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$3.65 Bil Plan Would Spend Most of Surplus, Majority of ARPA

[Story Developing] House leaders detailed a $3.65 billion spending package Monday that would invest in housing, hospitals, schools and workforce development, proposing to draw from last year's state budget surplus and over half of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to prop up workers, industries and communities hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annual State Financial Report Late Again

The state comptroller is eying a mid-November date to deliver an annual financial report, a timetable that falls a couple weeks after a statutory deadline but lands earlier than in the past two years. "If our projected date stays good, I think it's fair to say it may not be ideal -- it's not ideal -- but it's at least a return closer to historical norms and in the right direction," Comptroller William McNamara said Monday.

Constitutional Convention Summary - Monday, Oct. 25

The branches resumed and quickly recessed their Constitutional Convention Monday with plans to meet next on April 11, 2022. No action was taken during the two-minute joint session on any of the items on the convention calendar.

State House Takeout Podcast

Senate Session Summary - Monday, Oct. 25

A twin copy of the soldiers' home reform bill was admitted Monday in the Senate, three weeks after another copy was admitted in the House and sent to the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee. Filed in September by Sen. Michael Rush of Boston and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell of Methuen, the bill (H 4195 / SD 2765) would elevate the Office of Veterans' Services to a Cabinet-level secretariat and impose certification requirements on the state-run Holyoke and Chelsea veteran care facilities.

Uncaptioned image for story:Right Whale Population Down 30 Percent Over Past Decade

Right Whale Population Down 30 Percent Over Past Decade

The North Atlantic right whale population has shrunk by 30 percent over the last decade, capped off by a roughly 8 percent annual decline to an estimated 336 whales remaining in 2020, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium announced Monday.

Worker Bonuses, UI Relief Highlight ARPA Bill

Low- and middle-income workers who provided critical services during the pandemic would receive a total of $500 million in premium pay bonuses and $500 million more would cushion the impact of unemployment insurance increases on businesses, under a bill emerging in the Legislature on Monday that uses American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The Advances - Look At The Week Ahead

Beacon Hill leaders continue to juggle pandemic management with legislative wrangling, but with formal sessions due to cease for the year on Nov. 17, they now have less than a month to deliver on their fall agenda.

Flanked by Massachusetts state troopers and officers from other states, State Police Association of Massachusetts President Michael Cherven speaks to reporters Monday on Boston Common about the Baker administration's vaccine mandate. [Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Get It, Got It, Good

Millions have gotten it, and more want it, mostly for their children. There are boosters with evolving eligibility standards and the possibility for mixing and matching. Others flat out still refuse to get it.

Uncaptioned image for story:MEMA Director Phillips Departing Next Friday

MEMA Director Phillips Departing Next Friday

The woman who has led the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving her post, the Baker administration announced Friday.

Unemployment Rises As State Sits On ARPA Funds

The statewide unemployment rate rose from 5 percent to 5.2 percent in September, while employers reported adding 11,900 jobs across Massachusetts last month, labor officials announced on Friday.

Muni Matters: E-Bike Road Rules | Songy Tax Exemption | Randolph Vaccine Campaign

Low-Income Fare Options Not Arriving On Time

Movement toward a low-income fare program at the MBTA will remain stalled for at least another month while the agency's new governing body gets up to speed, officials said Thursday.

Uncaptioned image for story:Green Line's Opening Act In Somerville Delayed Again

Green Line’s Opening Act In Somerville Delayed Again

The MBTA will postpone the opening of a Green Line Extension stop in Somerville by three months, and the already-delayed May 2022 goal for the remainder of the megaproject may also run into issues, officials announced Thursday.

House Plan To Boost Chances For Candidates Of Color Wins Bipartisan Support

House Democrats and Republicans came together on Thursday to approve a plan that would recast the boundaries for all 160 House districts, strengthening opportunities in places like Worcester, Lawrence, Brockton and Chelsea for candidates of color to win seats over the next decade. The new districts reflect the changes in population across the state since 2010 during which time Massachusetts not only grew, but became more diverse.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Oct. 21

The House passed legislation (H 4210) Thursday afternoon establishing new political boundaries for all 160 House districts, taking one of the final steps in the decennial redistricting process.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Oct. 21

The Senate mapped its timeline for considering new Senate districts, adding the Redistricting Committee's proposed senatorial boundaries (S 2560) to the calendar for next Wednesday, Oct. 27. Amendments are due by 1 p.m. Monday.

The Committee on Covid-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management, Public Health Committee, and Education Committee held a joint oversight hearing Thursday on children's COVID-19 vaccines and testing, with testimony from secretaries Sudders and Peyser, and commissioners Cooke and Riley, among others. [Screenshot]

Kids' COVID Shots Expected To Arrive In Mass. By Nov. 5

The fine details are still being worked out, but the Baker administration expects there will be about 700 locations across the state where kids as young as 5 will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if federal agencies approve the expansion of vaccine eligibility as expected in the coming weeks.

Massachusetts Port Authority officials said Thursday that the rate of firearms found at Logan International Airport security checkpoints has been rising, part of a nationwide trend. [Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Airport Overseer Flags “Alarming” Firearms Trend

Security workers have caught firearms at Logan Airport checkpoints this year at more than twice the rate they did in 2019, part of what Massachusetts Port Authority CEO Lisa Wieland called a "pretty alarming trend" across the country.

Mass. Senate Passes Genocide Education Bill

A bill that aims to make life easier for on-the-move military families and another that would require all Massachusetts middle and high schools to teach about the history of genocide each cleared the Senate unanimously on Thursday.

Most at Massport Complied By Vax Mandate Deadline

About nine out of 10 employees at the Massachusetts Port Authority have submitted proof they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or requested a medical or religious exemption, Massport CEO Lisa Wieland said Thursday, but the agency still must address employees who did not meet the compliance deadline.