ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (Formal)
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (Formal)

House Vaccine Order Also Triggers Extension Of Remote Voting

Eyeing a way to get back to face-to-face dealmaking in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, House leaders on Thursday will ask lawmakers to approve a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all members and staff who want to work from the State House, brushing off the concerns of some legislators who believe it's a step too far.

Judge Weighs In On Commutations, Women’s Prison

Appearing before the Governor's Council to seek elevation to the Superior Court, District Court Judge Cathleen Campbell on Wednesday applauded coverage of the recent push to commute a Brockton man's prison sentence, and knocked a proposed new women's prison.

Livestream Restored As Council Vets Superior Court Nominee

The elected panel that votes on Gov. Charlie Baker's judicial nominees reactivated its public livestream Wednesday, after live video of meetings in the shuttered State House was abruptly disabled last week.

Rep Seeks Independence For Climatologist Post That’s Unfilled

The position has not been fully funded or filled since it was established, but Rep. Ken Gordon on Wednesday made a case for moving the office of the state climatologist out of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs secretariat and giving it independence.

Bill Aims To Force Gender Balance, Diversity On Public Boards

A number of state boards and commissions would need their memberships to better reflect the state's population based on gender, race, and ethnicity under legislation that advocates say would balance out the makeup of high-profile public bodies.

Rehab Agency Grappling With Disconnect In Client Demographics

Nearly eight out of 10 people with disabilities served by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission last year were white, a higher rate than the statewide population makeup that prompted the agency's head to call for a renewed focus on reaching people of all races and ethnicities.

New Tool Maps Birds, Fish In Offshore Wind Areas

Location, location, location. While federal and state officials eagerly pursue a rapid and significant deployment of offshore wind turbines to generate cleaner power along the East Coast, scientists and advocates on Wednesday unveiled a new mapping tool designed to give developers, regulators and the public a better sense of the natural resources below the surface in the neighborhood of proposed wind projects.

House Session Summary - Wednesday, Sept. 22

House leaders introduced an order on Wednesday to require vaccines for all members and staff working out of the State House, and scheduled a debate on the "reopening" plan for Thursday. House Rules Committee Chairman William Galvin also filed and the House adopted an order giving legislators until 5 p.m. to file amendments to the reopening plan ahead of Thursday's session. - Matt Murphy

Lowell Among 37 Communities To Receive Open Space $$$

Gov. Charlie Baker announced more than $10 million in grant money Tuesday to aid local parks and conservation land in 37 municipalities and six conservation districts, spread across the map from the Provincetown Greenway to the Pittsfield-based Berkshire Conservation District.

Talks At Highest Levels On Boston’s “Humanitarian Crisis”

Describing the situation at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston as a "humanitarian crisis," Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration has had a "number of conversations" with city officials about ways the state might be able to help.

Healey Joins Antitrust Lawsuit Against Two Airlines

Attorney General Maura Healey is suing American Airlines and JetBlue, joining the federal government and five other states in a complaint that alleges the airlines are harming travelers by consolidating operations in Boston and New York City.

Ferguson: House Reopening Plan is “Too Vague”

In the eyes of the Republican lawmaker who participated in a working group's deliberations about reopening the State House, the proposal to bring people back into the building in four undated phases is "too vague in some key areas."

Ed Board Votes To Raise Commissioner Riley’s Salary

Members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education signed off Tuesday on salary increases for Commissioner Jeff Riley, setting him up to receive pay bumps both retroactively and going forward.

MBTA Plans To Fire Driver Involved In Green Line Crash

The MBTA will take steps to fire the Green Line operator who investigators say accelerated a trolley to three times the speed limit before crashing into another train from behind, officials announced Tuesday.

Housing Chair Seeks Info From Admin On Eviction Diversion Efforts

Almost a year into the state's eviction diversion initiative, a top lawmaker flagged concerns that the state's Southeast Housing Court has seen "disproportionately higher evictions" compared to other areas and floated additional ideas to improve the program.

Pool Testing Expanding To Cover More In Early Care Settings

A small pool testing program that caught 37 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in early education and child care settings in 2021 is about to be expanded substantially through a partnership between the state, Neighborhood Villages and the Biden administration.

Drug Benefit Managers May Be Drawn Into Health Care Debate

With Gov. Charlie Baker and legislative leaders weighing another pass at health care reform this session, lawmakers and independent pharmacists called Tuesday for Beacon Hill to impose stricter state regulations on the benefit managers who help negotiate between health plans, manufacturers and pharmacies.

ARPA $$$ Eyed To Fill Widening Gaps In Health Care

From food insecurity and staffing shortages to an unequal and "broken" local public health system, advocates and lawmakers on Tuesday said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in the state's ability to meet the health needs of residents that should be filled with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham. [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Biden Taps Framingham Rep For Federal Energy Post

President Joe Biden announced plans late Wednesday to nominate Rep. Maria Robinson of Framingham to join his administration in the U.S. Department of Energy.

"What do you think, is this a pretty good place for wind, yes or no?" Gov. Charlie Baker said as he pretended to be blown away by the breeze during a Wednesday visit to an offshore wind workforce training site at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal. [Screenshot]

Higher Ed Expanding Partnership Around Offshore Wind

A partnership among higher education institutions in southeastern Massachusetts focused on the offshore wind sector will soon expand to involve twice as many schools, the head of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy said Wednesday.

Tobin Lane Trims Travel Time On Heavily Used Bus Route

A dedicated bus lane on the heavily traveled Tobin Bridge has produced "pretty significant improvements" for commuters on one of MBTA's most popular routes since it launched in December, slicing the typical rider's morning travel time across the bridge by more than half, the state's top transportation official said Tuesday.

As Protests Unfold, DA Offers Explainer On Sexual Assault Cases

University of Massachusetts Amherst students since last weekend have been protesting in connection with allegations of a sexual assault at a fraternity, and county prosecutors on Wednesday outlined the different ways that criminal investigations into alleged sexual assaults are initiated.

Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Committee House Chair Jeff Roy speaks during a legislative boat trip to the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island. [Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Turbine Tour Shows House Plans to Spin Wheel On Wind Policy

Hoping to expand the universe of developers that bid on the offshore wind projects that will be key to the next several decades of Massachusetts energy policy, House leaders said Tuesday they are preparing legislation to change the bid requirements, including eliminating the price cap that has been in place for the first three procurement rounds.

Education Secretary Jim Peyser talks to a fellow evacuee on Bowdoin Street after an emergency alarm interrupted Tuesday's Board of Education meeting in the McCormack State Office Building. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

MCAS Results Show Slide In Scores During Pandemic

The first MCAS tests administered in the COVID-19 era featured drops in scores "across the board," the state's education commissioner said Tuesday, saying the results show "everyone is going to have to step forward" to address kids' mental health and academic needs.

Uncaptioned image for story:"Full-Power" Acceleration Preceded Green Line Crash

“Full-Power” Acceleration Preceded Green Line Crash

An MBTA Green Line operator put his trolley's controls into a "full-power position" before striking another trolley from behind in a July 30 crash that injured 27 people, federal transportation investigators said Tuesday.

Baker, GOP Guvs Want Sit-Down With Biden Over Border Crisis

With migrants, many seeking refuge from Haiti, flocking to the southern border to gain entry to the United States, Gov. Charlie Baker has joined 25 other Republican governors to request a meeting with with President Joe Biden to discuss how to end the "national security crisis" on the border.

State Eyes Heating Fuel Emissions Cap

Targeting a sector that accounts for nearly one-third of statewide greenhouse gas emissions, the Baker administration is forming a new advisory commission to help the state meet its carbon reduction targets by creating cleaner buildings and addressing heating fuels that contribute substantially to emissions.

Health Care Union Backs Wu

A health care workers' union with 10,000 members in Boston and $3 million in campaign cash came out Tuesday in support of Michelle Wu's bid for mayor, announcing its backing at the start of the general election cycle.

Mass. Home Sales Down For Second Straight Month

Home prices in the red-hot housing market exceeded $500,000 for the fifth straight month in August, but buyers aren't scooping up the properties as fast as they did during the previous two years as single-family home sales declined for the second straight month, The Warren Group reported on Tuesday.

Senate President Karen Spilka told reporters Monday that her branch was looking at possibly adding the reprecincting conference report to its Thursday session agenda if it passes the House. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Reprecincting Bill Pops, But No Timeline On New Maps

The state Legislature will try to get the decennial redistricting process "done as soon as we can" and could send Gov. Charlie Baker a bill involving the timeline for drawing local precincts on Thursday, Senate President Karen Spilka said.

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Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
New Confirmed Cases1,821
Total Confirmed Cases745,771
Total Deaths18,504
Full Vaccinations4,597,638

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State House News Service