... Fraser, general counsel to Lottery Commission, nominated for district court judgeship ...... Mass. insurers ask Health Policy Commission for independent analysis of Question 1 ...... ACLU, Goodwin Procter sue Essex sheriff in bid to require medication for inmate with opioid use disorder ...... Moody's sees "little cushion" at NiSource for unforeseen events ...... Chairman Michlewitz and Baker's office still in contact about unresolved Airbnb bill ...... On overdue fiscal 2018 closeout/surplus budget, Spilka says, "I know that we will get it done as soon as we can" ...... DeLeo says "deficiency budget" is something that needs to be done ASAP ...... Unresolved fiscal 2018 budget issues came up at Monday's private meeting between Baker, legislators ...... Spilka sees joint House, Senate oversight hearing in wake of Merrimack Valley gas fires ...... DeLeo: state might take "step further" on gas safety statewide after learning initial findings ...... Baker: DPU takes safety complaints "tremendously seriously," usually has 8-12 inspectors ...... Gonzalez would replace DPU members ...... Ashburton evacuated after contractor drills water line ...... NTSB report becomes "guidepost" for penalties, fines, other issues, Baker says ...... Deveney updates state on Real ID, wait time trends at Registry of Motor Vehicles ...... MGM Springfield generates nearly $10 mil in gross gaming revenue during first week ...... ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)

LATEST WEEKLY ROUNDUP – TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY

For weeks, Jay Gonzalez has been trying to hang Donald Trump around the governor's neck like a weighted tie, four inches too long. This week it was Baker's turn to repay the favor. Read More

Gas workers paraded through the North End on Friday morning with chants and signs calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to act to end the National Grid lockout. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res

ADVANCES - WEEK OF SEPT. 23, 2018

As candidates fine-tune general election strategies and prepare for debates, the Columbia Gas crisis in the Greater Lawrence area combined with National Grid's three-month-old lockout of 1,200 steelworkers has become a dominant focus of public officials and many voters. Mindful of the gas fires and explosions in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover, safety complaints filed by locked-out workers in other communities, and limitations on the state's inspections capacity, elected officials appear increasingly concerned about the infrastructure through which the state's primary fuel flows. Read More


TAX PENALTIES WAIVED IN CONNECTION WITH GAS EMERGENCY

To assist victims of the Merrimack Valley natural gas emergency, the Department of Revenue announced plans to temporarily waive penalties associated with late-filed returns or payments that were due on or after Sept. 12 and before Oct. 1. Read More


BLUE HILLS DEAL WOULD PUSH ROCKLAND TRUST ASSETS TO $11 BIL

Once its newly announced acquisition of Blue Hills Bank takes effect, Rockland Trust expects to have more than $11 billion in assets, the most bank branches of any bank headquartered in Massachusetts, and a presence on both Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Read More


TRAHAN

TRAHAN RALLY IN LOWELL WILL GO ON WITHOUT CANDIDATE

Top Democrats still plan to attend a Friday night rally in Lowell for Lori Trahan, the Democratic nominee for an open Congressional seat, but Trahan will not be there. Read More


RECOVERY PLAN EYES GAS SERVICE RESTORATION BEFORE THANKSGIVING

National Guardsmen delivering hotplates, teams of electricians, assessors, translators and plumbers, and 24,000 space heaters will arrive in the Merrimack Valley in coming days to support residents during a pipeline repair and gas restoration effort that officials said will be complete by Nov. 19. Read More


UNEMPLOYMENT RATE STAYS AT 3.6 PERCENT AS MASS. ADDS JOBS

Bay State employers added 6,000 jobs last month and have added 68,100 jobs since August 2017, the state announced Friday as the unemployment rate held firm at 3.6 percent in August. Read More


Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018

THREE MORE TROOPERS INDICTED FOR OVERTIME FRAUD

Three former lieutenants of the Massachusetts State Police were indicted on Thursday as part of the ongoing Troop E overtime abuse investigation. Read More


BAKER TOUCHED BY AID EFFORT IN MERRIMACK VALLEY

Entering an emergency shelter set up to house Merrimack Valley residents displaced by last week's gas fires and subsequent evacuations, Gov. Charlie Baker expected to see rows of cots, rigidly lined up like desks in a classroom. Read More


HOSPITAL MERGER OPPONENTS URGE HEALEY TO FILE LAWSUIT

Opponents of a planned merger that would blend Lahey Health and Beth Israel Deaconess into a new 13-hospital system are looking to Attorney General Maura Healey to intervene as they continue to raise concerns about potential impacts on the cost of care, community hospitals and minority populations. Read More

Lawrence City Councilor Jeovanny Rodriguez held a

Lawrence City Councilor Jeovanny Rodriguez held a packet of petitions as he addressed ralliers opposed to a planned merger of Beth Israel and Lahey Health on Thursday in front of the State House. [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SENATE SESSION - THURSDAY, SEPT. 20, 2018

The Senate on Thursday advanced bills to extend the Beverly fire chief's retirement age, establish an East Bridgewater Sewer District, and authorize a dozen new liquor licenses in Brookline. Senators also recognized Mashpee Wampanoag Ancestors Day and the 200th anniversary of the Essex Agricultural Society, which operates the Topsfield Fair. Read More


HOUSE SESSION - THURSDAY, SEPT. 20, 2018

The House on Thursday approved a Roxbury affordable housing bill and continued to process liquor license and sick leave benefit bills before adjourning until Monday. Another week ended without action on a budget bill to close the books on fiscal 2018, which ended June 30. Read More


BAKER BUOYED BY MORE SUPER PAC SPENDING

A new state super PAC created over the summer to support candidates fighting for cheaper prescription drug prices has launched a $500,000 campaign to help re-elect Gov. Charlie Baker, giving the governor another deep-pocketed outside booster in his race against Democrat Jay Gonalez. Read More


DPU, STEELWORKERS TO MEET ON GAS SAFETY CONCERNS

Department of Public Utilities officials are scheduled to meet with steelworkers union officials next week to discuss a list of gas safety complaints submitted by those workers, according to a union spokeswoman. Read More


INDICTMENTS SHOWS CROSSCHECK PROGRAM'S BENEFITS, AMORE SAYS

A day after New Hampshire's attorney general charged a couple with voting in two states during the 2016 presidential election, Republican Anthony Amore knocked Secretary of State William Galvin for withdrawing Massachusetts from the interstate data sharing program used to uncover the voter fraud. Read More


STATE CONDUCTS FIRST INSPECTIONS OF MARIJUANA FACILITIES

Marijuana regulators have completed at least one final inspection of a retail marijuana shop and more are scheduled, inching the Cannabis Control Commission closer to launching an industry it had hoped to get up and running almost three months ago. Read More


PERSONNEL FILE - THURSDAY, SEPT. 20, 2018

... The president and CEO of Catholic Charities is retiring ... New England Public Radio has a new reporter ... The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts added nine full-time assistant professors and one instructor ... The Suffolk County Sheriff's Department has appointed a new special sheriff ... Six new members have been added to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate's board of directors ... A former state rep becomes a social justice and family justice fellow ... The Association for Behavioral Healthcare hired a public policy and research specialist ... Enjoy the Personnel File ... Read More


CHAMBER CHIEF SAYS BIZ HIT "VERY HARD" BY NATURAL GAS CRISIS

In the week since gas explosions and fires rocked the Merrimack Valley, much of the attention has focused on the thousands of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes. Now, business leaders are hoping to shed light on how the disaster has affected commerce and the local economy. Read More


DOCTOR WILL BRING ADDICTION-FIGHTING EXPERIENCE TO BEACON HILL

Dr. Jon Santiago makes the daily walk down Massachusetts Avenue to his job as an emergency medicine doctor at Boston Medical Center, traversing an area that's become known for its concentration of people in the throes of addiction and seeking treatment. Read More

Democratic House nominee Dr. Jon Santiago talked T

Democratic House nominee Dr. Jon Santiago talked Thursday morning on a panel about state and federal response to the opioid epidemic moderated by WBZ-TV medical reporter Dr. Mallika Marshall. [Photo: Colin A. Young/SHNS] | Hi-Res


POST-SHARK ATTACK, STATE SAYS HEED WARNINGS, STAY IN SHALLOW WATER

State officials are encouraging beachgoers to follow posted warnings and stay in shallow water in the wake of a deadly shark attack off Wellfleet on Saturday. Read More


Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018

CITING FEARS, BOSTON COUNCIL AGREES TO GAS SAFETY HEARING

The Boston City Council ordered a hearing Wednesday on the city's natural gas infrastructure and plans for preventing a situation like the gas explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley from happening in Boston. Read More

Boston Councilor Matt O'Malley explained his order

Boston Councilor Matt O'Malley explained his order seeking a hearing on Boston's gas infrastructure while locked-out National Grid gas workers listened from the gallery. [Photo: Colin A. Young/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER RIPS GONZALEZ'S ENDOWMENT TAX AS "BAD IDEA"

Democrat for governor Jay Gonzalez said his plan to tax the endowments of wealthy private universities should not inhibit schools like Harvard University from funding research and financial aid, two reasons Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren opposed the idea when President Trump offered it. Read More

Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez discussed his

Gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez discussed his tax plan in Harvard Square on Wednesday alongside Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern (left) and lieutenant governor candidate Quentin Palfrey. [Photo: Matt Murphy/SHNS] | Hi-Res


POLL: VOTERS FAVOR NURSE STAFFING REQUIREMENTS, BAKER, WARREN

A majority of likely voters support the nurse staffing, campaign finance and transgender non-discrimination questions on November's ballot, along with backing Gov. Charlie Baker and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in their re-election bids, according to a poll out Wednesday. Read More


GONZALEZ'S $1 BIL UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT TAX WOULD FUND EDUCATION, TRANSPORTATION

Under pressure to deliver new revenues for promised education and transportation investments, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez on Tuesday will offer a 1.6 percent tax on certain private higher education endowments, a proposal he estimates would generate $1 billion. Read More


DeLEO CALLS FOR END TO NAT'L GRID LOCKOUT AFTER GAS EXPLOSIONS

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is attempting to use his clout and the attention on gas infrastructure after last week's devastating explosions in the Merrimack Valley to encourage a deal between National Grid and union gas workers, who have been locked out of the their jobs since late June over stalled contract negotiations. Read More


WARREN WARMS TO ENDOWMENT TAX FOR EDUCATION AND TRANSIT

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren last year ripped a Republican plan to tax university endowments to help pay for a tax reform package that she thought benefited the wealthy and corporations, but the Democrat softened her position Wednesday when candidate for governor Jay Gonzalez pitched the concept as a way to invest in education and transportation. Read More


BOSTON COUNCIL RESOLUTION URGES YES VOTE ON QUESTION 3

Wading into a statewide ballot campaign, the Boston City Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution urging Bostonians to vote in November to uphold the state's 2016 transgender anti-discrimination law. Read More


MASS. INSURERS ASK HPC FOR ANALYSIS OF NURSE STAFFING QUESTION

Citing competing claims from both sides of a nurse staffing ballot question, health insurers on Wednesday asked a state agency to produce in the next month an independent analysis of the costs associated with Question 1. Read More


S&P: MASS. RESERVE CUSHION TOO THIN FOR A RECESSION

A decade after the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers and the financial crisis it triggered, analysts say only 20 states are well-positioned to handle the first-year shock of a recession with their reserves -- and Massachusetts is not one of them. Read More


FRASER

LOTTERY GENERAL COUNSEL NOMINATED FOR JUDGESHIP

The general counsel and assistant executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery Commission was nominated for a judgeship on Wednesday. Read More


BU BUYING SOUTH DAKOTA WIND TO GO 100 PERCENT RENEWABLE

Boston University announced this week that it will purchase enough wind power to meet its full annual electricity consumption, a move environmental advocates hope will spur the state to step up its own commitment to renewable power. Read More


OPIOID DISORDER MEDICATION ACCESS LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST SHERIFF

The sheriff of Essex County faces a new lawsuit claiming constitutional and other legal violations in connection with the denial of medication-assisted treatment to house of correction inmates with opioid use disorder. Read More


U.S. REPS JOIN CALL FOR GAS DISASTER HEARINGS

Reps. Joseph Kennedy III, Niki Tsongas and Seth Moulton have joined their U.S. Senate counterparts in urging Congressional committees to hold hearings on last week's fatal gas explosions and subsequent fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. Read More


Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018

HEALTH CARE PRICE TOOL AN INDUSTRY "GAME CHANGER," REP SAYS

A new state website designed for patients to compare health care provider prices launched earlier this year, but the head of the agency behind the tool said he thinks one of the site's features that goes beyond cost comparisons and quality metrics could ultimately make the most difference for patients. Read More

CHIA executive director Ray Campbell told lawmaker

CHIA executive director Ray Campbell told lawmakers Tuesday about the state's new health care cost comparison website. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


FOCUS TURNS TO $$$ AID TO VICTIMS OF NATURAL GAS EMERGENCY

As residents in the Merrimack Valley try to get back to normal life, state and local officials are eying ways to provide immediate financial aid to victims of the gas explosions and fires there last week while acknowledging it will be a long time before the recovery is complete. Read More


MOODY'S: "LITTLE CUSHION" AT NISOURCE FOR UNFORESEEN EVENTS

The natural gas-related explosions and fires last week in the Merrimack Valley are credit negative for Bay State Gas and NiSource, and could result in deteriorating finances at the companies, according to a leading credit rating agency. Read More


BAKER KEYNOTING LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS DINNER

With Massachusetts voters poised to deliver a verdict on a transgender rights law in November, Gov. Charlie Baker will deliver the keynote address next month at an annual gathering of pro-LGBT rights Republicans in Washington. Read More


MADARO

FED UP EAST BOSTON REP AIRS GRIEVANCES BEFORE T BOARD

Appearing before the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday, Rep. Adrian Madaro acknowledged the multiple times he's taken advantage of their public comment period might make him sound like "a broken record." Read More


DeLEO

HOUSE DEMOCRATS "ENERGETIC" IN THEIR SUPPORT FOR HIM, DeLEO SAYS

Their co-leadership of the Legislature got off to a rocky start in July, but House Speaker Robert DeLeo thinks Sen. Karen Spilka will be an "excellent" Senate president, in part because like DeLeo she chaired the Ways and Means Committee before ascending to the top job in her branch. Read More


COMMISSIONER OUTLINES PRIORITIES AT BOARD OF ED MEETING

Implementing a new history, social science and civics framework to the state's current curriculum and supporting continued talks about K-12 education funding are among Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley's priorities. Read More


SENATOR SEES WAVE OF ENERGY, CANDIDATES IN CLIMATE MOVEMENT

As local climate activists turn up the heat on state lawmakers, action from outside the Bay State's borders may also increase the pressure for additional steps on energy policy. Read More

Alyssa Rayman-Read of the Conservation Law Foundat

Alyssa Rayman-Read of the Conservation Law Foundation described climate change as a "borderless threat" that will "happen to everybody." [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS] | Hi-Res


MORE MARIJUANA LICENSES, BUT NO FINAL LICENSES ON CCC AGENDA

It appears that the Cannabis Control Commission's final go-ahead for a retail marijuana store to open will not come this week, pushing the opening of the first retail shop into at least October. Read More


BOSTON COUNCILORS WANT NATURAL GAS SAFETY HEARING

As House Speaker Robert DeLeo gives voice to an exploration of natural gas safety statewide, three Boston City Council members are hoping to bring their colleagues together for a hearing on Boston's natural gas infrastructure. Read More


SWEENEY

SWEENEY: SALES DROP INFLUENCED BY 2017 POWERBALL POT

Massachusetts Lottery sales and profits are both down over the first two months of the fiscal year but the Lottery head put a happy face on his monthly report to the Lottery Commission and said the numbers don't tell the entire story. Read More


COLUMBIA GAS CEO TO GIVE UPDATE WITH BAKER

Gov. Charlie Baker plans to join local officials on Lawrence to give a disaster relief update Tuesday, a day after the state's two U.S. senators urged Columbia Gas officials to provide them more information on the series of gas-related fires and explosions that rocked the Merrimack Valley last week. Read More


RIGHT-TO-REPAIR RETURNS WITH WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY BILL

Six years after Massachusetts became the first state in the country to pass a "right to repair" law, the coalition of auto repair and parts shops behind that effort is back, relaunching ahead of a push next session to update the law to address advances in car technology. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service