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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.


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.


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.


The SHNS Podcast

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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.