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

End Dates Still Unknown For T’s Slow Zones

A comprehensive plan outlining when all speed restrictions will be eliminated on each subway line is "not ready to be released," MBTA General Manager Phil Eng said Thursday.

T Board Approves $2.72B Budget Featuring 644 New Safety Jobs

MBTA officials warned Thursday of a "sobering" financial outlook for the agency, but voted to jack up spending by nearly 7 percent in an annual budget that funds mandatory safety improvements and an ambitious hiring effort.

Health Care Chief Forecasts “Choppy Summer” for MassHealth Members

Residents are in for a "very choppy summer" as the state's massive redetermination effort to gauge eligibility for 2.4 million MassHealth members unfolds, Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said Thursday.

House Session Summary - Holds Silent Tribute For Duxbury Student

The House on Thursday agreed to admit a Sen. Joan Lovely bill that would make perinatal psychiatric complications, including postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, a mitigating factor in whether a defendant is sentenced to life in prison.

Stalled Road Funding Bill Takes Off-Ramp To Private Talks

Lawmakers have been unable to reach informal agreement on an annual local road and bridge funding bill for more than two months, and now they'll ask a formal negotiating team to try and unjam the process.

Senate Session Summary - Tax Relief Amendments Due Monday

The Senate on Thursday teed up a long-awaited tax relief bill, scheduling debate for next week on a topic that has been a priority for both Gov. Maura Healey and the House.

Who’s On The Move?

... A veteran of Mayor Walsh's administration is the new public affairs manager at The Boston Foundation ... Willamette Management Associates has a new managing director ... A Tokyo-based clean energy company is continuing its U.S. expansion ... After a year in the energy sector, a former EEA secretary is taking the helm of a conservation group ... And two former State House aides have opened their own consulting firm ...

Safety, Cost Concerns In Sprinkler Mandate Debate

Firefighters want communities to be able to opt-in to a sprinkler mandate for new single family homes, but builders warn that the policy could add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for homeowners in an already strained housing market.

Healey Taps Bonner For Five More Years on Parole Board

Gov. Maura Healey placed her first nomination before the Governor's Council on Wednesday, tapping Dr. Charlene Bonner for another five-year term on the Parole Board.

Regulators Examining Wager’s “Can’t Lose” Marketing

It's called "Big Cat's Can't Lose Parlay," and Massachusetts gaming regulators are weighing whether bettors understand that the name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to Barstool Sports personality Dan "Big Cat" Katz's history as a lousy gambler or if the featured wager runs afoul of state law and regulations against marketing bets as being risk-free.

New Turn For Wind Energy With “Steel In The Water”

Foundations for the 62 turbines of the Vineyard Wind clean energy project are now being installed about 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, project officials said Wednesday as they marked another milestone for the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.

Citing “Unprecedented Challenge,” Delegation Appeals To Labor On UI Error

Citing a Baker administration "accounting error," members of the state's Congressional delegation called Tuesday on federal labor officials to work with the Healey administration on a solution to the "over withdrawal" of $2.5 billion in federal funds to pay unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

Biz Owners Knock Escalating Costs Amid Energy Transition

A group of business owners warned Wednesday that efforts to transition Massachusetts to renewable sources of energy have hamstrung them with higher costs at a time when policymakers are grappling with how to make the state more competitive.

Senate Dems Caucus, With Tax Relief In The Air

Senate Democrats have been exploring tax competitiveness and relief ideas for years and they plan to huddle once again on Wednesday afternoon, as they appear to be closing in on another proposal.

State Formalizing Forestry Role In Emissions Fight

The Healey administration moved Wednesday to draft the state's forests into the effort to address climate change, announcing a new initiative to invest in conservation, develop updated guidelines for state lands, and provide incentives for landowners to maximize the climate benefits of their forests.

Report: Many Mass. Towns Flouting CPA’s Housing Requirements

While Beacon Hill searches for solutions to the serious housing shortage that fuels affordability concerns in Massachusetts, a real estate industry organization wants to see the Community Preservation Act program retrofitted to put a greater emphasis on housing production.

Transfer Tax Bill Would Give All Communities New Option

After years of unsuccessful attempts to give cities and towns the option to tax home sales to support local affordable housing, advocates this session are putting forward a new version of the bill with more flexibility for municipalities to choose a plan that works for their community.

Tax Credit Pitched To Entice Small Biz Hires

The Legislature could boost local businesses, combat recidivism, and promote racial equity in one fell swoop, supporters of a tax credit proposal told the Revenue Committee Tuesday.

State Board Offers Prescription Option To Compass Patients

Pharmacists can provide patients of abruptly-closed Compass Medical practices with up to 30 days worth of certain medications even if they do not have remaining refills on their prescriptions, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy said Tuesday.

Disparities in Funding Mean 'Something is Wrong,' Agency Head Says

Government officials must step up to tackle racial and gender disparities in venture capital funding, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center President and CEO Kenn Turner said Tuesday during a panel discussion at the BIO International Convention in Boston.

Senate President Karen Spilka and Gov. Maura Healey talk at the BIO International Convention Tuesday in Boston, where the governor pledged to reauthorize the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative. Former senator and MassBio CEO Joseph Boncore, who now lobbies for the organization, looks on. [Alison Kuznitz/SHNS]

Healey Commits To Extending Life Sciences Law

Gov. Maura Healey plans to continue a high-dollar commitment to the life sciences sector that began under former Gov. Deval Patrick, and her administration is also launching a new platform to recruit diverse hires to the sector and provide training opportunities.

Uncaptioned image for story: Estate Tax, Housing Credits Headline $590 Mil Senate Tax Relief Plan

Estate Tax, Housing Credits Headline $590 Mil Senate Tax Relief Plan

Senate Democrats on Thursday advanced a long-awaited tax relief package, and both branches and the governor have now all rolled out proposals to cut costs for Massachusetts residents and make the state more competitive. But the Senate Ways and Means Committee's plan to bring relief to taxpayers is close to half the long-term size size of the measure their House counterparts approved earlier this year.

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, whose mother was raised on Trinidad, talks with Samuel Cedeno of Dorchester, originally from Trinidad, at a Caribbean-American heritage reception in the governor's office Thursday. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Rep: Caribbean-American Celebration “Means Everything to Me”

A spread of empanadas and fried plantains decked out a table in the governor's office Thursday at a brief celebration of Caribbean-American Heritage Month that Rep. Chris Worrell found "heartwarming."

The premium payments that employees make for employer-sponsored health insurance have increased far more than income or overall inflation in the past two-plus decades, according to research by the Health Policy Commission. [Courtesy/HPC]

HPC: Mass. Seeing Billions In “Excessive” Health Care Spending

Massachusetts regulators delivered one of their most forceful warnings yet that health care prices are spiraling out of control, ramping up the pressure on lawmakers who have been unable to wrangle the trend and fulfill a consensus vision of cost control.

Rep. Bill MacGregor's wife Lisa grabs hold of daughter Eloise's stuffed animal during MacGregor's swearing-in ceremony Wednesday in the governor's office. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Two New Boston Dems Put House Back At Full Strength

Reps. John Moran and Bill MacGregor swore their oaths of office Wednesday in a packed governor's office, bringing the House back up to its full membership of 160 after a couple of early-session departures.

Drag queen Neon Calypso performs outside the State House Wednesday during a Pride Month celebration, including a Pride flag raising, as Gov. Maura Healey, Senate President Karen Spilka, and other lawmakers and allies clap along. [Alison Kuznitz/SHNS]

Mass. Pols Raise Pride Flag Outside State House

As governors in other states are "demonizing" LGBTQ people, Gov. Maura Healey -- Massachusetts' first openly gay top executive -- said it will be "particularly special" to march in Boston's Pride parade Saturday alongside Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll.

Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues addresses House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz as the conference committee in charge of negotiating the state budget sits down for its first meeting in the House Ways and Means Office on Wednesday. Rodrigues and Michlewitz are joined by Rep. Todd Smola and Sen. Cindy Freidman [right], Sen. Patrick O'Connor [not pictured] and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, who called in to the meeting.

Michlewitz, Rodrigues Launch Fifth Budget Negotiation

The fiscal year 2024 budget conference committee is officially convened, and the clock is ticking toward July 1.

Charlestown Marina has undergone a transformation since coming under new ownership in 2014. [Courtesy]

Healey Not Attending Charlestown Marina Event

An aide to Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said Wednesday afternoon that they will not be attending an event planned later in the day in Charlestown to celebrate a revived marina, after event organizers issued an advisory saying they'd be there.

Health Care Financing Committee Co-chair Sen. Cindy Friedman (left), flanked by Co-chair Rep. John Lawn (right), criticized industry representatives for pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical researchers at a Tuesday hearing, arguing they have not done enough to help the state rein in rising health care costs. [Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Top Lawmakers Fed Up With Drug Makers, Benefit Managers

One lawmaker accused pharmacy benefit managers of making "disingenuous" arguments about soaring medication costs. Another described the industry middlemen as "taking a mob-like approach." And a former governor recalled being driven to her "boiling point" because of the struggles her daughter had accessing a vital prescription drug.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and MassBio CEO Kendalle Burlin O'Connell cut the ribbon on the Massachusetts booth at the BIO Conference on Monday morning. [Sam Drysdale/SHNS]

Competitor States Take Stock Of Mass. Bio Climate

Massachusetts prides itself for being a global hub for the biotech and life sciences industries, but with other states on its heels -- or themselves boasting of being number one -- Bay State leaders are looking for new ways to compete.

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