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

Groups: Mass. Should Follow RI On PFAS In Food Packaging

Environmental activists are applauding Rhode Island for enacting a new law banning PFAS in food packaging, and a bill to do the same in Massachusetts is at risk of dying in committee without floor votes in either branch.

MBTA Oversight Hearing Scheduled For July 18

Massachusetts lawmakers will convene an oversight hearing on July 18 to probe safety failures at the MBTA, and they also plan to schedule an additional hearing some time in early August, top Democrats announced Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood Workers Vote To Join 1199SEIU

Nearly 200 workers at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts clinics in Boston, Worcester, Marlborough and Springfield have voted to join 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

MTF Estimates “Historic” Budget Surplus Of $3.6 Billion

The Department of Revenue is still counting, but the budget watchers at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation expect that the Legislature will have a surplus of $3.6 billion when the final accounting of the fiscal year that ended last week is complete.

House Session Summary - Wednesday, July 6

The House stamped its initial approval Wednesday on an omnibus veterans bill that addresses topics such as professional licensing for military families, exposure to burn pits while serving a tour of duty, placing slot machines inside veterans' organizations, and creating a new "Medal of Fidelity."

State Leaders Cutting Back On Regular Meetings

With less than a month until major lawmaking is set to wrap up for the year on Beacon Hill, the heads of state government are in the midst of another multi-week stretch without face-to-face meetings. The so-called leadership meetings -- gatherings of the governor, lieutenant governor, House speaker, Senate president, minority leaders, and budget chiefs -- have sharply declined in frequency since the end of March.

Wu Touts Reshuffling Of Boston Polling Places

Bostonians would be able to cast their ballots in several new places including the Museum of Fine Arts, under a plan to expand polling locations that officials and advocates said would cut down on wait times and increase access to voting.

Officials: No Advance Notice Of Hate Group’s Plans

Law enforcement agencies did not have intelligence ahead of time about a white supremacist organization's plans to march through downtown Boston over the holiday weekend, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Tuesday as local, state and federal officials urged residents to remain vigilant about radicalization in their communities.

Former Regulators Weigh In With Cannabis Conference

Two of the original Cannabis Control Commission members are among those lobbying the conference committee that is about to start negotiating a compromise version of social equity and local control legislation, weighing in in favor of a key House provision.

Report Documents COVID Strain On Hospitals In Early 2022

Restricted during the Omicron wave of COVID-19 at the beginning of the year, hospitals continued to show signs of financial distress two years into the pandemic with the latest data from the state showing that health care systems operated at a median margin of negative 2.5 percent during the first three months of 2022.

Senate Approves Pandemic Policy Extensions Bill

During its first session of the final month of serious legislating, the Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday released and passed a bill further extending some pandemic-era policies.

Senate Session Summary - Tuesday, July 5

The Senate started the short week by passing extensions to a number of pandemic-era policies like remote notarizations and the ability of town meetings to convene virtually. Those provisions were all baked into the Senate's fiscal 2023 budget, Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues said on the floor, and the policies in question are set to expire Friday, July 15.

Cannabis Conference To Hold First Meeting Thursday

A legislative panel tasked with producing a final accord on cannabis industry reforms put its first meeting on the books as the end-of-term rush accelerates.

Baker Tax Relief Bill Clears Committee Mostly Intact

The Legislature's Revenue Committee advanced a $600 million tax relief package on Friday, but the panel's House chairman said the measure remains a work in progress.

The Advances: Look At The Week Ahead

As the calendar turns to the session's final month of formal meetings, House and Senate Democrats are growing more mindful that in addition to their own desire, or unwillingness, to compromise, time is also now becoming a potential enemy of the substantial work product they've left to the proverbial last minute.

Guidance Issued In Wake Of New York Gun Law Ruling

The attorney general's office and the Baker administration's public safety arm have spelled out for licensing authorities and law enforcement agencies how the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that struck down New York's concealed-carry gun licensing law applies to Massachusetts law.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, June 30

Senators on Thursday waded into a handful of topics, passing bills addressing protection of vulnerable children, access to HIV prevention medications, rights of foster parents, civil asset forfeiture, and judicial diversion programs for juveniles. Senators pitched the juvenile diversion bill as a follow-up to the 2018 criminal justice reform law, and said the asset forfeiture reforms would raise the evidence standard so it's more in line with those in other states.

Gregoire, Brownsberger To Lead Talks On $5 Bil Capital Bill

The pile of major legislative proposals headed for private House-Senate negotiations grew Thursday with the addition of a borrowing bill designed to fund improvements in government infrastructure and operations.

Senate Seeks New Standard In Asset Forfeiture Cases

Law enforcement agencies would face a more stringent standard to seize personal property in connection with criminal activity, under a bill the Senate passed Thursday.

Ray Bennett of Shawmut Strategies (left) and proponents of the dental insurance ballot question haul boxes of signatures down to Boston Common ahead of a press conference Wednesday afternoon. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

“Broken System” Aiding Dental Insurers, Coalition Says

A ballot question on track to go before voters in November would address "a broken system" that allows dental insurance companies to wring excessive profits from patient premiums, supporters of the measure said Wednesday.

Lynnfield attorney Michael Walsh (bottom left) argues MassGOP Chairman James Lyons' case before the Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday. [Screenshot]

SJC Weighs Injunction Request To Block VOTES Act

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Wednesday related the Republican Party's challenge to the new law making early voting and vote-by-mail permanent features of Massachusetts elections, with attorneys tangling over the power of the Legislature to take action that is not specifically authorized or prohibited in the state Constitution.

Uncaptioned image for story:House Bids For Slots In Veterans Halls

House Bids For Slots In Veterans Halls

Representatives will vote Thursday on a wide-reaching veterans bill that also features a gambling expansion proposal that is unpopular in the Senate and could create "complexity" for regulators.

AAA: Gas Price Relief May Be Temporary

Drivers may not be feeling much relief at the pump, but gas prices are coming down.

House Session Summary - Tuesday, July 5

With less than a month now to go before the end of formal sessions, the House moved through 11 minutes of internal business and local bill processing before adjourning for another informal session tomorrow. One highlight: enactment of a bill naming an Ipswich bridge the Global War on Terror Memorial Bridge.

Industry-Requested Study Equates Contractor Status to 9 Percent Raise

In the debate around the now-defunct ballot question involving the status and benefits for app-based drivers, it became clear that many put a tremendous value on the flexibility to set their own hours and work when they can. Now, an economist has quantified just how much that flexibility means to workers.

Index: Mass. Employers Teetering On Edge of Pessimism

Recession and inflation concerns conspired in June to leave Massachusetts employers on the verge of switching to a pessimistic posture. Associated Industries of Massachusetts reported Tuesday morning that its business confidence index fell to its lowest level since December 2020, fueled by impacts associated with the rising costs of goods and concerns that the economy is heading toward a recession, or already in one.

Uncaptioned image for story:Tran Indicted In Firearm Case Involving Former Constituent

Tran Indicted In Firearm Case Involving Former Constituent

Former state senator and current Congressional candidate Dean Tran was indicted Friday on charges that he stole a Colt .45 gun from an elderly constituent and then misled the investigation into the incident, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Friday.

Beacon Hill legislative aides escalated their unionization push this week with a press conference at the front steps of the State House. Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, a former senator, called for legislative leadership to voluntarily recognize the union, which is organizing with IBEW Local 2222. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Slipping Into the Future

Time always operates in a strange way inside the halls of the State House, and the oddity only ramps up as the session's end approaches. Just look at the contrast of the past week.

Uncaptioned image for story:SJC To Weigh Mail-In Voting Law Challenge Next Week

SJC To Weigh Mail-In Voting Law Challenge Next Week

What better way for a constitutional law scholar to spend the Fourth of July than preparing briefs that could determine the future of a major state expansion of voting rights?

Sen. Jason Lewis, who co-chairs the Education Committee, said a new early education and care bill the Senate will debate next week would help "make sure our most needy children and families have access to the care they need." [Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Senate Bill Eyes Major New Early Education Commitment

Senate Democrats on Thursday added to the end-of-term flurry an early education and child care bill they said would help more families deal with rampant costs, boost provider capacity and increase quality-of-life for a depleted workforce, but with just one month left to wrap up major business, a top House leader is already concerned about the "challenging timeline."

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