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

MassHealth Expanding Call Center, Plans Redetermination Dashboard

With the state mired in a labor crunch, MassHealth hopes to double its call center workforce capacity in the next two months to deal with the undertaking of determining which of the 2.3 million people on the state-funded health plan are still eligible.

Youth Skills Program Also Touts Low Recidivism Rate

The sound of chanting students rang through the State House during the Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition's annual advocacy day Tuesday, as the group looks to keep hold of its funding to serve around 300 participants in 11 cities.

On Guv’s Title, Rep Says “History Has Blown By” State Constitution

The state's governing document still only refers to elected officials by male pronouns. And while the process to change that language would be lengthy, this is the year to start because "history has blown by the Massachusetts Constitution," according to one lawmaker.

Tax Debate Turning On Population Concerns, Division Among Dems

For a Revenue Committee hearing, there was relatively little in-depth talk Tuesday about the nitty-gritty details of Gov. Maura Healey's tax package.

DCF Chief Reports Fewer, But More Complex Cases

The Department of Children and Families is dealing with fewer cases today than it was several years ago, but those that remain are increasingly complex matters involving children with significant needs, the bureau chief said Tuesday.

Expiring Aid Putting Pressure On Special Ed Budgets

Lawmakers should approve both funding proposals Gov. Maura Healey rolled out in the past month to ease the burden on schools facing a jump in special education costs, not one or the other, a top administration official said Tuesday.

Lawmakers Echo Concerns They Hear About PFAS

From fish being reeled in by anglers in Taunton to the drinking water at an elementary school in New Salem, so-called forever chemicals known as PFAS are everywhere, the questions and comments from lawmakers from various corners of Massachusetts at Monday's Joint Committee on Ways and Means budget hearing made clear.

Who’s On The Move?

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board has a new leadership slate ... After advising several federal and state campaigns in the region, communications firm SKDK has launched a New England practice ... The Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association has a new health equity leader whose resume goes back to Mayor Menino's administration ... And the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has a new communications director ...

MBTA Watchdogs At DPU Hampered By Hiring Woes

When the Federal Transit Administration concluded last year that the Department of Public Utilities fell short in its safety oversight of the MBTA, the department's then-chair told lawmakers that it was working to roughly double the number of employees in its Transportation Oversight Division. More than six months and a new chair later, DPU is still trying to bulk up its safety staff.

Senate Session Summary - Schedules Thursday Debate On Road Bill

The Senate on Monday queued up a redraft of the borrowing bill to finance local road and bridge improvements, placing that matter on the calendar for a Thursday formal session even though it's still in committee.

Labor, Weather Changes Leaving Mark On Winter Road Budgets

Winters in Massachusetts are changing and that means the Department of Transportation has to rethink how it talks about its wintertime snow and ice removal operations, which are also becoming more expensive because of the changes.

House Session Summary - Adjourns 'Til Thursday While Budget Hearings Unfold

The House on Monday approved a bill allowing the city of Boston to waive the maximum age requirement for one of its police officers and advanced two other local bills dealing with police in Leicester and Watertown. No other business emerged during the lightly attended session, which came on the heels of last week's approval of a roughly $1.1 billion combined spending and borrowing bill and authorization of $350 million in funds for local road work and transportation infrastructure.

Warren Declares Bid For Third U.S. Senate Term

After running for president early in her second term, Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday declared she will seek a third U.S. Senate term in 2024, promising to pass a "wealth tax," more strictly regulate banks, and modernize transportation in Massachusetts.

Mass. May See Flood Of New Drivers, Fees

If all 200,000 newly-eligible undocumented immigrants apply for a driver's license next fiscal year, their applications would far exceed the number of first-time license applications the Registry of Motor Vehicles issues every year. On average, about 120,000 people in Massachusetts get a driver's license for the first time each year, according to the Department of Transportation.

Advances - Week of March 26, 2023

The pace is picking up on Beacon Hill, where Gov. Maura Healey, who has three weeks remaining in her first 100 days, finally has an opportunity to sign her first major piece of legislation.

Uncaptioned image for story:State Police Renewing Push For Higher Ed Incentives

State Police Renewing Push For Higher Ed Incentives

After Massachusetts implemented a sweeping police reform bill three years ago, the state police union is now saying that incentivizing higher education for troopers and compensating "equal pay for equal work" would lead to "phase two" of police reform, what they call the "evolution of policing."

Revisions Put Mass. Behind Pre-Pandemic Employment

Massachusetts still remains a bit below pre-pandemic levels of employment following a Friday announcement that revised previously announced data.

T Awards $99 Mil Contract For Rail Work At South Station

One of the state's largest railway hubs is in line for track, switch and signal upgrades after the MBTA Board approved a new contract on Thursday.

Sports Betting Industry Buzzing Over Marketing Rules

The sports betting industry is on one side, the attorney general's office is on the other, and in the middle are the Mass. Gaming Commission regulators who will soon have to decide whether to allow certain marketing arrangements in Massachusetts.

Early Accord Within Reach On Road Funding, Grants Bill

While a new wrinkle has emerged, House and Senate Democrats appear to heading for a relatively early session agreement on legislation allocating $200 million for local road and bridge work and another $150 million for transportation-related infrastructure grants.

Mass. Schools Still Have More Than $1.4 Bil In Fed Aid Funds

More than half of the roughly $2.6 billion in emergency education aid the federal government steered to Massachusetts during the pandemic remains unspent, according to a top Department of Elementary and Secondary Education official.

Uncaptioned image for story:Scratch Ticket Rebound Lifts Lottery

Scratch Ticket Rebound Lifts Lottery

Sales at the Massachusetts Lottery were up more than 20 percent in February, due in large part to a sizable bump in sales of a key product that Lottery officials have been concerned about in the last year.

Report Dissects Gaps In High School Computer Science

Despite high demand for workers with tech skills, there are persistent gaps and inequities in computer science courses for Massachusetts high school students, according to a new report, which recommends that the state eventually mandate that students take a computer science class in order to graduate.

After introducing himself to Massachusetts at a Riverside Station press conference on Monday -- and making clear that he's a Mets fan, not a Yankees fan -- incoming MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng hopped aboard a Green Line train to head into Boston for more meetings with T staff. [Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Experienced Eng Bringing Energy, Optimism To MBTA

Incoming MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng is walking into an agency where slow zones cover more than a quarter of subway tracks, service cuts persist on heavy rail and buses, and the chasm of a budget shortfall in the hundreds of millions of dollars looms just a couple of years away.

Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao speak to reporters after a hearing on creating a new housing secretariat. [Sam Drysdale/SHNS]

Urgency Over Housing Secretary Up Against Beacon Hill Time

Tim Scalona woke up on a June morning in 2012 ready to play video games and go outside with his neighbors. Instead, he watched his family home in Wilmington packed up into cardboard boxes, beginning their decade of homelessness.

Newly-announced MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng. [Governor's Office]

Eng Pledges “New Way Of Doing Business” At MBTA

Phillip Eng, a longtime engineer and former president of the Long Island Rail Road, will become the next top leader at the MBTA as Gov. Maura Healey's administration sets out to put the ailing transit agency on firmer footing.

Uncaptioned image for story:Legislature, DiZoglio In Apparent Stalemate Over Audit Bid

Legislature, DiZoglio In Apparent Stalemate Over Audit Bid

After weeks of silence from the House of Representatives on Auditor Diana DiZoglio's announcement that she plans to audit the Legislature, the counsel for the House responded on Friday, saying the state constitution "explicitly and repeatedly prohibits" the action.

When's the last time you saw a line of State House visitors stretch down the steps all the way onto the Beacon Street sidewalk? As more lobby days and school tours return to the state capitol, it was a mix of housing advocates and visiting students filling up the security line Thursday morning, along with a few State House regulars who had a lengthier than usual wait. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Top To Bottom, Track By Track

David from Somerville is fed up with the MBTA and the mealy-mouthed explanations for the "absolutely absurd" slowdowns on the subway system that's been running weekend-level service perpetually for almost a year.

MBTA Lays Out Fiscal Impacts Of Low-Income Fare Option

MBTA officials estimated Thursday they would need at least a year and about $5 million to get a widespread low-income fare option off the ground, plus tens of millions of dollars per year to cover its recurring costs.

Legislature Sends $1.1 Billion Proposal To Healey

The House and Senate worked together Thursday to place on Gov. Maura Healey's desk a bill featuring $388 million in spending directed at what the Senate's budget chief called "time-sensitive, urgent" needs along with $740 million in borrowing plans.

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