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License Law Repeal Campaign Plans to 'Run Across the Finish Line'

The campaign to repeal the new driver's license law, which is set to open up license access to immigrants without legal status in Massachusetts, said it hit a milestone Wednesday and turned in the requisite number of signatures to print the repeal question on the November ballot. But Secretary of State Bill Galvin's office contested that Thursday and said the signatures were "probably not" all actually filed yet.

Timing, Layout Questions Linger Over Sports Betting Rollout

The Gaming Commission waded into the crowded and complex field of sports wagering issues on which it will soon have to make decisions, and regulators are hoping by the end of the month to have a good idea of how many and which companies are interested in seeking a sports betting license in Massachusetts.

Baker Doesn’t Slam Door on Boston Fossil Fuel Ban

Gov. Charlie Baker "would want to try to be helpful" to the city of Boston as its leaders seek state approval to restrict fossil fuels in new buildings and major renovations, even though he continues to air concerns that the strategy could further strain the housing market.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Aug. 18

In a sure sign that it's August on Beacon Hill, the Senate was 80 minutes late in starting its session Thursday, and when it did finally convene, the chamber's top Republican was the one wielding the gavel. After briefly presiding and placing the Senate in recess at 12:20 p.m., Minority Leader Bruce Tarr told the News Service he was "still ready, willing, and able to contribute in that role if I need to," but the president's office by that point had located one of the Senate's 37 Democrats and Senate Dean Marc Pacheco took the chair.

Baker Figures Prominently in Talks About Legislature’s Return

Lawmakers love to deflect questions about conference committee talks by saying their rules require them to keep the negotiations private among the three representative and three senators tasked with finding a compromise. But no one is making any bones about the fact that the conference committee still negotiating an economic development bill has looped in an informal seventh member: Gov. Charlie Baker.

House Session Summary - Thursday, Aug. 18

The bill that Gov. Charlie Baker filed Wednesday recommending terms for bonds that were authorized by three newly signed laws -- the $11.4 billion infrastructure borrowing package, the $5.2 billion general government bond authorization, and the borrowing plan meant to modernize parts of the state's court system -- was sent Thursday to the Committee on Bonding during a brief informal House session. Aside from advancing the bond terms bill (H 5213), the House processed bills of local importance to Bridgewater, Tisbury, Devens, Norwood, Lunenburg and Hull.

Gaming Regulators Gauging Interest in Sports Betting Licenses

[Coverage Developing] The Gaming Commission would like to know how many and which companies are interested in seeking a sports betting license in Massachusetts and is asking that interested companies get in touch by the end of the month.

Silver Line, Extra Shuttles Tapped as Orange Line Alternates

The MBTA will add a "circulator" shuttle bus and expand Silver Line service to help connect Chinatown to other destinations during the upcoming Orange Line shutdown, T General Manager Steve Poftak said Thursday.

National Guard Tapped to Wrangle Rockport Wildfire

The National Guard has again been pressed into action, this time at the request of Rockport as the Cape Ann community continues to deal with a wildfire that has been burning across 19 acres for a month, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said Thursday morning.

Report Highlights Intricacies of 'Full-Blown Crisis' at the MBTA

A cavalcade of missteps, hazards and failures at the MBTA have prompted some public figures to call for the transit agency to be absorbed into another department or placed under federal control, but those actions would not address the deep-seated problems that have festered for years, according to a new report.

Baker Taps Two for Judgeships, One with Guv’s Council Ties

Gov. Charlie Baker at midday Wednesday tapped a longtime central Massachusetts private practice attorney to replace a disgraced probate judge who resigned in March. Then, later in the afternoon, another new nomination quietly popped up on the Governor's Council calendar -- District Court nominee Sarah Jubinville.

Big Borrowing Measures Headed For Next Procedural Step

With fairly straightforward and mundane legislation filed Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker continued the work of capping off the significant lawmaking of the 192nd General Court.

Councilor Marilyn Devaney (far left) seeks Gov. Charlie Baker's attention while Councilor Joe Ferreira appears to take a photograph of the governor on Wednesday in the Governor's Council Chamber. Baker presided over a council meeting during a tie-breaking vote on a Parole Board nominee. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Polito Breaks Tie in Favor of Controversial Parole Board Reappointment

Gov. Charlie Baker facilitated a rare tie-breaking vote of the Governor's Council to win approval Wednesday for former corrections official Colette Santa to serve another five-year term on the Parole Board.

Senate Acting First on Tax Bill Not Preferred, But Not Impossible

In the extended back-and-forth over the economic development and tax relief bill stuck in legislative purgatory, Senate President Karen Spilka has repeatedly said her chamber wants to act now but can't without the House doing so first. But on Tuesday, she gave voice to the possibility that the Senate could deploy procedural tactics to bring something to the Senate floor without the House acting first.

Months Past Original Due Date, State Seal Commission Eyes Start of “Real Work”

After receiving two extensions already, the special commission tasked with redesigning the state seal and flag is staring down a timeline of just over four months until the latest deadline with the "real work" not yet underway.

AG Lands Slice of $450 Mil Settlement With Opioid Maker

Massachusetts would receive part of a $450 million payment from opioid manufacturer Endo, which filed for bankruptcy Tuesday night, under a deal Attorney General Maura Healey and several other state AGs struck with the company.

Leaders Push for Free T as 'Apology' to Riders

A constellation of elected officials from Congress down to the local level have gained little traction so far with their calls for the MBTA to halt charging fares across the entire system when the Orange Line and part of the Green Line go offline for extended periods.

Senate President Karen Spilka celebrated Tuesday at the ceremonial signing of a mental health law, a legislative priority of hers for decades and one that has its roots in her childhood. [Colin A. Young/SHNS]

For Spilka, New Mental Health Law Culminates A Lifelong Story

Tuesday's signing ceremony for the state's new mental health law was more than the celebration of another legislative achievement for Senate President Karen Spilka. It was also affirmation that a childhood clouded by a parent's untreated mental health issues had been worth it.

Who’s On The Move?

... MassDEP has a new deputy press secretary with private sector experience ... Auditor Bump's former deputy communications director starts this week in a senior communications role at the ABL ... Fallon Health added a new role focused on Medicare and Medicaid members ... Mass. Climate Action Network is experiencing changeover at the top ... And there's a new food justice director at Boston City Hall ... Enjoy The Personnel File ...

With First Ad, Surtax Fight is Coming to Bay State Living Rooms

More than half a decade after supporters launched their first effort to put a ballot question imposing a higher tax rate on wealthy households before voters, the campaign shifted into a new gear Wednesday morning.