... Baker signs clean energy, opioid, environmental bond bills ...... Dems call on Baker to face voters by scheduling his own "town hall" event ...... HPC report highlights "staggering" growth of urgent care centers, retail health clinics ...... Big names in former Sen. Rosenberg's district rallying around write-in candidate Comerford ...... IBEW Local 103 endorses Zakim for secretary of state ...... Emerita pay bump of $35,000 limits former Senate President Chandler's pay cut to $10,000 ...... The state's first resort casino, MGM Springfield, is set to open Aug. 24 ...... Senate Ways and Means chair vacant as Spilka leaves vice chair Sen. Lovely to carry out duties ...... Homes placed under sales agreements in July were up 14 percent over July 2017 ...... AG, state officials issue public safety notice concerning 3D printing of weapons ...... Galvin's "People's Pledge" challenge, Zakim's debate challenge color secretary's race ...... RGA-backed superpac spends heavily on pre-primary pro-Baker TV ad ...... Human Rights Campaign stays out of 10-person Merrimack Valley Democratic Congressional primary ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (informal)
STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2018 .: The State House News Service

STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2018

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE


  • LEGIS, BAKER ACT TO SAVE RETIRED TEACHERS ON HEALTH INSURANCE

  • FROST: LINDSTROM IS GOP'S "BEST CHANCE" AGAINST SEN. WARREN

  • ZAKIM TOUTS REGISTRATION REFORM IN INTERNET AD

LEGIS, BAKER ACT TO SAVE RETIRED TEACHERS ON HEALTH INSURANCE
Urgent legislation required to spare a group of retired public employees, mostly teachers, from a spike in health care costs next year sped through the legislative chambers on Monday and Gov. Charlie Baker quickly signed his name to the bill he filed just over a week ago. The new law will merge roughly 10,000 retirees into the main pool of Group Insurance Commission members, enabling them to avoid cost spikes, according to the governor and GIC officials. The House passed Gov. Charlie Baker's bill on Monday morning less than an hour after it cleared the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the bill ping-ponged between the branches until it was enacted and ultimately signed by the governor. The merger of Pool 2, which includes retired teachers and a small group of elderly government employees, became a priority after GIC Executive Director Roberta Herman and her staff informed their board last month that without action about 955 retirees in Pool 2 would have to switch health plans and absorb premium spikes of 30 percent to 80 percent beginning on July 1. During the last reprocurement only one insurer – UniCare – bid on the business for Pool 2, limiting choices for members and potentially requiring many employees to switch plans. The merger of Pool 2 with Pool 1, which includes 97 percent of the more than 440,000 state employees and retirees covered through the GIC, is not expected to materially change the rates offered to Pool 1 members. Herman told lawmakers last week that the commission needed to have the bill signed by last Friday in order to properly prepare members for the start of open enrollment on April 4. Asked Friday about a Plan B since the bill had not cleared either branch, GIC officials said they would adjust their communication strategy with members, but remained confident the Legislature would address the issue quickly. - Matt Murphy/SHNS

FROST: LINDSTROM IS GOP'S "BEST CHANCE" AGAINST SEN. WARREN
There's only one GOP Senate candidate with the experience and debating skills to go "toe-to-toe" with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren this fall, and it's not his fellow representative, House Republican Rep. Paul Frost said Monday. Frost, an Auburn Republican with more than two decades of legislative experience, endorsed Beth Lindstrom for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, and in the process bypassed a House colleague, Rep. Geoff Diehl of Whitman. "This GOP Primary is about who can defeat Senator Elizabeth Warren," Frost said in a statement. "It's about who has experiences in the private sector, government and winning elections, who can go toe to toe with Warren in a debate and who can win in Massachusetts as a Republican statewide. Well, to me it's clear; Beth Lindstrom is the only candidate who checks all those boxes." Diehl, Lindstrom and Winchester businessman John Kingston are competing for the GOP nomination. Though Diehl is popular among Republican activists, he has never successfully endeared himself to Republican leadership on Beacon Hill since arriving after the 2010 election as a Tea Party conservative. Frost is the fourth ranking Republican in the House, and holds the title of third assistant minority leader. "Beth Lindstrom has loyally served the Republican Party for over three decades and is clearly our best chance in recapturing the "People's Seat" which was lost to Senator Elizabeth Warren with her extreme partisan politics, far left agendas and catering to liberal special interest groups. Beth going up against Warren is a matchup we can get excited about as we embark on capturing that magic again," Frost said. Lindstrom worked in Gov. Mitt Romney's cabinet after running the Lottery and serving as the first woman executive director of the Massachusetts Republican Party. She ran Scott Brown's successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2010. - Matt Murphy/SHNS

ZAKIM TOUTS REGISTRATION REFORM IN INTERNET AD
In his first ad, secretary of state candidate Josh Zakim features U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to help make his point. The internet-only video ad, to be released Monday, opens with footage of Warren at a town hall meeting, discussing efforts to increase voter turnout. Warren says, "I think it's just nuts" that Massachusetts does not allow voters to register on Election Day, referencing a proposal that's been stuck in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. A Boston city councilor hoping to unseat incumbent Secretary William Galvin in the Sept. 4 Democratic primary, Zakim is making a push for same-day voter registration a key element of his campaign. Galvin earlier this year put forward a legislative proposal for same-day registration and is pushing lawmakers to pass an automatic voter registration bill. Zakim calls same-day registration "long overdue in Massachusetts," saying it has been cost-effective and increased turnout in states where it's been adopted. Zakim last week announced a series of election law reforms he'd push for if elected, including same-day registration, weekend voting and an expansion of early voting. "It's where other progressive states are going," he says in the video. "Massachusetts should be leading on these issues." - Katie Lannan/SHNS

-END-
3/26/2018


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