ADVANCES - WEEK OF MARCH 19, 2017
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 17, 2017....The prospects have dimmed on the idea of restoring funding for programs and services cut by Gov. Charlie Baker in December, but lawmakers appear poised to send the governor a mid-year spending bill replenishing an array of accounts that he warned were underfunded in this year's $39.25 billion budget. After calling off its Wednesday session this week because of Tuesday's snowstorm, the House has made plans to hold a formal session next Wednesday to take up Baker's supplemental budget (H 72). Depending on how things unfold in the House, the Senate might also hold a rare formal session next week to take up the spending bill. Also next week, the Legislature's new Committee on Marijuana Policy holds its first official public hearing on Monday. And Ways and Means Committee members plan public hearings on Baker's $40.5 billion fiscal 2018 budget proposal focused on his spending plans in the areas of public safety, the judiciary and health and human services. Marylou Sudders, Baker's secretary of health and human services, is scheduled to testify at Tuesday's budget hearing at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Also next week:
-- ETHICS STAREDOWN: Lawmakers and other members of a task force convened by House Speaker Robert DeLeo to look into the state's ethics laws appear to be zoned in on the State Ethics Commission. Task force members have already heard from commission officials numerous times and on Tuesday they'll be back before the task force at 11 a.m. in Room A-1. While they initiated the proceedings, lawmakers appear intent on trying to pry recommendations for statutory changes from the commission, which seems reluctant to get behind policy changes. Task force co-chair Rep. Chris Markey at one recent meeting suggested a "game of chicken" was occurring between the commission and task force.
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