... Former Baker chief of staff Kadish to present Future of Transpo findings Dec. 19 ...... Chamber, CLF, T Advisory Board to issue annual reports measuring MBTA improvement progress ...... MGC: MGM Springfield, Plainridge generated $35.7 mil in gross gaming revenue in October ...... WGBH's Kadzis: media overplays progressives, "not properly calibrated to the public at the moment" ...... Effort to crack down on plastic bags about to get a boost with Boston's own ...... VFW urges feds to heed its own failing ratings assigned to VA nursing homes ...... Mass. retailers see holiday season sales growing 3.8 percent, to $18 billion this year ...... SEIU Local 509 hits Northeastern U. over filing in case before National Labor Relations Board ...... Attorneys Melia, Tetreau nominated by Baker to Probate and Family Court judgeships ...... Comerford: DHS public charge rule would hurt families who are already struggling ...... Eversource warns consumers to beware of scammers posing as employees of the energy company ...... South Coast Chamber recognizes Lockheed Martin, New Bedford Harbor Hotel ...... BCBS of MA releases report on drivers of MassHealth per-enrollee spending growth ...... U.S. Senate committee plans Nov. 26 hearing in Lawrence on gas disaster response ...... Advisor: Baker "will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate" ...... Senate President Spilka recovering from foot surgery ...... National holiday season sales expected to rise 4.8 percent ...... Worcester attorneys nominated for Probate and Family Court judgeships ...... Trial Court to celebrate National Adoption Day with events on Friday ...... Minimum wage set to rise from $11 to $12 an hour on Jan. 1, 2019 ...... ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (no calendar)
STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - LUNCH EDITION - MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2018 .: The State House News Service

STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - LUNCH EDITION - MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2018

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE


  • AD CAMPAIGN LAUNCHING TO PROMOTE WAGE THEFT BILL

  • DENVER MAYOR "CONVERTED" ON LEGAL MARIJUANA

  • AAA: CONSUMERS REACTING TO HIGHER GAS PRICES

  • AUDIT: CYBERSCAMMERS STOLE $94,000 FROM CLEAN ENERGY CENTER

  • DOZENS OF LAWMAKERS OBJECT SOLAR PROGRAM'S DETAILS

  • BROWNSBERGER BACKS PALFREY FOR LG

AD CAMPAIGN LAUNCHING TO PROMOTE WAGE THEFT BILL
As the Senate gears up for a Thursday debate on the issue, proponents of legislation targeting "wage theft" by employers are launching an ad campaign designed to put pressure on Beacon Hill to pass a law by this summer addressing the problem. The ads, which will run on TV, radio, online and on billboards, will feature some of the more than 350,000 workers who, according to Community Labor United, are victims of stolen wages that advocates say totaled $700 million in 2017. "Our message to lawmakers is clear: wage theft is a crime. And it's time to put a stop to it," Isabel Gonzalez-Webster, director of capacity building at Community Labor United, said in a statement on Monday. The bill would give the attorney general's office the ability to bring wage theft cases to court for civil damages and to issue stop work orders that would remain in place until wage theft violations are corrected. Bill supporters say workers in the retail, food, construction and hospitality industries, in particular, have been victims of stolen wages. - Michael P. Norton/SHNS

DENVER MAYOR "CONVERTED" ON LEGAL MARIJUANA
As local officials across Massachusetts are bracing for the start of legal marijuana sales next month, the mayor of Denver took to the Boston airwaves Monday morning to describe his experience running a city with legal pot. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat who like Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh "adamantly opposed" legalization, told Boston Herald Radio's "Morning Meeting" on Monday that his fears did not come to fruition and that he is "converted." "The sky hasn't fallen like I thought it would," he said. "If you regulate it properly, enforce the laws around it and you set up your government to help work collaboratively with the industry, good things will happen." Hancock said his office has been working with Walsh's office to help Boston prepare for the expected launch of legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts in July. "Hopefully Massachusetts takes lessons from cities like Denver, states like Colorado, Washington and Seattle," Hancock said. "I can tell you that Marty Walsh has dispatched, in previous months, his team to come talk to us and we've spent some time helping Boston get ready for this." Denver has more than 300 retail marijuana stores, but Hancock said the Mile High City has not had problems with marijuana stores leading to increases in neighborhood crime, loitering or similar issues. "They're respected businesses," he said of the shops that generated more than $40 million in sales tax revenue for his city last year. "Outside of seeing a leaf in a window or something of that nature, many of them you don't even know where they exist." The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission meets Thursday and could issue the first legal marijuana business license. State regulators expect legal sales to begin on or around July 1. - Colin A. Young/SHNS

AAA: CONSUMERS REACTING TO HIGHER GAS PRICES
Gas prices in Massachusetts fell 3 cents a gallon to an average of $2.89 in the latest AAA Northeast survey. Released on Monday, the survey showed gas prices averaging 63 cents a gallon more than at this time in 2017. "Gas prices are falling across the country, while remaining more expensive than they were a year ago," Mary Maguire, director of public and legislative affairs at AAA Northeast, said in a statement. "The higher prices in recent weeks seem to be influencing driving habits. While consumer gasoline demand remains strong, it is slowing and not growing." - Michael P. Norton/SHNS

AUDIT: CYBERSCAMMERS STOLE $94,000 FROM CLEAN ENERGY CENTER
Cyberscammers stole nearly $94,000 from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, according to new state audit results that cite the "real and growing" threat of cybercrime. The center recovered $25,261 of the $93,679 that it "unwittingly wired" to an account controlled by a cyberscammer and has since improved its processes to prevent future thefts, according to Auditor Suzanne Bump's office. But auditors said the center waited more than seven months to notify its 12-member board of directors of the Jan. 9, 2017 theft of public funds and never filed a formal criminal complaint, although it did notify authorities. More timely notifications and filings, the auditor said, could have resulted in a larger recovery and the pursuit of a prosecution. In response to the findings, the center said the problem was identified in February 2017 and management conducted an immediate review and enhancement of its internal controls, adding layers of information technology security and also requiring employees to take an IT security training course annually. The audit, which covered the period from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017, also determined the center has a record of investing in financially viable Massachusetts companies and that its Wind Technology Testing Center generated sufficient revenue to cover its expenses. - Michael P. Norton/SHNS

DOZENS OF LAWMAKERS OBJECT SOLAR PROGRAM'S DETAILS
Lawmakers are voicing concerns with state regulators about a potential 60 percent reduction in the value of credits available to residential customers in connection with community solar projects. In a letter Monday to Department of Public Utilities commissioners Angela O'Connor, Cecile Fraser and Robert Hayden, 16 senators and 63 state representatives said elements of a solar energy program pending for approval before the agency could thwart the growth of the solar industry and "limit access to solar for millions of renters, low-income residents, and other ratepayers for whom rooftop solar is not an option." Lawmakers support the overall design of the new Solar Massachusetts Renewable Energy Target Program (SMART) but oppose a "harmful cap" on customer credits within an alternative on-bill credit mechanism proposed by utilities. The cap threatens to undercut the goals of a 2016 solar energy law, according to the lawmakers, a group that includes Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Frank Smizik - Michael P. Norton/SHNS

BROWNSBERGER BACKS PALFREY FOR LG
Lieutenant governor candidate Quentin Palfrey has netted the support of another state senator, giving him the backing of five of the chamber's 31 Democrats. Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont endorsed Palfrey on Sunday, joining Sens. Cynthia Creem, Eric Lesser, Jamie Eldridge and Adam Hinds in backing the Palfrey campaign. A Weston Democrat who worked in the Obama White House and for former Attorney General Martha Coakley, Palfrey is running against Cambridge comedian and activist Jimmy Tingle in the Sept. 4 primary. Palfrey, 44, won the Democratic Party's endorsement at its June 2 convention, with 58 percent of the vote. "Quentin's experience in the Obama administration and the Massachusetts Attorney General's office demonstrates a commitment to public service and gives him the skills he will need to lead as Lieutenant Governor," Brownsberger said in a statement. Brownsberger, who co-chairs the Judiciary Committee, held a fundraiser over the weekend for candidates he is backing in four other races: his Senate colleague Barbara L'Italien, who is running for Congress in the Third District; his chief legal counsel Anne Landry, a candidate for a House seat representing Woburn and Reading; Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan; and Suffolk District Attorney hopeful Rachael Rollins. Brownsberger is running unopposed in his bid for a sixth term in the Senate. - Katie Lannan/SHNS

-END-
6/11/2018


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