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

Baker Plans Afternoon Press Conference to Outline Budget

Less than a day after delivering the State of the Commonwealth address, Gov. Charlie Baker will present his budget plan for fiscal 2021 at a State House press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

House Session Summary - Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Lawmakers from the House and Senate gathered in a joint session Tuesday to hear Gov. Charlie Baker deliver his State of the Commmonwealth address, in which the governor committed the state to a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, called for passage of his housing, transportation bond and health care bills, and said the budget he's filing tomorrow will include an increase of $135 million in the MBTA's operating funds.

DeLeo Takes Pass on Rent Control, Housing Fees

House Speaker Robert DeLeo declined over the weekend to say how he feels about rent control and new fees on higher-priced housing transactions, ideas that are being pushed on Beacon Hill as potential solutions to the state's housing affordability problem.

Pollack Sees TCI on Same Track as RGGI

The fate of the Massachusetts-led compact to cap vehicle emissions is unclear after multiple governors expressed skepticism about its costs, but state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack believes history shows the concerns will not be fatal.

Trahan to Visit Shoe Factory-Turned-Marijuana Cultivation Facility

Congresswoman Lori Trahan will tour a marijuana cultivation facility in Fitchburg on Wednesday to highlight the economic benefits the growing cannabis industry holds for Massachusetts, and particularly for former shoe and textile manufacturing hubs.

Viral Video Prompts Fire Marshal to Put Chiefs on Alert

The state fire marshal on Tuesday put all Massachusetts fire chiefs on alert that his office has already received reports of two instances in which teens trying to recreate a viral video have caused electrical system damage or fire.

Pollack: Easy-Travel Windows Make Congestion Pricing Difficult

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack believes the state can and should take comprehensive steps to address worsening traffic, but the administration remains opposed to converting existing toll infrastructure into a system that alters roadway pricing based on time of day, Pollack said Tuesday.

MGM Taps Its Ohio Casino Operator to Run Springfield

For the second time in about three months, a Massachusetts casino that's underperforming is replacing its president and installing a new top executive to oversee operations. MGM Springfield announced Tuesday morning that Mike Mathis has been replaced as president and chief operating officer by Chris Kelley, who had been leading MGM's Northfield Park casino in Ohio since April.

DeLeo: Budget Gap Not as Large as MTF Predicted

House leaders later this week will begin unpacking Gov. Charlie Baker's fiscal 2021 budget proposal and crafting their own bill for debate in April. As they look ahead, the top Democrat in the House appears to have a more optimistic view of the budget situation than the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

Sigel, of Brookline, Launches 4th District Congressional Campaign

Brookline attorney and community advocate Ben Sigel announced his campaign for Congress on Tuesday, expanding an already-crowded primary field of Democrat seeking to represent the Fourth Congressional District.

Chris Walsh Center to Open in February at Framingham State University

An organization named after a late state representative will open next month with a mission to help families and educators find the resources they need to better help students with disabilities, unmet needs or who are gifted.

Senate Session Summary - Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020

A climate change bill has not emerged in the Senate over the first three weeks of January, the month Senate leaders have targeted for debate on such a bill. The Senate met for four minutes Tuesday before adjourning until Thursday, when another light session is planned.

Toll Debate Continues as House Researches Transpo Financing Plan

[Coverage Developing] Transportation advocates on Tuesday touted the benefits of adjusting road tolls to minimize traffic impacts, even as Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack renewed the administration's skepticism about the strategy.

Lawrence, North Andover Hearings Set as DPU Probes Gas Company

State utility regulators are ready to visit the Merrimack Valley as they probe the September 2018 overpressurization incident that caused widespread explosions, fires and damage in the Columbia Gas communities of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover.

Health Insurers Promote Senior Care Option Plans

A video series launched this week aims to highlight potential benefits people over 65 can find from enrolling in a comprehensive health plan, with social supports and no copays, that's available if they are eligible for both MassHealth and Medicare.

Advances - Week of Jan. 19

Massachusetts taxpayers next week will get their first look at potential year-one spending under the state's $1.5 billion, seven-year K-12 education funding bill, which when combined with a big increase in spending on pensions and low-growth revenue projections could have negative downstream impacts on a budget proposal that's likely to sail past the $44 billion mark.

Interim Boston Housing Authority Chief Becomes Permanent

The Boston Housing Authority will have a new leader as Mayor Martin Walsh's administration embarks on a plan to pump new funding into housing over the next half-decade.

Liss-Riordan Ends U.S. Senate Campaign

Brookline attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan dropped out of the U.S. Senate race on Friday morning, leaving the Democratic primary on track to be a showdown between incumbent Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III.

Pensions Grabbing Big Share of Limited Revenues

When Gov. Charlie Baker lifts the curtain on his fiscal year 2021 budget next week, many Beacon Hill observers are going to flip right to the education section to see how great of an increase public schools might get under the new funding law. But there's another spending area that will grow by an even greater percentage -- the annual payment towards the state's pension liability.

Baker Falls to Third-Most Popular Guv in Latest Poll

Days before Gov. Charlie Baker is planning to give his annual address, the well-liked Republican governor has been "dethroned" as the nation's most popular, according to a Morning Consult poll.

Senator Says He'll “Name Names” Unless Bodyworks Bill Advances

A senator said he may filibuster upcoming sessions and pledged to "name names" responsible for holding up his anti-human trafficking legislation if that bill does not move soon.

Kathleen Theoharides (center), Gov. Charlie Baker's environmental affairs chief, applauded as the governor laid out an "ambitious" carbon emissions goal. [Photo: Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Dem Leaders On Board With Baker Climate Goals

A new climate commitment Gov. Charlie Baker made in his State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night earned a warm reception from Democratic legislative leaders on Tuesday night, but the governor's pledge of $135 million in new funding for the MBTA did not knock House Speaker Robert DeLeo or Senate President Karen Spilka off their interest in pursuing new revenues for transportation.

Congressman Richard Neal talked with reporters outside the Massachusetts House Chamber after attending Gov. Baker's State of the State speech Tuesday night. [Photo: Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

After Trade Deal, Neal Says Infrastructure Bill “Doable”

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, the chair of the chief tax writing committee in the House, met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week following the final passage of US-Canada-Mexico trade deal to discuss moving forward with a infrastructure bill, and continues to believe it might be possible to work with the White House on highway funding.

Gov. Charlie Baker walked the red carpet toward the House Chamber on Tuesday afternoon to rehearse for his State of the Commonwealth speech. [Photo: Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Baker Calls for Net-Zero Emissions by 2050

Urging his fellow political leaders to resist the "siren call of sloganeering" in the heat of an election year, Gov. Charlie Baker will call Tuesday night for the state to embrace an aggressive new climate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and shower $135 million in new operating funds on the MBTA to ensure that the T can make safety and service improvements.

Uncaptioned image for story:Climate Activists to Protest State of the State

Climate Activists to Protest State of the State

As Gov. Charlie Baker prepares to deliver his State of the Commonwealth address Tuesday night, environmental advocates plan to gather outside the State House to make the case that Massachusetts is in "a State of Climate Emergency."

Sen. Marc Pacheco briefed reporters Tuesday about what he expects to see in the Senate's climate bill when it is released later this week. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

On Tap: Senate Plans Climate Bill Rollout Thursday

The Massachusetts Senate plans to roll out a "comprehensive climate change bill" on Thursday, officials announced Tuesday, and one senator told reporters he expects the bill to feature a net-zero emissions requirement by 2050.

PRACTICE RUN: Gov. Charlie Baker walked the red carpet toward the House Chamber on Tuesday afternoon to rehearse for his State of the Commonwealth speech. [Photo: Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Baker to Detail Transpo, Climate, Housing, Education Initiatives

Gov. Charlie Baker plans during his State of the State address Tuesday at 7 p.m. to touch on some of the big topics that have been roiling debate on Beacon Hill for years.

Local Aid Mostly Keeping Pace with Tax $$$ Growth

During his run for governor in 2014, Charlie Baker promised to increase total local aid, including education funding and unrestricted aid, by the same amount as growth in state revenues.

<strong>SHEDDING LITTLE LIGHT:</strong> House Speaker Robert DeLeo told the press Wednesday he was "uncertain as to exactly when" the House would kick off its long-promised debate on transportation funding, raising questions as to whether leaders are struggling to build consensus. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Sit Tight and Keep the Faith

The good times may be rolling to an end, with the days of flush treasury vaults and "tough" choices about how to spend surplus cash predicted to be a thing of the past.

Paul Craney, spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, said "voices are being heard" in opposition to the Transportation and Climate Initiative. His group hosted a press conference with other think tanks Friday at the Hampshire House. [Photo: Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

TCI Opponents Share Objections at Boston Summit

Opponents of a Massachusetts-led regional effort to impose a cap on transportation emissions gathered Friday to claim momentum in their fight, drawing criticism from environmental activists who say they were asked to leave the event.

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