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Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Danielle Gregoire embraced outside the Senate Chamber early Thursday morning after the Legislature enacted a version of their bill to ban flavored nicotine products. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - Not In Massachusetts

Maybe not the Watch and Ward Society, but Beacon Hill lawmakers were determined to put a modern twist on what's "banned in Boston" this week as their session spiraled toward half-time and their self-professed collegiality was being put to the test.

Advances - Week of Nov. 24, 2019

Gov. Charlie Baker hasn't raised any major objections and supporters of distracted driving (H 4203), education funding (S 2412), and flavored tobacco ban (H 4196) bills are waiting for his final verdict on those three bills and hoping for his signature this holiday-shortened, heavy travel week.

House Session Summary - Friday, Nov. 22, 2019

A day after its last formal session for the year wrapped up after midnight, the House gavelled back in for an extended informal session with the wait on for a fiscal 2019 close-out budget that House and Senate leaders could not deliver before the mid-session recess.

The SHNS Podcast

Department of Public Health Deputy General Counsel Lynn Squillace (left) and Bureau of Community Health and Prevention Policy Director Benjamin Kingston (right) heard testimony Friday from dozens of speakers about the Baker administration's temporary ban on sales of all vaping products. [Photo: Chris Lisinski/SHNS]

Vape Users, Businesses Rip Baker's Sales Ban

Opponents of the Baker administration's temporary ban on all vaping products came out in force Friday to slam the emergency regulation in the only public hearing scheduled on its impact.

Secretary William Galvin: "I don't think I got any political benefit." [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019]

Info Book, Voting Signs Benefited Galvin Politically, Ethics Says

Secretary of State William Galvin benefited politically during his re-election campaign from the voter information booklets and early voting signs his office distributed last year, according to the State Ethics Commission, whose members found "reasonable cause to believe" the Brighton Democrat violated the conflict of interest law.

House Keeps Session Open Awaiting Budget News

The House is holding open a rare Friday session just in case there's "movement" with the overdue fiscal supplemental budget, according to a member of Speaker Robert DeLeo's leadership team.

Who's On the Move? Look Inside the Personnel File

... The Baker administration has hired a familiar face as its newest legislative director ... the attorney general hired a point person for veterans' affairs ... a Baker administration communications aide is leaping from housing and economic development to HHS ... Rep. Kennedy has three new members on his political team as he looks to unseat Sen. Markey ... a Massachusetts Teachers Association staffer is jumping over to Melwood Global ... Here's the latest Personnel File ...

Major Bills on His Desk Cover High-Priority Issues, Baker Says

A ban on flavored tobacco and tax on e-cigarettes, a $1.5 billion public education funding overhaul, and a new attempt to crack down on distracted driving all landed on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk as lawmakers wrapped up their formal business of the year. His immediate response to all three proposals: no major objections but he wants to read the bills.

Warren, Markey Ask FERC to Reconsider Compressor Permits

Members of the state's congressional delegation ramped up their calls in recent days for federal regulators to intervene and reconsider approval for a controversial natural gas project planned for Weymouth.

Trump Campaign Taps Bristol Sheriff as Honorary Chair

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who has been one of President Donald Trump's most high-profile supporters in Massachusetts, particularly on immigration, was announced Thursday by the Trump campaign as the honorary chairman of the president's Massachusetts re-election effort.

New Coalition Launched to Support Working Family Caregivers

Unpaid family caregivers in Massachusetts are the focus of a new coalition that launched Wednesday in Boston with the release of a state-of-care report and toolkit highlighting research and best practices to support working family caregivers.

Baker: Lawmakers Have 'Work to Do' on Bag Ban

A ban on single-use plastic bags the Senate approved Wednesday night appeared to earn a cool reception from Gov. Charlie Baker, who pointed to his preference for local control and a procedural dispute between the two branches.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019

The Senate gaveled in and out of an informal session Thursday just 10 hours after adjourning its marathon final formal session of 2019.

Anbaric Files Application for Offshore Transmission Network

The company that is turning the site of a former coal-burning power plant in Somerset into a green energy center has filed a federal application to develop a single transmission network that could deliver power from offshore wind farms to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Uncaptioned image for story:Massachusetts Poised to Lead States With Flavored Tobacco Ban

Massachusetts Poised to Lead States With Flavored Tobacco Ban

The sale of all flavored vaping and tobacco products, including mint and menthol, would be banned in Massachusetts, and e-cigarettes would be newly taxed, under a bill the House and Senate sent Gov. Charlie Baker early Thursday morning in an last-minute burst of lawmaking activity.

Education, Flavor Ban, Hands-Free Bills Sent to Baker

Massachusetts lawmakers wrapped up work Wednesday on bills calling for long-term K-12 education investments, requiring motorists to use only hands-free technology while driving, and banning flavored tobacco products.

House Session Summary - Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019

In a session that extended almost 14 hours, the House took its final votes on a $1.5 billion school finance overhaul, a ban on handheld cellphone use while driving, children's health legislation and a campaign finance reform bill. Lawmakers in the House and Senate did not wrap up their work on the overdue fiscal 2019 closeout budget, despite some signs of progress during the day including the appointment of a conference committee.

Senate Session Summary - Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019

After roughly five hours of debate, the Senate approved a ban Wednesday night on flavored tobacco products that includes menthol and imposes a 75 percent excise tax on e-cigarettes. Senators then agreed with the House as the calendar turned to Thursday on a compromise version so it could go to Gov. Charlie Baker. The branches could not agree, however, on a spending bill closing the books on the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Mass. Senate Votes to Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

The Massachusetts Senate approved a statewide ban on retail businesses offering single-use plastic bags, but the bill advanced Wednesday night with more dissent than usual from the Democratic ranks due to the way the bill surfaced.

Kirsten Hughes, who gave up her chairmanship of the state Republican Party in January, was interviewed by the Governor's Council on Wednesday for a lifetime position as clerk magistrate of Stoughton District Court. [Photo: Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Clerk Magistrate Nominee Hughes Appears Before Council

Former MassGOP chair and Quincy City Councilor Kirsten Hughes fielded questions Wednesday from the Governor's Council as they initiated her clerk magistrate nomination process.