drought, Massachusetts cranberry growers have been told to expect a 5 percent dip compared to last year's crop. In late summer, sufficient water is "critical to ample fruit sizing," according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, which said the sustained drought is growers' "greatest concern." Read More

Cranberry growers work to harvest the fruit from a

Cranberry growers work to harvest the fruit from a bog at Harju Brothers Cranberries in Kingston in 2009. [Photo Courtesy: Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs]


Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016

OFFICIAL: WOMAN WHO CONTRACTED WEST NILE IS BACK AT HOME

The woman who contracted West Nile Virus in Middlesex County has been "safely discharged" home, Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel told the News Service on Tuesday. After testing, public health officials announced last Tuesday the woman had been infected with the mosquito-borne virus. Read More


SPECTRA COMMITTED TO PIPELINE PROJECT, UTILITIES WITHDRAW DPU FILINGS

The company leading the push for a major natural gas pipeline project that would serve New England appeared undeterred Tuesday by news that both Eversource and National Grid this week withdrew related applications for approval of natural gas transportation and storage contracts. Read More


STATE FINALIZING RULES FOR MOBILE NON-EMERGENCY SERVICES

A set of proposed regulations presented Tuesday would pave the way for the development of new health care programs in Massachusetts that expand the role of emergency medical service providers with the goal of increasing access to services and reducing costs. "This will be a new innovation in Massachusetts, in which we hope to be a national leader," Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel told the News Service. Read More


MASS. HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS CAN NOW REGISTER, PAY ONLINE

Home improvement contractors in Massachusetts can for the first time register online with the state business regulation office and pay for their licenses with a credit card, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation announced Tuesday. An online registration portal is open for first-time registrants and online registration renewal is expected to be offered through the portal sometime this fall, OCA said. Read More


CITING SJC RULING, EVERSOURCE WITHDRAWS NATURAL GAS APPLICATION

Eversource, a gas and electric utility, this week withdrew its application for approval of natural gas transportation and storage contracts, which would run along a proposed pipeline called Access Northeast. In its filing to the Department of Public Utilities the company cited a recent Supreme Judicial Court case limiting ratepayers' financing of such pipeline projects. Read More


STATE OVERHAULING REVIEW PROCESS FOR HEALTH CARE PROJECTS

Nursing homes looking to expand their facilities will need to participate in Medicaid under a broad overhaul of Department of Public Health regulations presented Tuesday. "By including Medicaid as a requirement for the determination of needs, this ensures that the most vulnerable populations among us also get access to that high-quality care," Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel told the News Service. Read More

Nora Mann, director of Determination of Need at th

Nora Mann, director of Determination of Need at the Department of Public Health, on Tuesday highlighted components of new regulations to the Public Health Council, which if approved could take effect early next year. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BROWN

NEW LAWSUIT BY FORMER FOX HOST MAKES CLAIMS ABOUT BROWN

A new lawsuit filed by former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros against the network and several senior executives describes an encounter with former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown as an example of a culture at the cable channel that tolerated sexual harassment. Read More


JULY SALES DOWN AS HOME, CONDO PRICES REMAIN HIGH

Home sales in Massachusetts fell 12.5 percent in July, a month that featured the second highest median sale price on record, The Warren Group reported Tuesday morning. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service