State House News Service
STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - WEDNESDAY, DEC. 19, 2018 .: The State House News Service



Population growth in Massachusetts is outpacing that of other New England states, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Secretary of State William Galvin is now predicting that the state should be able to hold on to all nine seats in Congress with an accurate head count in 2020. New data released on Wednesday showed that the population in Massachusetts grew by 38,903 people to 6.9 million between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018. The 0.6 percent growth rate equaled the population growth in the country, and ranked Massachusetts 22nd among all other states and first in New England. Galvin said that while the state continues to lose residents to other states, those loses are more than offset by international immigration. "These numbers show how important it is that we ensure every person in Massachusetts is counted in the 2020 Census, whether or not they are United States citizens," Galvin said. After the 2010 Census, Massachusetts lost one seat in Congress. Galvin said the state should be able to avoid a repeat of that with an accurate population count. "The population numbers make it clear that Massachusetts should retain all of our congressional representation, as long as we have a fair and accurate count," Galvin said.  "I will continue to pursue all legal options to prevent the current administration from inserting questions about citizenship status into the 2020 Census, in their effort to shortchange states like ours by dissuading our immigrant population from being counted." The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Nevada and Idaho were the fastest growing states at 2.1 percent, while nine states lost population, including New York, Illinois, West Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Mississippi, Alaska, Connecticut, and Wyoming. In New England, New Hampshire grew at a 0.5 percent clip, followed by Maine and Vermont at 0.3 percent and Rhode Island at 0.1 percent. Connecticut lost 1,215 people, essentially stagnant from the previous year. - Matt Murphy/SHNS

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito sketched out their major inaugural plans on Wednesday. Baker and Polito will be sworn in at noon on Thursday, Jan. 3 in the House chamber, with an inaugural celebration set for 7:30 p.m. that night at the Museum of Science. On Friday, Jan. 4, the inaugural celebrations will move to Springfield, where a 3 p.m. event is planned at the Student Prince Cafe and Fort Restaurant, and Worcester, where a 7 p.m. celebration is scheduled at Union Station. On the eve of their second inaugural, Baker and Polito will attend an inaugural interfaith ceremony at 5 p.m. p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Morningstar Baptist Church in Mattapan. The Baker-Polito 2019 Inaugural Committee on Wednesday launched where the public can register to attend the celebrations. Additional inaugural events will be announced in the coming days. - Michael P. Norton/SHNS

Attorneys from Bridgewater and Ludlow were tapped Wednesday for District Court judgeships. Gov. Charlie Baker nominated William Rooney, a partner at the firm Chartier, Ogan & Brady in Holyoke and Ludlow, to fill a vacancy in eastern Hampshire County, and David Sorrenti, a partner at Brockton's Sorrenti & Delano, for a circuit seat on the bench. Sorrenti was an assistant district attorney in Plymouth County before entering private practice in 1990. In 1991, Gov. William Weld appointed him public administrator for Plymouth County, a post he held for four years. He also served from 1993 to 1995 as a member of the special judicial nominating committee for the Juvenile Court. Rooney began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Hampden County. He is a member of the Ludlow Board of Selectmen and serves on the Hampden County Addiction Task Force. Both nominations are subject to approval from the Governor's Council, which on Wednesday scheduled a confirmation hearing for Rooney at 1 p.m. on Jan. 2. The council also voted unanimously Wednesday to confirm Baker's nomination of attorney William Martin of Hamilton to a seat on the District Court bench. - Katie Lannan/SHNS

Vineyard Wind has taken another big step toward installing the first offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. Company officials said Tuesday that they have filed their Final Environmental Impact Report with the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The FEIR includes refinements to the 800 megawatt generation and transmission project, and there's a Jan. 25 deadline for public comments, with Vineyard Wind expecting a secretary's certificate in February. The project, located in waters 15 miles south of Martha's Vineyard, features subsurface and subsea transmission lines that would feed into a new substation. Its grid connection point would be at an existing substation in Barnstable. Vineyard Wind, jointly owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, was one of three bidders to secure new offshore wind tracts auctioned off last week by the federal government. At a noon press conference in Dennis, Vineyard Wind announced that the Association to Preserve Cape Cod has endorsed the project. APCC director Andrew Gottlieb said in a statement that the organization "realizes that all major projects will have some impact, and Vineyard Wind is no exception. But the impact to the environment and to the human race will be catastrophically more significant if we choose to do nothing. Vineyard Wind is the first major offshore wind project in the United States, and it will be a significant step toward reversing our reliance on fossil fuels." - Michael P. Norton/SHNS


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