... Sen. Spilka's leadership team: Creem, Brownsberger, Chandler, Lovely, Barrett, DiDomenico, Rush, Cyr ...... Sen. Michael Rodrigues of Westport tapped by Spilka to chair Ways and Means Committee ...... Lewis takes over for Chang-Diaz as Education Committee chair, with issue at top of early 2019 agenda ...... Sen. Friedman takes leadership of Health Care Financing as lawmakers revisit major health care bill ...... Lynn Democrat Sen. Brendan Crighton to chair Housing Committee as lawmakers explore production bill options ...... Chang-Diaz takes over Marijuana Policy Committee chair from Sen. Jehlen ...... First-term Sens. Comerford to chair Public Health, Rausch Municipalities, and Kennedy Tourism Committee ...... Sen. Eric Lesser takes over Ethics Committee, which Rodrigues chaired last session ...... Brownsberger to chair Redistricting Committee as state prepares for decennial census ...... Baker visiting family in Florida for rest of week ...... Report: cost of traffic congestion, in hours and $$$, higher in Boston than any other city ...... Gas prices fall to 18-month low as MBTA considers hitting riders with another round of fare hikes ...... Business confidence in Massachusetts slips to lowest level since October 2016 ...... Baker ending February with trip to NGA winter meetings, address to Boston Chamber of Commerce ...... Mass. Lottery poised to open new headquarters in Dorchester on Feb. 19 ...... Boston-area tunnels, highway systems need $1.6 billion in work ...... Warren officially launches presidential bid and Moulton says he's thinking about getting in the race ...... ...
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ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Tuesday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)


By Chris Lisinski

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, FEB. 6, 2019....One year after receiving a significant increase in state funds, the head of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health hopes legislators will back Gov. Charlie Baker's proposal to keep the allocation at its higher level.

Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula said housing costs are holding back people in recovery who are ready to live on their own. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

State Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula, speaking before dozens of mental health providers at an annual breakfast Wednesday, said she was happy to see the governor's fiscal year 2020 budget maintain the same support for her department as last year, when an $876 million budget was approved. She urged attendees to visit lawmakers after the breakfast and advocate on DMH's behalf.

"The governor's fiscal year '20 budget supports initiatives and is a statement about the effectiveness of treatment, medication and services," she said. "It recognizes the importance of peer specialists and recovery coaches. It appreciates that many of the 29,000 individuals we serve have a lot of co-ocurring substance-abuse conditions. It acknowledges the crucial importance of high-quality, real-time medical intervention and treatment for people."

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