... Baker asks feds for longer lookback at driving records of commuter rail operators ...... AG Healey to address Greater Boston Chamber breakfast on Thursday morning ...... Eric Donovan of Dorchester is Baker's pick for clerk magistrate in Brighton court ...... Former Sen. Barrios pays $19,500 to General Fund to resolve campaign $$$ problems ...... Rep. Calter is latest to leave Legislature, will take town administrator's job in Kingston ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)

LATEST ADVANCES - WEEK OF APRIL 22, 2018

The House gavels in Monday at 10 a.m. for "budget week," a string of longer-than-usual sessions during which an even 1,400 amendments will be considered, largely through private back-and-forth negotiations amongst members in their members-only lounge. Read More

WEEKLY ROUNDUP – BLAME IT ON THE RAIN

One early poll does not make a congressman. But it can help shape the narrative of a race. That's what happened this week when UMass Lowell released the first independent poll in the Third Congressional District, turning an amorphous collection of Democrats from the Merrimack Valley vying to succeed U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas into a more clearly defined field. Read More

Some children made themselves visible at the State

Some children made themselves visible at the State House during school vacation week as part of a "children's march" Thursday to protest immigration policies which organizers said "tear families apart." [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


STATE DISTRIBUTES $6.7 MIL TO DISTRICTS SERVING DISPLACED STUDENTS

State officials on Thursday distributed $6.7 million to school districts serving an influx of students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who moved to Massachusetts after hurricanes damaged or destroyed their island homes. Read More


SUPPORT FOR DEEDS FEE INCREASE GROWING IN HOUSE

The downward spiral in state matching funds for communities that have agreed to local tax hikes to pay for Community Preservation Act investments has grown so severe that state lawmakers are now pushing for a deeds fee increase. Read More


DEM GUV CANDIDATES SET TO DEBATE MAY 17

The three Democrats running for governor are set to participate in a debate at UMass Boston on Thursday, May 17. Read More


Thursday, April 19, 2018

HIGHER ED BOARD FOCUSED ON CONTINUITY FOR DISPLACED MOUNT IDA STUDENTS

State higher education officials said their meeting Thursday with leaders from Mount Ida College went well, but it may be weeks yet before a state board is in a position to vote on the Newton college's closure plan. Read More

Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago said

Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago said his office is expediting reviews of transfer programs for Mount Ida students. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER ASKED FEDS TO OKAY DEEPER REVIEW OF CONDUCTOR DRIVING RECORDS

Commuter rail officials should have greater ability to consider the driving histories of locomotive engineers when making personnel decisions, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday. Read More


SENATE SESSION – THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018

The Senate on Thursday teed up bills dealing with veterans rights (S 2454) and consumer protection from credit breaches (S 2455) for consideration in a formal session next week, and agreed with the House in adopting extension orders granting the Judiciary Committee until May 2 to report out several bills. Senators have until 5 p.m. on Monday to file amendments to the credit freeze bill, and until noon on Tuesday to propose changes to the veterans benefit bill. Legislation addressing local matters in Westminster and Ayer were sent to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk. Read More


HOUSE SESSION – THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2018

The Massachusetts House on Thursday gave its initial approval for "Roadrunner," the Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers ode to driving on Route 128 with music blaring, to be the official rock song of the commonwealth. The push to enshrine the song about driving "faster miles an hour" as the official rock song of Massachusetts began with then-Rep. Marty Walsh. Despite fans turning out to State House hearings to push for the Modern Lovers song, lawmakers have never brought the bill to the floor of either branch for a vote. The House also gave its initial approval Thursday to a bill that would make Bell's Seasoning -- a mix of rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme and pepper produced by a Weymouth-based company -- the official seasoning of the commonwealth. The House also advanced legislation of local importance to Abington, Ayer, Haverhill, Hopkinton and Westminster. The House will meet next on Monday in a full formal session -- the start of House budget week. Read More


SENATE TEES UP SECURITY BREACH, VETERANS BILLS

The Senate next week plans to take up its own version of House-approved legislation aimed at protecting consumers from the potentially dangerous fallout of data security breaches. Read More


EARLY LITERACY GRANTS GAIN SUPPORT AHEAD OF BUDGET DEBATE

Among the 1,400 amendments to the House's fiscal 2019 budget is a proposal to create a new grant program intended to help schools boost early literacy. Read More


COMMITTEE COULD ACT ON EEC BACKGROUND CHECK BILL NEXT WEEK

Legislation to beef up the background check requirements for child care providers in Massachusetts, filed in March by Gov. Charlie Baker, could be advanced by the Judciary Committee next week. Read More


CHAN

NEW DHCD UNDERSECRETARY HIRED FROM MBTA

The MBTA's real estate chief has been hired by Gov. Charlie Baker to become the next undersecretary for housing and community development.Janelle Chan will take over the Department of Housing and Community Development next week, according to Secretary Jay Ash, who called her "uniquely qualified" to make sure Massachusetts "remains a top place to live, work, and raise a family. Read More


STATE POLICE SCANDALS "BELONG TO ME," BAKER SAYS

Gov. Charlie Baker took ownership on Thursday of the steady drip of scandal washing over the State Police in recent months, but asked the public to judge him on how he responds to the problems in the embattled law enforcement agency and not simply place blame. Read More


FORMER HOUSE ASSISTANT COUNSEL NOMINATED FOR DORCHESTER COURT

Eric Donovan of Dorchester, chief of staff at the Department of Veterans Services and former assistant counsel to the Massachusetts House, is Gov. Charlie Baker's pick for clerk magistrate of the Brighton division of the Boston Municipal Court. Read More


DEMS CALL FOR INDEPENDENT PROBE OF STATE POLICE CONTROVERSIES

Beset by controversies over overtime and other issues, management of the State Police could become a campaign issue for Gov. Charlie Baker as he seeks re-election this year. Read More


CANNABIS COMMISSION HIRES RESEARCH DIRECTOR

When the Legislature re-wrote the marijuana law last summer, lawmakers pointed to provisions that mandate the Cannabis Control Commission to conduct extensive research on the use of marijuana and how legalization affects society. With legal sales expected to begin in less than three months, the CCC now has someone to direct that research agenda. Read More


UNDER SCRUTINY, WYNN TOUTS FEMALE BOARD MEMBERS

Faced with the threat of losing its place in the gambling world -- or worse, losing one of its casino licenses altogether -- as investigators in two states probe what corporate leaders knew of sexual misconduct allegations against namesake and now-former CEO Steve Wynn, Wynn Resorts announced Wednesday that it has added three women to its board of directors. Read More


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

GOVERNOR EXPECTS SHORT DELAY IN OFF-SHORE WIND PROJECT SELECTION

The electrical storage industry got a charge out of Gov. Charlie Baker's "clean peak" proposal that would encourage greater reliance on renewable energy sources during periods of peak electricity demand, and the governor on Wednesday said lawmakers have also been drawn to the idea. Read More


FEDERAL TAX SNAFU GIVES STATE TAX FILERS AN EXTRA DAY

Massachusetts taxpayers who missed Tuesday's deadline to file their state returns may have caught a break thanks to a bug in the federal filing system. Read More


CALTER TO LEAVE HOUSE AFTER BUDGET DEBATE FOR KINGSTON JOB

Rep. Thomas Calter has been named the new town administrator in his hometown of Kingston, setting the House up for another vacancy. Read More

Rep. Thomas Calter has served in the House since 2

Rep. Thomas Calter has served in the House since 2007. [Photo: Courtesy/Facebook]


STUDENTS GIVE UP VACATION DAY TO LOBBY FOR SCHOOL $$$

Students from Chelsea, East Boston, Everett and Revere made a vacation-week trip to the State House on Wednesday to ask lawmakers to boost the state funding provided to their schools. Read More


FAST-TRACK POT LICENSING PROCESS CONTINUES TO WORRY PATIENTS

Thirty-five unidentified businesses – a mix of registered marijuana dispensaries and entrepreneurs who qualify for an economic empowerment program – were approved Wednesday to have their applications reviewed by the Cannabis Control Commission on an expedited basis to enter the non-medical marijuana business. Read More


MARKEY TO HOST TALK ON NET NEUTRALITY, INTERNET'S FATE

One of the inventors of the internet will be in Cambridge on Thursday to talk with U.S. Sen. Edward Markey about net neutrality and "the fate of a free and open internet." Read More


UNIONS BACK BAY STATE WIND

Three unions representing various portions of the construction industry on Wednesday threw their support behind the offshore wind project being developed by Eversource and Ørsted, as the state approaches its deadline to choose how it will get offshore wind energy. Read More


STATE POLICE THEFT INVESTIGATION A GOOD SIGN FOR AGENCY, BAKER SAYS

It is "good news" that the payroll director for the State Police has been on unpaid leave amid a theft investigation, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday. Read More


BOSTON LAW FIRM ESCAPES CHARGES AFTER CAMPAIGN FINANCE PROBE

An investigation into the campaign contribution practices of a politically-wired Boston law firm has ended with investigators having found "no conclusive evidence of a crime," the Essex County district attorney's office announced Wednesday. Read More

Former Rep. Garrett Bradley resigned his House sea

Former Rep. Garrett Bradley resigned his House seat in 2016 to take on a bigger role at Thornton Law Firm, where he and other partners became the subjects of an investigation into possible campaign finance violations. [Photo: File/SHNS/2014]


HOLDER NEXT TO SPEAK AT NH BREAKFAST SERIES

Eric Holder, who was a long-serving attorney general under President Barack Obama, will speak to New England's business leaders at a Politics & Eggs breakfast in New Hampshire June 1. Read More


GIFFORD

GIFFORD LEADS PACK IN FIRST MA3 POLL DOMINATED BY UNDECIDEDS

A strong majority of likely Democratic voters in the Third Congressional district have not made up their mind who they'd like to see replace retiring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas in Congress, but in the first poll of the race, former Ambassador to Denmark Rufus Gifford has emerged as the early front-runner. Read More


BOSTON AIR POLLUTION IMPROVING, REPORT FINDS

Three Massachusetts counties -- Bristol, Essex and Suffolk -- cut their ozone and particle pollution levels, and the Boston metro area reported some of the lowest pollution levels on record in spite of a national trend of higher ozone pollution, according to the American Lung Association. Read More


HEALTH COST ESTIMATORS CATCHING ON, PIONEER REPORT SAYS

Private health insurers are "waking up to" benefits of price transparency, but work remains to reach the potential for cost savings from providing consumers with more information, according to a new study from the Pioneer Institute. Read More


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

FORMER HOUSE DEM, STATE COP FACING FINES FOR LATE DISCLOSURES

Former state Rep. Gloria Fox and retired State Police Major James Jones are both facing fines of $1,250 for failure to file timely statements of financial interest last year with the Ethics Commission, the commission reported Tuesday. Read More

Former Rep. Gloria Fox.

Former Rep. Gloria Fox.


LEGISLATURE WEIGHING OPTIONS AFTER SJC STRIKES DOWN STUN GUN BAN

The possession of stun guns and tasers is protected by the Second Amendment, the Supreme Judicial Court concluded on Tuesday, "reluctantly" scrapping the state law banning civilians from possessing those weapons. Read More

The court delayed entry of the judgement, saying t

The court delayed entry of the judgement, saying that it could give lawmakers time to potentially address the issue. [Photo: Sam Doran/File/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HEALEY TOWN HALL AT BC CALLED OFF FOR TONIGHT

Attorney General Maura Healey's town hall event at Boston College on Tuesday night has been cancelled, she said Tuesday. Read More


SENATE SESSION – TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

The Senate minority leader took to the floor during a brief session Tuesday morning to explain how the Senate is pursuing legislation to impose state-based net neutrality rules in response to the federal repeal of Obama-era internet access protections. Sen. Bruce Tarr explained that a bill dealing with net neutrality was given an "ought not to pass" report out of committee because a deadline had passed. On Tuesday, the Senate substituted a new bill for that negative report and referred it to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for more work. The Senate on Tuesday also passed bills of local importance to Ayer, Westminster and Hamilton. The Senate meets next on Thursday morning. Read More


RGGI PROGRAM FUELS LOCAL ECONOMIES, REPORT SAYS

The cap-and-trade cooperative that Massachusetts joined roughly a decade ago has continued to spur local economies while reducing carbon emissions, according to a report publicized Tuesday by the Analysis Group. Read More


CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM COMES WITH A PRICE TAG

Implementing a massive criminal justice reform law signed last week will cost the state an estimated $15 million this fiscal year and as much as $40 million next year, according to Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More

Before he signed a package of criminal justice ref

Before he signed a package of criminal justice reforms Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker outlined new legislation he was filing to fund some of its costs and alter some of its provisions. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HOUSE SESSION - TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018

The House on Tuesday granted extra time to two committees -- Judiciary and Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy -- to report on certain bills, including a Gov. Baker bill to enhance the Department of Early Education and Care's background record check procedures, a Rep. Gordon bill to enhance investigations of sexual harassment and discrimination, and bills relating to Internet neutrality. Four bills surfaced Tuesday with negative reports which were automatically triggered after a committee failed to file reports before a deadline, according to the clerk. House members gave initial approval to legislation dealing with affordable housing in Jamaica Plain, the Gen. George Patton Homestead in Hamilton, and a Rep. Scaccia proposal to name the stretch of Causeway Street running alongside the TD Garden in honor of former Celtics player Bob Cousy. Gov. Charlie Baker's bill "building on criminal justice reform" was introduced Tuesday and referred to the Judiciary Committee. Read More


PLAINRIDGE RECORDS SECOND-HIGHEST BETTING MONTH IN MARCH

Bettors wagered nearly $200 million at Plainridge Park Casino last month, helping to propel the state's only gambling hall to its second-best revenue month on record in March. Read More


NGUYEN

FIRST VIETNAMESE WOMAN TO SEEK OFFICE CHALLENGING LYONS

Conservative Republican state Rep. Jim Lyons is no stranger to ballot competition, but even for him the 2018 campaign will be a first, with his opponent positioning herself as an historic candidate. Read More


SUCCESSOR WANTS TO HONOR CARIDDI WITH GREYLOCK MEMORIAL

The late Rep. Gailanne Cariddi would be honored at Mount Greylock State Reservation, under a budget amendment put forward by her successor. Read More


OFFICER GANNON TO BE BURIED WEDNESDAY

A wake will be held Tuesday for Sean Gannon, the Yarmouth police officer who was fatally shot Thursday while executing a search warrant in Marstons Mills, and a funeral Mass for Gannon will be said Wednesday morning. Read More


GAS PRICES UP, EXPECTED TO KEEP RISING

The price of gas locally is at its highest point in six months and nationally the average price of a gallon of gas is higher than it's been since 2015 -- and analysts say prices will continue to climb. Read More

The local price of gas is the highest it has been

The local price of gas is the highest it has been in the last six months. [Photo: Craig Sandler/File/SHNS]


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service