ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (No calendar)

Equity Coalition Pressing Ed Board on Vocational Schools

New state regulations around vocational school admission policies are teed up for a Tuesday vote, and advocates are calling for changes before then to address what they see as shortcomings around access and equity. Ahead of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education vote on the regulations, the Vocational Education Justice Coalition has been meeting with board members.

Baker Outlines $2.8 Billion Rescue Act Spending Bill

In an attempt to end the battle over who gets to spend nearly $5.2 billion in federal relief money, Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday pitched a plan that would see him cede much of his control over the aid to the Legislature, as long as lawmakers agree quickly to spend more than half on priorities such as home ownership assistance, substance abuse treatment and job training.

Out-of-State, Illegal Markets Scooping Up Mass. Sports Wagers

While Massachusetts lawmakers have been slow-walking proposals to legalize sports betting here over the last three years, the revenue and jobs that the activity could provide has passed Massachusetts by as legal sports betting proliferates around the country and in nearby states, supporters told the Joint Committee on Economic Development on Thursday.

Cape Services Expected to Suffer Due to Housing Shortage

The lack of affordable housing on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket exacerbated an already-dire year during the pandemic, forces island fire departments to rely on firefighters who commute by ferry, and will lead to scaled-back business services in the upcoming tourist season, local officials and experts said Thursday.

Janey, Baker to Mark Juneteenth at Friday Nubian Square Event

Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey are scheduled to speak at an inaugural in-person Juneteenth celebration on Friday featuring music, speakers, and a film premiere, according to organizers.

Baker Rebukes Legislature, Proposes Spending $2.8 Billion in ARPA Funds

[Story Developing] The battle over who gets to spend nearly $5.2 billion in federal relief money raged on Thursday with Gov. Charlie Baker refusing to sign a bill that would give full control to the Legislature, and instead proposing a plan to spend more than half on priorities such as home ownership assistance.

Legislature Calls For Aug. 14-15 Sales Tax Holiday

State lawmakers on Thursday agreed to schedule this year's sales tax holiday for the weekend of August 14 and 15. A 2018 law that put the state's minimum hourly wage on a gradual path to $15 and created the paid family and medical leave program also made the holiday, when the 6.25 percent sales tax is waived for many purchases, an annual fixture and tasked the Legislature with picking an exact date each August.

Senate Session - Thursday, June 17, 2021

Two days after its deadline for selecting an exact date, the Senate adopted a resolution on Thursday declaring Saturday, Aug. 14 and Sunday, Aug. 15 as this year's sales tax holiday weekend.

Bill Elevates Focus on Mental Health in Schools

A wide-ranging bill aimed at addressing a what advocates say is a youth behavioral health crisis would create a group tasked with state officials on behavioral health, provide technical assistance and professional development to school districts, and mandate age-appropriate behavioral health education.

Activists Refute Galvin Claim About Protecting Incumbents

With Secretary of State William Galvin pressing to thwart a legislative effort to alter the traditional redistricting process, voting rights advocates said Wednesday they disagree with the Democrat when he suggests the reform is intended to give House incumbents an easier path to reelection.

Health Insurance Giant Will Be Known As Point32Health

The combined organization of Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will officially be known as Point32Health, the insurers announced Wednesday.

Amesbury Republican Eyeing Mayor’s Office

Rep. James Kelcourse plans to launch a campaign for Amesbury mayor, the Republican announced Wednesday, in a bid that could lead to his mid-session departure from the House, if victorious.

House Session Summary - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The urgency that permeated throughout the Legislature Tuesday afternoon as lawmakers moved to pass legislation extending certain pandemic-era policies appeared to have at least dissipated in the House Wednesday morning as the branch met for a brief two-minute session.

Weekend Service Returning Across Commuter Rail System

Weekend service will return in July to the entire MBTA commuter rail network, nearly six months after the transit agency stopped running Saturday and Sunday trains on several lines amid upheaval from the pandemic.

Mass. Housing Entry Prices Holding At Elevated Levels

The median home sale price in Massachusetts has now held above $500,000 for the second straight month.

Pandemic Policy Extensions Signed Into Law

Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday morning signed into law a bill extending pandemic-inspired authorizations for remote public meetings, to-go cocktail sales, eviction protections and more, according to Senate President Karen Spilka.

House Session Summary - Tuesday, June 15

Hours after the COVID-19 state of emergency drew to a close, the House approved legislation that would keep several popular pandemic-era policies -- including measures such as authorization for remote public meetings that expired when the calendar flipped to Tuesday -- in place for several months longer.

House Session Summary - Thursday, June 17, 2021

The House on Thursday agreed to a resolution setting this year's sales-tax holiday for the weekend of Aug. 14-15.

Demand Reflected in Marijuana Delivery Applications

Since applications first became available three weeks ago to become a marijuana delivery operator in Massachusetts, interest in new business opportunity has been high, the head of the state's cannabis regulatory agency said.

Illegal Wagering Continues as Hill Slow-Walks Sports Betting Bills

[Coverage Developing] As legal sports betting proliferates around the country and in nearby states, the revenue and jobs that the activity could provide is passing Massachusetts by, supporters told the Joint Committee on Economic Development on Thursday morning.

Critics Say Equity Reforms at Vocational Schools Not Enough

[Story Developing] Changes to vocational school admission policy regulations that are up for a vote Tuesday don't go far enough to fix concerns around access for students of color and those who are economically disadvantaged, learning English or have disabilities, advocates said Thursday.

Cape Services Expected to Suffer Due to Housing Shortage

[Story Developing] Cape Cod vacationers and residents should expect to experience scaled-back services or delays at local businesses coming out of the pandemic because of a workforce shortage driven in part by the state's worsening housing crisis, the head of a regional business group said Thursday.

Text Alerts Improving Courts Appearance Rates

A state program aimed at reminding defendants about upcoming court appearances is "already beginning to pay dividends" since the Massachusetts Probation Service implemented it last fall, agency leaders told lawmakers Wednesday as a panel started exploring ways to reduce barriers that people of color face in the probation system.

Muni Matters: PAC Thinking Small with Light Board Endorsements

When Marblehead voters get to the polls June 22, they'll have their pick of candidates: 14 options for the Select Board, two choices for the School Committee and, perhaps most notably, four candidates vying for two seats on the Municipal Light Commission.


With Emergency Over, Baker Relishes Ribbon-Cutting, Brewery Visit

During the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker lamented that his days went from being full of events where he could mingle with people from different communities and walks of life to almost entirely virtual events and COVID-specific press conferences.

Uncaptioned image for story:Gaming Revenues Showing Signs of Major Bounceback

Gaming Revenues Showing Signs of Major Bounceback

Even with some COVID-19 restrictions in place for most of the month, the Bay State's slots parlor and two casinos generated more tax revenue for the state's coffers in May than in any month since casino gambling was legalized nearly a decade ago.

Who’s On The Move?

... Potomac Law's new partner brings a ton of state government experience to the firm's pursuit of a new transportation, infrastructure, and mobility group ... The Boston Herald has added a State House reporter ... Commonwealth Care Alliance has a new chief corporate development officer ... A former DPU chair is now handling government relations work at Vicinity Energy ... and a former Senate Ways and Means legal aide has joined Tremont Strategies Group as legal counsel.

Remote Meetings Hailed as Major Public Access Reform

With a bill that would extend authorization for virtual public meetings now on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk, advocacy groups are calling on lawmakers to make remote meeting access permanent.

Poll Finds 61 Percent Support For Sports Betting Legalization

Most Massachusetts voters have already made up their minds about legalizing sports betting and 61 percent of the state strongly or somewhat supports the idea, a poll commissioned by Plainridge Park Casino and Encore Boston Harbor found.

Pandemic Policies Compromise Sent to Guv’s Desk

State lawmakers on Tuesday night struck a deal and shipped Gov. Charlie Baker legislation to restore the lapsed authorization for remote public meetings, to-go cocktail sales and town meeting flexibilities, while leaving the future of other pandemic-era policy adaptations as a subject for future negotiations.

Read more in the Front Page Archives

Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
New Confirmed Cases82
Total Confirmed Cases663,048
Total Deaths17,957
Full Vaccinations4,042,011

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