House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
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ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (No Calendar)
STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MORNING EDITION - WEDNESDAY, OCT. 3, 2018 .: The State House News Service

STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MORNING EDITION - WEDNESDAY, OCT. 3, 2018


  • HPC: QUESTION 1 COULD COST UP TO $949 MIL

  • BAKER, GONZALEZ AGREE TO OFFSHORE WIND PLEDGE

HPC: QUESTION 1 COULD COST UP TO $949 MIL
[Story Developing] The total annual costs of a ballot question that would limit the number of patients assigned to one nurse would land between $676 million and $949 million, according to a new state analysis that cautioned those figures are likely on the conservative side. The Health Policy Commission on Wednesday released its findings of a cost study on Question 1, which also found implementing the staffing ratios could save an estimated $34 million to $47 million through the hiring of additional registered nurses. The commission said 2,286 to 3,101 additional full-time nurses would be required to meet the staffing mandates, with the greatest demand at community hospitals and for night shifts. Backers of Question 1 took issue with the HPC's findings, blasting the agency over the data that was used and the process involved. "This guess on costs by the HPC is irresponsible and inconsistent and resembles nothing that the HPC has ever done before. This estimates a cost of $300k per nurse FTE, per year, and — like the inflated numbers distributed by hospital executives — there is no independent data source or transparency in these cost estimates," Massachusetts Nurses Association Executive Director Julie Pinkham said in a statement early Wednesday morning. The analysis was led by David Auerbach, the commission's director for research and cost trends, and University of California San Francisco professor Joanne Spetz, who the commission brought on in August as an outside consultant. Spetz has studied the effects of the nurse staffing law in California, the only state with mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios in place for all hospital units. The initiative petition here is more strict than the California law, according to the HPC. Gov. Charlie Baker last week declined to stake out a position on Question 1, saying he was awaiting the HPC's findings. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jay Gonzalez supports the question. - Katie Lannan/SHNS

BAKER, GONZALEZ AGREE TO OFFSHORE WIND PLEDGE
There is at least one thing that gubernatorial candidates Charlie Baker and Jay Gonzalez agree on: whoever is governor should work to make Massachusetts a leader in the nation's offshore wind industry. The Republican governor and his Democratic challenger both agreed to sign a pledge from environmental groups stating that, if elected governor, they will move to procure more offshore wind power, if it makes economic sense, and work with neighboring states to bring more offshore wind to the region. The pledge was spearheaded by the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund and the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund, which said their members wanted "a guarantee that the next Governor of Massachusetts would ensure that our state maintains a leadership role in launching the nation's offshore wind industry." "We at ELM look forward to working with the next Governor to continue moving Massachusetts toward a clean energy future," ELM Director of Energy Policy Eric Wilkinson said. "It is a testament to the importance of increasing our wind energy and doing so quickly that both candidates were so willing to make this commitment." The pledge contained three parts. First was an agreement to see that all offshore wind requirements of a 2016 renewable energy law are met. The second was to analyze by May 2019 what another 1,600-megawatt procurement of offshore wind would mean economically, a study required by the energy law passed in July 2018, and to begin the solicitation process for that procurement no later than 2025. The third is a promise to explore the possibility of procuring wind power jointly with neighboring states. The energy law the Legislature passed in the final hours of formal sessions in July directed the Department of Energy Resources to conduct that analysis and authorizes, but does not mandate, an additional procurement of 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power. Utility companies and the state recently selected Vineyard Wind to build an 800-megawatt offshore wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard, a procurement that was authorized under the 2016 energy law. - Colin A. Young/SHNS

-END-
10/3/2018


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