1/27/22 9:34 PM
The House on Thursday approved an elections reform bill that would make mail-in voting and expanded early voting permanent features in Massachusetts, but a clash with the Senate looms over a policy allowing prospective voters to register and cast a ballot in one trip to the polls. Representatives voted 124-34 in favor of the bill (H 4359), which would revive and enshrine voting options that proved popular during the pandemic before lawmakers allowed them to lapse last month. Amid a push from progressives to add language authorizing same-day voter registration similar to a policy in place in at least 20 other states, the House approved a further amendment requiring the secretary of state to file a report detailing the reform's cost on both the state as well as cities and towns. That will pose the key pressure point in talks with the Senate, which included the registration reform in its version of the bill, before lawmakers send a proposal to Gov. Charlie Baker. The House also approved an amendment aimed at improving ballot access for thousands of Bay Staters incarcerated on misdemeanor charges or before a trial, who retain the right to vote but often report struggles trying to do so. Representatives rejected most other proposed changes to the bill, many of them from Republicans seeking to implement voter identification requirements or other provisions that they said would increase election security and integrity. The House adjourned for the weekend and will return in an informal session on Monday. - Chris Lisinski
1/27/22 6:43 PM
Buoyed by an injection of federal relief funds during the pandemic, the MBTA will redirect half a billion dollars toward major safety investments, electric bus infrastructure, workforce retention efforts and matching grant programs.
1/27/22 5:58 PM
The introduction of casinos to Massachusetts has led to tens of thousands of impaired driving incidents here each year, but the increase is generally in line with what would be expected from having three new venues serving alcohol to thousands of people every day, a crime analyst told the Gaming Commission on Thursday.
1/27/22 5:11 PM
Gov. Charlie Baker is traveling to Washington, D.C. Thursday evening to attend a National Governors Association meeting there over the weekend, and a spokesperson said he plans to come back to Massachusetts before the upcoming snowstorm if necessary.
1/27/22 5:07 PM
[Coverage Developing] The House on Thursday afternoon rejected a proposal to ask the state's highest court to review the constitutionality of the mail-in voting reform proposal at the center of the bill before the body. The House also batted down a call for fines and possible jail time for voter fraud.
1/27/22 4:55 PM
A day after filing a $45.8 billion state budget that proposes a behavioral health help line, Gov. Charlie Baker said there also needs to be "systemic" action to boost access to mental health services and support other key types of care.
1/27/22 4:05 PM
The start of service is on the horizon for the most significant expansion of the MBTA's core system in decades, but riders will need to continue their wait to learn when they'll be able to ride the Green Line all the way into Medford.
1/27/22 4:01 PM
President Joe Biden plans to nominate a Black woman to fill an impending vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, and Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday he has not heard any indication that the Bay State's top justice is in the mix.
1/27/22 3:59 PM
After peaking at a record level in early January, the statewide average for newly confirmed COVID-19 cases has dropped by more than two-thirds, a turnaround that prompted Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday to say the state has reached "the back side of the omicron surge."
1/27/22 3:45 PM
Corrections officers at the maximum-security Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center will begin to wear body cameras this summer as part of a two-phase pilot program that state officials announced Thursday.
1/27/22 1:55 PM
Economic growth in Massachusetts accelerated from the third to the fourth quarter of 2021, with real gross domestic product increasing at an 8.2 percent annualized rate, and the growth is expected to continue at slower rates over the first half of 2022, local economists reported on Thursday afternoon.
1/26/22 7:40 PM
The Senate unanimously passed a $75 million supplemental budget bill Wednesday aimed at providing expanded testing options and masks to a number of sectors, including public school districts, congregate care facilities and homeless shelters.
1/26/22 3:49 PM
Treasurer Deb Goldberg identified support for women in the workforce and financial literacy as two top priorities as the Democrat on Wednesday announced plans to seek a third term in 2022, becoming the last statewide elected official to make their plans known.
1/26/22 3:44 PM
House lawmakers on Thursday will debate legislation that would permanently expand early voting opportunities and make voting-by-mail a standard option in future elections, but Democratic leaders left out of the bill a popular reform that would allow voters to register and vote on the same day.
1/26/22 2:13 PM
The Republican primary for governor got going in earnest Wednesday after businessman Chris Doughty announced his candidacy and peeled off at least one legislative supporter from former Rep. Geoff Diehl, who in turn said his new GOP primary opponent is not sufficiently Republican.
1/26/22 1:52 PM
Gov. Charlie Baker tapped a lead federal prosecutor in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions trials for a Superior Court judgeship Wednesday.
1/26/22 1:21 PM
The Governor's Council minted two new District Court judges Wednesday -- one of them a deputy counsel in the court's administrative office, the other a Probation Department lawyer.
1/26/22 12:48 PM
Gearing up for a debate over voting access and election reforms, the House on Wednesday advanced a redrafted version of the VOTES Act that would make permanent popular COVID-19 pandemic reforms such as voting-by-mail, but stops short of making Massachusetts one of 20 other states that allow voters to register and cast their ballots in person on the same day. The bill (H 4359) is slated to hit the floor for debate on Thursday when lawmakers are expected to offer amendments, including ones that would add same-day registration to the legislation.
1/27/22 9:25 PM
The state's mostly successful experiment with voting-by-mail during the COVID-19 pandemic would become a permanent option for voters in future elections, but House lawmakers on Thursday passed a major voting access bill that omitted voter registration rule changes sought by advocates and the Senate.
1/27/22 5:35 PM
The amount of money that Massachusetts appropriates for civil legal aid has more than doubled over the past six years, and advocates are asking lawmakers to ensure it keeps growing to make the services available to more people who need a lawyer but can't afford one.
1/27/22 1:42 PM
The campaign over the proposed Constitutional amendment to add a surtax on household income over $1 million took a step into the courtroom Thursday as opponents filed suit to influence how the proposal will be summarized for voters.
1/27/22 12:46 PM
The Senate approved an order Thursday allowing members to sign on to certain bills without the approval of the original sponsor.
1/27/22 11:32 AM
The town clerks who would be required to implement same-day voter registration if approved by the Legislature have called the change "nearly impossible" to manage as the House prepares to debate a wide-ranging voter access bill on Thursday amid growing pressure to reverse Democratic leaders' decision to leave the reform out of its bill.
1/27/22 11:02 AM
The Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy is polling its members on legislation that appears to address the persistent issues with host community agreements and social equity in the new cannabis industry, and that would pave the way for social consumption sites in Massachusetts.
1/27/22 10:58 AM
The omicron variant created substantial ridership and workforce headaches at the MBTA, but as the spread of new COVID-19 infections slows from an aggressive peak in early January, the public transit agency's outlook is improving.
1/27/22 9:50 AM
- Galvin Reminds Homeowners of Property Tax Abatements
- Select Board Association to Meet Thursday
- Missing Minutes Mystery Sparks Talk in North Adams
- MassDOT Changing Its Approach to Speed Limits
1/26/22 6:50 PM
Facing the prospect of a commutation that would make him eligible for parole after three decades behind bars, convicted murderer Thomas Koonce said Wednesday that he takes "full responsibility" for shooting and killing a New Bedford man in 1987.
1/26/22 6:15 PM
The Massachusetts Senate debated and unanimously passed the state's latest COVID-19 response bill Wednesday, embracing the same focus on testing and masks as the House did in its version of the legislation but boosting the bottom line by more than 35 percent to $75 million in spending.
1/26/22 6:11 PM
Gov. Charlie Baker, in his eighth and final annual budget, is seeking to pair a modest increase in state spending with $693 million in tax policy changes he said are aimed at providing relief to people who need it and ensuring the state's competitive position in the remote work era.
1/26/22 12:46 PM
Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler, the Worcester Democrat who senators relied on as a steady hand on the institutional rudder amid some of the Senate's darkest days in 2017 and 2018, will not seek reelection this year after more than three decades of public service, she announced Wednesday morning.
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