... Galvin issues Massachusetts crowdfunding exemption ...... Baker makes no commitment about local aid hikes during address to muni officials ...... Sean Cronin named senior deputy commissionr of local services ...... Golberg asks lawmakers to boost Lottery advertising budget ...... Lepore sees budget-balancing plan release early to middle of next week ...... Galvin sees retirement savings crisis on the horizon ...... Boston 2024 spills details on its summer Olympics bid ...... Spilka tapped by Rosenberg to lead Senate Ways and Means ...... Galvin working on final details of online voter registration ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m.
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m.

BAKER, POLITO VISIT STORM-DAMAGED COASTAL TOWNS

Visiting coastal communities that took some of the hardest shots from this week's blizzard, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Wednesday continued their hands-on approach to storm management and response, listening to local officials and pledging assistance. Baker briefly presided at a roundtable meeting at Scituate town offices, promising to send front loaders into a neighborhood there to clear debris so that utility crews can begin restoring power to homes, pending approval from local building and electrical inspectors. Read More


MARKEY, WARREN URGE REJECTION OF PHONE RULE CHANGES

U.S. Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren are pushing federal regulators to reject proposals that could provide exemptions for businesses to use auto-dialers and reach consumers' mobile devices. In a letter Wednesday addressed to the chair of the Federal Elections Commission, Tom Wheeler, the Massachusetts Democrats said the proposals could "undermine" the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, which sought to tamp down telemarketing, to set up a National Do Not Call Registry and to ban auto-dialing and pre-recorded calls, with some exceptions. Read More


DeLEO TO SEEK END TO SPEAKER'S TERM LIMIT

House Speaker Robert DeLeo will push his caucus on Thursday to approve new internal rules eliminating term limits on the speakership, allowing the Winthrop Democrat to remain in power beyond 2017, someone familiar with the speaker's plans said Wednesday. DeLeo will make his case to House Democrats for dropping the eight-year limit on serving as speaker during a private caucus Thursday morning before the House is slated to debate it rules for the upcoming session. Read More


MASS. RECOVERING FROM JUNO'S BLOW

As the blizzard called Juno rose up through Nova Scotia, Massachusetts roads were fully open Wednesday morning for the first time since Monday and Gov. Charlie Baker has urged residents to break back into their routines and "engage commerce" but it's still slow going for many. The Legislature is closed on Wednesday and Baker has instructed non-emergency state employees not to report to work. The MBTA, after being closed on Tuesday, is operating again but with delays. Read More


PARTNERS JOINS NATIONAL ALLIANCE FOCUSED ON CHANGING HEALTH CARE

Partners Healthcare, the Bay State's largest private sector employer, plans to substantially decrease its fee-for-service business and boost alternative payment models over the next five years as it announced plans Wednesday to join a national effort aimed at "improving outcomes and lowering costs" in health care. Currently about half of Partners' primary care business is under the fee-for-service model, and by 2020 the organization plans to reduce that figure to 25 percent with the other 75 percent in some form of "value-based" payment model. The primary care business does not include referrals or emergency room visits, according to Partners. Read More


POLITO MEETS MAN WHOSE MARSHFIELD HOME WAS DAMAGED

Visiting coastal communities that took hard shots from this week's blizzard, Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Wednesday continued their hands-on approach to storm management and response, listening to local officials and pledging assistance. Read More


BAKER SURVEYS DAMAGE AS REGION DIGS OUT FROM BLIZZARD

As people dug through snow drifts, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday reflected on the "heated conversation" that preceded his decision to ban driving during the blizzard and urged the public to pitch in clearing sidewalks. "I do not want the travel ban to become the first lever that everybody pushes or pulls every time we have a snowstorm," Baker told reporters at a briefing Wednesday morning before heading to damaged areas on the South Shore and Nantucket. Baker said transportation and emergency management officials would agree that, "The travel ban was the source of heated conversation over the course of Sunday and the beginning of Monday." Read More


Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

BAKER LIFTING TRAVEL BAN AT MIDNIGHT

A travel ban that began Monday will be lifted at midnight Tuesday for eastern Massachusetts and the Worcester area and the MBTA will attempt a slow return with regular service on Wednesday, state officials said late Tuesday, as a major winter storm appeared close to its end. Logan International Airport will also re-open at 6 a.m. Wednesday and ramp up flights by noon. Read More


MASS. HIGH COURT RULES JURY LISTS SHOULD BE PUBLIC

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday ordered trial courts to create lists of jurors that will be made available to the public "no later than the completion of the trial." In his opinion Justice Robert Cordy cited the 18th century Boston Massacre trial, where he said the jurors who acquitted the British soldiers were known to the public. Cordy referenced the ancient proceeding to bolster his point that the identities of jurors are open to the public "under long-standing Massachusetts law, practice, and tradition, even in high-profile and contentious cases." Read More


MASS. HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUT RATE AT THREE-DECADE LOW

The overall graduation rate of Massachusetts high schools continued to improve during the last school year and dropouts are at a three-decade low, though stark contrasts remain and not every district enjoyed success. Statewide, the four-year graduation rate for the class of 2014 was 86.1 percent, the eighth year of improvement in that metric, and the dropout rate for the 2013-2014 school year was 2 percent, the "lowest rate that we have seen in more than three decades," according to Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell Chester. Read More


DISAGREEMENT BREWING OVER EARNED SICK TIME

An effort to make business-friendly changes to the earned sick time law passed by voters in November has encountered opposition from the organization that led the push for the ballot law. Sen. Michael Rodrigues filed a bill that would rewrite the law set to go into effect July 1, and said he hopes to meet with the law's supporters and try to seek some middle ground. Read More


TRAVEL BAN LIFTED IN WESTERN MASS.

Gov. Charlie Baker lifted the travel ban for western counties of Massachusetts just after noon Tuesday, but declined to speculate on how long the ban might last for Worcester County and the eastern areas of the state. Baker said the travel ban would remain in effect on Interstate 90 in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties while other roads there would be open, and he encouraged people to "use best judgment" when deciding whether to venture out. Read More


BAKER MID-STORM ASSESSMENT: "SO FAR, SO GOOD"

After forecasts of an historic blizzard, dawn broke across Massachusetts on Tuesday after what Gov. Charlie Baker called a "relatively incident-free night." "I mean, so far so good," Baker said at 7:20 a.m., wrapping up a 15-minute storm update from the state's emergency management bunker in Framingham. Read More

The waters off Cohasset and Hull were churning on

The waters off Cohasset and Hull were churning on Monday in the hours before a major snowstorm clobbered Massachusetts, bringing most work and activities to a halt. [Photo: Michael Norton/SHNS] | Hi-Res


Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

BUDGET, OPIATE PLANS DELAYED AS STORM BECOMES BAKER'S FOCUS

With a potentially historic blizzard churning toward Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker said the arriving storm has disrupted more than just plans to sleep in his own bed Monday night. Baker planned by the middle of this week to roll out a proposed solution to the state's $765 million, mid-year budget shortfall. While Baker told the News Service that might be still "doable by Friday," the governor indicated he would delay until next week an announcement on executive actions he will take to fight opiate addiction. Read More


AG HEALEY THREATENS LAWSUIT AGAINST PARTNERS

Attorney General Maura Healey on Monday publicly signaled her concerns with a proposed accord that would allow Partners HealthCare to acquire more hospitals, stating that she would go to court to block the South Shore Hospital portion of the merger if a judge rejects the deal. The state's agreement with Partners, meant to be an alternative to a lawsuit by the attorney general's office, was negotiated by Healey's predecessor and former boss, Martha Coakley. Read More


BAKER ORDERS TRAVEL BAN AS "TOP FIVE STORM" CLOSES IN

Preparing for what he described as a "top five" blizzard and his first as governor, Gov. Charlie Baker early Monday afternoon declared a state of emergency and announced plans to impose a statewide travel ban for all non-emergency vehicles starting at midnight. "We are anticipating an historic top five storm," Baker said during a news conference at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency emergency bunker in Framingham, where the governor plans to be stationed for the bulk of the storm. Read More


ADVOCATES ANXIOUS TO SEE ELDER AFFAIRS SECRETARY NAMED

Advocates for elderly people are disappointed that the Baker administration has not yet named a secretary of elder affairs to oversee the department that handles issues older people face. AARP is "very concerned" an elder affairs secretary has not been named, said Michael Festa, state director for the Massachusetts arm of the national organization. Read More


TARR BILL REQUIRES LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL OF OLYMPICS BID

As Olympics backers seek to win over public opinion, legislation filed by Senate Republicans would require the House and Senate to approve a bid for the games before any state dollars are expended on them. Boston 2024, the non-profit seeking to bring the summer games to the area in a decade, claims the endeavor would be privately financed, though federal dollars could go toward security and taxpayer money would be spent on infrastructure upgrades that would benefit the games. Read More


BOSTON LAWMAKERS AIR CONCERNS AFTER MEETING WITH OLYMPIC FOES

Members of Boston's delegation to the State House met with opponents of the Olympics bid on Monday, and left the meeting saying valid concerns were raised about how the undertaking would be funded. Rep. Michael Moran, a Brighton Democrat, said the No Boston Olympics presentation on finances was "eye-opening." He said, "I would want honestly to hear more about the finances. The thing that concerns me the most is the finances." Read More


THOMAS RESIGNS AS UMASS CHAIR

Gov. Charlie Baker named a new chairman of the University of Massachusetts board of trustees on Monday, after Henry Thomas submitted his resignation as chair. The Baker administration announced that Victor Woolridge, appointed to the board by former Gov. Deval Patrick in 2009, will take over as chair. Thomas will continue to serve on the board. Read More


GOLDBERG RETAINING MANY TOP OFFICIALS AT MASS. TREASURY

Treasurer Deb Goldberg is retaining a number of her predecessor's staffers, including the executive director of the state employees' retirement system and the chair of the agency regulating alcohol. Nicola Favorito, who has served as executive director of the Massachusetts State Employees' Retirement System since 2003, will stay in that role and as deputy treasurer, Goldberg's office said Monday. Read More


HOUSE POSTPONES RULES DEBATE FOR JUNO

The House met briefly on Monday morning and leaders announced that the branch would postpone its rules debate, scheduled for Wednesday, until Thursday morning in anticipation of a major blizzard arriving in the state later in the day. Rep. Paul Donato said House Democrats would caucus together on Thursday at 10 a.m. with roll calls beginning at 11 a.m. "The speaker is very concerned about members and employees," Donato said, suggesting House Speaker Robert DeLeo did not want to gamble on lawmakers and staff commuting to Beacon Hill on Wednesday after Tuesday's forecast blizzard. Donato said he did not know when a draft of the proposed rules would be available for members and the public to review. Read More


JUNO JOLTS JANUARY SCHEDULE ON BEACON HILL

The approaching blizzard called Juno is poised to wipe out some activities at the State House this week as the focus temporarily turns away from public policy and toward public safety. Gov. Charlie Baker and his team have been planning to unveil his proposal to address a $765 million midyear budget deficit and House Democrats have a caucus planned for Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's scheduled rules debate. Read More


Friday, Jan. 23, 2015

ADVANCES - WEEK OF JANUARY 25, 2015

Gov. Charlie Baker is living up to his budget manager billing. The new governor has been on the job for more than two weeks and has yet to file any legislation to advance his campaign pledges, focusing instead squarely on the state budget crisis he inherited. Baker has taken a freeze-frame approach early on, halting most new hiring in state government as well as new regulations while he and his new team zeroes in on a mid-year budget gap that the Swampscott Republican pegs at $765 million. Read More


BAKER PLEDGES STRONG TIES TO MUNI LEADERS

After pledging as a candidate to boost local aid in lockstep with growing state revenues, Gov. Charlie Baker, who is now wrestling with a state budget crisis, told local officials?Friday?in a major address that he's creating a "community compact cabinet." During an address to the Massachusetts Municipal Association that his predecessors have used as a forum to pledge local aid increases, Baker instead highlighted his plans for enhanced attention to local affairs and offered no assurances about local aid hikes. Read More


BAKER HAS HIGH POPULARITY IN BOSTON AREA

A recent poll found Gov. Charlie Baker has a 58/17 favorable/unfavorable rating in the Boston region, giving him a popularity level that starts to approach Mayor Marty Walsh's. Read More


SENATORS PLAN AGENDA-SETTING MEETINGS AROUND THE STATE

Massachusetts senators can look forward to field trips starting the first week in February and lasting into March. The first Senate gatherings designed to gather input from around the state for agenda-setting will be held Feb. 4 in western Massachusetts. Read More


POLITO: OLYMPICS WILL HAVE STATEWIDE IMPACT

The summer Olympics coming to Boston could have "very serious consequences" along with any potential benefits, according to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said. Read More


BAKER SEES NEED TO INFORM LAWMAKERS OF SPENDING EXPOSURES

With House and Senate leaders in general agreement about the size of a $765 million budget hole, Gov. Charlie Baker is laying some of the responsibility for the crisis on the former Patrick administration. The deficit has occupied the attention of the new administration since Baker's inaugural on Jan. 8 and his top budget aide says he plans to roll out a plan to address it sometime next week. Read More


REGULATORS: SLOT "LOCK-UP" LAW COULD COST MILLIONS

With the state's first slot parlor due to open in five months, Massachusetts regulators are calling on legislators to make adjustments to the 2011gambling law or face the possibility of losing millions of dollars in revenue. Under the law authorizing up to three casinos and a slot parlor, operators are required to stop a gambling machine transaction once someone wins $600. The nascent gambling industry in Massachusetts believes increasing the threshold is "absolutely critical," according to Gaming Commission chair Stephen Crosby. Read More


WEEKLY ROUNDUP - THE SOUND OF AIR ESCAPING

If politics is akin to sport in Massachusetts, it was only fitting this week that the inflationary, or deflationary, policies of its gridiron heroes and elected leaders made for neat synergy. Gov. Charlie Baker wanted almost nothing to do with weighing in on the swirling controversy ahead of the Super Bowl over the pressure levels inside footballs in Foxborough. His focus was firmly affixed on how to let the air out of an overinflated state budget. Read More


OLYMPICS GROUP HIRES DAVEY AS NEW CEO

Boston 2024, the group pushing to make Boston the host city for the 2024 summer Olympics, has hired the state's former transportation secretary as its new CEO. Read More


SUPER BOWL BET UNDER NEGOTIATION

While Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito offered a glimpse of what will be on offer if the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, the details of the traditional wager between the competing teams' governors should be determined Monday, according to an aide to Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made good on his bet with

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence made good on his bet with Gov. Charlie Baker after the Colts were trounced at Gillette Stadium Sunday. [Photo courtesy of Gov. Baker's office]


ON PROTESTS, BAKER FAVORS "MORE PEACEFUL STUFF"

Protesters who attempt to block traffic on major Massachusetts highways will be dealt with "swiftly and appropriately," Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday, expressing his preference for more peaceful demonstrations. Read More


Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

SENATE TO TAKE "DEEP DIVE" INTO MARIJUANA POLICY

After two presidential cycles where activists and voters drove the state's marijuana policy, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg wants to investigate state's approach to regulating the leafy drug as activists are expected to push for legalization of it for recreational use in 2016. Sen. Jason Lewis, a Winchester Democrat, has been assigned to head up a Special Senate Committee on Marijuana, a new entity in the Legislature. Read More


EXPERTS: GROWTH WILL MEAN $1 BIL MORE IN TAXES FOR BUDGET

Economic experts predicted on Thursday that state tax revenues would continue to grow at a "modest" clip through fiscal 2016, with estimates hovering around 4.5 percent growth as lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker's team look ahead toward preparing a new state budget. The estimates, on par with tax collection growth in fiscal 2015, led Rep. Brian Dempsey, the House's incumbent budget chief, to suggest that despite encouraging signs of an economic recovery there might be an "inflated sense" of what it means for state revenue. Read More


LAWMAKERS TO SEEK HEALEY OPINION ON SCHOOL TRANSPO CUT

Former Gov. Deval Patrick may have illegally cut regional school transportation funding last November to help plug a budget gap, according to a group of lawmakers who plan to ask the new attorney general for her legal opinion. Patrick in November cut $18.7 million for regional school transportation reimbursements as part of $252 million in emergency spending reductions. Read More


BAKER SWITCHES UP PORTRAITS IN GUV'S COUNCIL CHAMBER

A founding father, an abolitionist, and a Brahmin governor who led the state during World War II are among the portraits of governors that Gov. Charlie Baker has chosen to feature near his office. Workers on Thursday moved three portraits into the Governor's Council chamber, after Baker picked tributes to individuals who showed leadership during difficult times. Read More

[Photo: Mike Deehan/SHNS]

[Photo: Mike Deehan/SHNS] | Hi-Res


DeMACEDO NAMED RANKING GOP MEMBER OF SWM

Sen. Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth will hold the top Republican spot on the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee, During a long run in the House, deMacedo held the same post on its Ways and Means Committee. The assignment means deMacedo will continue to sit on conference committees that make key decisions about state spending, including the annual budget conference. Sen. Richard Ross of Wrentham had been the ranking minority party member of Ways and Means last session but under Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr's new leadership chart Ross and Sen. Robert Hedlund of Weymouth will both serve as assistant minority leaders. Sen. Don Humason of Westfield will be the Senate minority whip and new Sen. Ryan Fattman, who did not hold a leadership post under House Minority Leader Brad Jones, is now the Senate's assistant minority whip. Read More


MASS. KEEPS "YELLOW" TRAFFIC SAFETY RATING

Massachusetts retained its "yellow" rating on a new annual report card measuring state compliance with 15 laws that advocates say are lifesaving in nature. Read More


MASS. POSTS STRONGEST YEAR FOR JOB GROWTH SINCE 2000

Massachusetts hit an almost 15-year high for annual job growth in 2014 and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent as the state added 10,900 jobs in December, according to data released Thursday. Last year was the strongest year of job growth since 2000 when 95,500 jobs were added, according to the state Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Read More


CENTER FORECASTS $1.1 BIL MASSACHUSETTS BUDGET GAP

The Massachusetts economy has added more than 60,000 jobs over the past year but new projections point to continued state budget difficulties, with a projected $1.1 billion gap forecast ahead of fiscal 2016 budget deliberations. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center on Thursday released its estimate as executive and legislative branch leaders plan to meet in Gardner Auditorium and hear from experts about how much tax revenue they can reasonably count on to support next year's budget. Read More


BRAUDE TAPPED AS NEW HOST OF 'GREATER BOSTON'

Jim Braude will take over as host of the nightly television show "Greater Boston" on March 2, WGBH announced on Thursday. The new post means Braude is stepping down from his position as host of New England Cable News's "Broadside." Read More


NEW LEADERS NAMED FOR MASSHEALTH, CONNECTOR

The state's Medicaid program, which is the largest contributor to the current $765 million mid-year budget gap, has a new leader after Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced he would put Daniel Tsai in charge of MassHealth. Read More


GAMING COMMISSION ADOPTS PUBLIC RECORDS POLICY

The state gambling commission on Thursday endorsed a policy for handling its public records, including electronic filing and the redaction of certain personal information of employees, vendors, casino operators and others. Read More


HEALEY PUSHES FOR TIGHT REIN ON CASH MACHINES AT CASINOS

Citing "significant" ambiguity about where ATMs can appear in casinos, Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday urged state gambling commissioners to consider capping withdrawals and prohibiting credit card cash advances. Testifying before the state gambling commission on her first day on the job, Healey urged the commission to have a "standalone" public process for regulation of ATMs in casinos and to establish a "wide range of protections," including setting ATMS a certain distance from the casino floor. Read More


FALCHUK PURSUING STATEWIDE VOTE ON OLYMPICS

Former candidate for governor Evan Falchuk filed paperwork Thursday to create a ballot committee as part of his effort to oppose Boston as an Olympics host city and bring the question of hosting to a statewide vote. Read More


MORE LUXURY ROOMS, FEWER PARKING SPACES IN NEW CASINO DESIGN

State gambling industry regulators on Thursday sounded supportive notes for a revamped design of the proposed Wynn Resorts casino in Everett. The design, presented by Wynn Everett President Robert DeSalvio, mirrors the Wynn resort in Las Vegas, a bronze glass tower that curves and has a "swooping" top. The signature of the casino mogul Steve Wynn, who was personally involved in the design, is featured at the top of the proposed 24-story building. Read More

A rendering of the proposed Wynn Everett Resort. [

A rendering of the proposed Wynn Everett Resort. [Image: Wynn Resorts]


LIKE DeLEO, ROSENBERG BACKS STATEWIDE OLYMPIC GAMES

As a private group carves out its plan for the 2024 summer Olympic Games, the leaders of the Massachusetts House and Senate are of like mind that venues should be spread throughout the state, an approach that could detract from the "walkability" aspect touted by bid backers. "Why can't we have events in other parts of the Commonwealth? We've got rivers. We've got mountains. We've got all kinds of things all over Massachusetts. Let's spread it out to the best extent possible," Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said during an appearance Thursday on Boston Herald Radio. Read More


GALVIN SEES RETIREMENT SAVINGS CRISIS AHEAD

Embarking on his sixth term as secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin said he wants to sound an alarm about retirement savings plans. The Brighton Democrat, who was sworn-in during a private ceremony on Wednesday, said full pension plans hardly exist anymore, elevating the importance of 401K plans, which he said were originally intended as supplemental accounts. Galvin said employers can change the amount and timing of 401K contributions, which can cause financial harm to the employee. Read More


PITTER SEES CORPORATE TAX AMNESTY AS TIME-SENSITIVE

Tax revenues this fiscal year should wind up within a range of $94 million below to $19 million above benchmarks, Revenue Commissioner Amy Pitter told lawmakers Thursday as they plan for next year and address what Gov. Charlie Baker has called a more immediate spending problem. Read More


NEW BUDGET TEAM SEEKS ANSWERS TO FY15 GAP, FY16 REVENUES

Sen. Karen Spilka, the newly-minted Senate Ways and Means chairwoman, (left) joined Rep. Brian Dempsey (center) and Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore at the annual joint revenue hearing Thursday. Read More

Spilka (left), Dempsey (center), Lapore (right) [P

Spilka (left), Dempsey (center), Lapore (right) [Photo: M. Deehan/SHNS]



 
 
State House News Service