... Amendments to transgender bill due by Monday at 5 p.m. ...... Senate Ways and Means Committee plans to release its fiscal 2017 budget on May 17 ...... Senate budget will be released the day before ConCon takes up millionaire's tax ...... Senate advances resolve creating commission to explore new Middlesex jail/criminal justice complex ...... Drug price transparency bill extended by Health Care Financing until June 1 ...... Senate passes agriculture bill 36-1, adds ban on plastic bags at farmers markets ...... Bill on health services at assisted living extended until Aug. 1, after formal sessions end ...... Municipal lobbyist regulation bill extended until June 10 ...... House advances state building code, tobacco premium ratings bills ...... DA sees financial expoitation of elders as growing problem in Bristol County ...... Beaton set to testify at Senate hearing on clean energy, pipeline project ...... Cheung challenges Sen. Jehlen to release campaign donorsmonthly ...... Baker: Mass. should join 46 other state and join federal water protection program ...... Senate chair peeved as Tennessee Gas declines invite to testify on pipeline project ...... Cape Wind appeals denial of transmission permit extension ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m.

LATEST AFTER HIGH-PROFILE PUSH, FAKE FIREARMS BILL SADDLED WITH STUDY ORDER

When House Speaker Robert DeLeo met with reporters after his party's caucus on Jan. 27, he had Reps. Dan Cullinane and Harold Naughton in tow to discuss a bill the House planned to pass that afternoon. Filed by Cullinane, the bill would require a high-visibility orange stripe on imitation firearms sold in Massachusetts. Naughton's Public Safety Committee had held a hearing on the bill, made a few tweaks to it and gave it a favorable report. Read More

Thursday, May 5, 2016

HUGHES [File Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

GOP TO CONCEDE MOST LEGISLATIVE RACES, EYES GAINS IN TARGETED DISTRICTS

The state's political history being what it is, the Massachusetts Republican Party hopes to make modest electoral gains at the state level this year, favoring a targeted strategy rather than casting the kind of wide net that has blown up in its face before. Read More


MASS. SENATE ADDS PLASTIC BAG BAN TO AGRICULTURE BILL

Massachusetts shoppers would be able to buy craft beers and spirits at farmers markets -- but not take those bottles or any other purchases home in a plastic bag -- under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate. An omnibus bill (S 2171) that passed the Senate on a 36-1 vote takes a variety of steps aimed at promoting agriculture in the state. Read More


SENATE BUDGET TO BE RELEASED MAY 17

The Senate Ways and Means Committee will release its version of the fiscal 2017 budget on May 17, according to the committee's chairwoman Sen. Karen Spilka, who said the Senate is “proceeding with caution” on spending given the sluggish tax collections through April. Read More


LAWMAKERS IN GLX CORRIDOR ANGERED BY CANCELED MEETING

Frustrated at the decision of state transportation officials to cancel a Thursday meeting in Medford on a trolley extension project that may be scrapped over cost concerns, a group of lawmakers accused the MBTA of "disregarding" the people who would be affected by the transit project. Read More


ENVIRO GROUP FLAGS "DIRTY DOZEN" AHEAD OF ELECTIONS

Six Republican House members made the Environmental League of Massachusetts's first “dirty dozen” list for votes dating back as far as 2014 against legislation and budget amendments that the group viewed as critical to restoring funding for environmental agencies. Read More


FORMER KERRY AIDE JOINS WEBER SHANDWICK

Drew O’Brien, who was state director to Sen. John Kerry for nearly a decade and then worked with Kerry in the US Secretary of State’s office, was named Wednesday as executive vice president of global partnerships at Weber Shandwick, where he will be based in Boston. Read More


RARE FRIDAY HEARING TO FOCUS ON FUNDING FORMULA FOR SCHOOLS

Legislation to change the way the state funds local school districts will get a hearing before the Joint Committee on Education Friday. Read More


CITIES PLAN TO DELIVER $75 MIL WITH HOPES OF ADVANCING GREEN LINE PROJECT

Officials from Somerville and Cambridge said Thursday they expect to contribute a total of $75 million, part of an "unprecedented arrangement," to help complete a scaled-down Green Line Extension project. Read More


SJC TO RULE ON ELIGIBILITY OF COMMON CORE BALLOT QUESTION

With oral arguments completed this week and briefs filed, parties in a Supreme Judicial Court case over an initiative petition to rescind the Common Core educational standards in Massachusetts are now waiting for a decision they hope to have in early July. Read More


SENATE PASSES BILL TO KEEP SIBLINGS TOGETHER IN FOSTER CARE

The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday made quick work of a bill that would require the state court system and the Department of Children and Families to keep siblings removed from their parents' custody together in foster care. Read More


STATE EYES FORMAL PROCESS TO EXPLORE NEW MIDDLESEX JAIL/JUSTICE CENTER

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and the State House delegation representing Billerica, where the county jail is housed, have pushed for the state to find a new jail site in the more urban, southern part of the county, and they cleared a hurdle on Beacon Hill last week. Read More


RATTLESNAKE HEARING SET FOR NEXT WEEK IN ATHOL

Lawmakers from around the Quabbin Reservoir asked the Baker administration to hold off on its plans for establishing a habitat for an endangered rattlesnake until after a hearing next week in Athol. Read More


SHERIFF CANDIDATE TAKES ANGER AT VERIZON OUT ON HIS PHONE

When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Read More

[Photo: The Albano Committee]

[Photo: The Albano Committee]


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

APRIL TAX PLUNGE CREATES BUDGET BIND, BAKER DOES NOT PLAN CUTS

Despite sluggish tax collections for the state's largest revenue month appearing to put the state's budget in a squeeze, Gov. Charlie Baker has no plans to impose another round of emergency cuts to keep the state's budget in balance with only two months until the end of the year, officials said Wednesday. Read More


DEAF, BLIND ENCOUNTER HIGHER BARRIERS TO ADDICTION TREATMENT

Marie Hoffmeister said she has been searching for weeks for a detox unit or substance abuse treatment facility that will help her overcome addiction and become sober. But there's been one major roadblock in her attempts to seek help: Hoffmeister is deafblind. Read More

Activists gather on Boston Common near the State H

Activists gather on Boston Common near the State House to kick off an effort to raise awareness about the need for American Sign Language access and resources for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing individuals. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SPECTRA CITES PIPELINE PROGRESS, SAYS PARTNERS "GIVE US THE ADVANTAGE"

The Houston-based company planning a major natural gas pipeline project in Massachusetts reported Wednesday that project officials are making progress and have executed contracts with electric distribution companies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for more than half of the project's design capacity. Read More


COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERS SET TO TAKE STAGE IN COLLEGE-RICH MASSACHUSETTS

Gov. Charlie Baker is slated to deliver six commencement speeches this year, according to communications from various universities, including an address at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., where his son is graduating. Read More


YOUNG ADULT MEN TARGETED WITH ADS FOR SEAT BELT USE

State highway officials on Wednesday announced the launch of a campaign aimed at encouraging seat belt use in a population among the least likely to buckle up: men between the ages of 18 to 34. Read More


OBAMA ADMIN SEEKS $$$ REALLOCATION TO ADDRESS GROWING AIRPORT LINES

Reacting to an increase in air travelers and longer wait times at airport screening checkpoints, the nation's top security official is calling on Congress to reallocate fiscal 2016 funds to pay for transportation security officer overtime and meet "critical short-term needs." Read More


CANADIAN OFFICIAL PREDICTS "EXCELLENT COMPETITION" FOR HYDROPOWER

The Canadian consul general in Boston on Wednesday said a competitive solicitation in Massachusetts for hydropower from north of the border could yield a bidding war to export electricity to New England, helping to keep costs low. Read More


VIDEO | BAKER, MASS. REPUBLICANS BEGIN ADJUSTING TO TRUMP THE NOMINEE

As Gov. Charlie Baker added trout to a Boston pond Wednesday, his party's presidential field cleared out of the way for a candidate the governor said he would not support. Read More

After helping stock trout at Jamaica Pond on Wedne

After helping stock trout at Jamaica Pond on Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker reiterated to reporters that although Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has essentially locked down his party's nomination, he will not vote for him. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Video


APRIL REVENUE PLUNGE LEAVES STATE IN BUDGET BIND

With the Baker administration counting on a revenue influx to balance this year's budget, state officials reported Wednesday that tax collections in April, usually a big month for receipts, fell by 3 percent compared to April 2015. Read More


MANDATED REPORTER EXPANSION, TRAINING PITCHED TO CURB CHILD ABUSE

With an eye toward protecting children from abuse, officials at two separate State House events Wednesday pitched updates to the state's mandated reporter system – a new training program for reporters and a legislative proposal that would add more personnel to their ranks. Read More


EMERGENCY PROGRAM TO KEEP CORE FUNCTIONS RUNNING EXPANDING STATEWIDE

A private-sector emergency credentialing program already in place in Boston is expanding statewide as Massachusetts becomes the first state to implement the Corporate Emergency Access System, state officials announced Wednesday. Read More


BAKER WON'T VOTE FOR TRUMP, DOUBTS HE'LL VOTE FOR CLINTON IN "TROUBLING" ELECTION

After tossing trout into Jamaica Pond on Wednesday, Gov. Charlie Baker heaved aside his earlier notion that the Republican presidential nomination has not yet been decided. The expected showdown between the likely Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton means the governor will not vote for the Republican presidential candidate for the first time in his memory. Read More


LAWMAKERS URGED TO FOLLOW FED LEAD ON PUBLIC TRANSIT TAX INCENTIVE

Transportation advocates on Tuesday pressed lawmakers to adopt a change in state law to make the tax benefits available to workers who drive to work and those who take public transportation more equitable. The groups testified before the Committee on Revenue in support of a bill (S 2217) filed by Sen. John Keenan to adjust the way federal code on pre-tax commuter benefits is incorporated into state law. Read More

(L to R)Richard Fries, executive director of MassB

(L to R)Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike; Jeff Bennett, program manager for Charles River Transportation Management; Melissa Zampitella, director of transportation at ABC TMA and Mass Commute; Charlie Ticotsky, policy director for Transportation for MA; and Randy Johnson, senior vice president for Edenred Commuter Benefits Solutions testified Tuesday in support of a bill that would expand commuter benefits. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Hi-Res


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SOUTHCOAST HEALTH IN $2 BILLION MERGER DEAL WITH RHODE ISLAND COMPANY

SouthCoast Health and Care New England last November announced plans to study a partnership and on Tuesday the non-profit hospital and health care systems announced their boards have voted to move forward with a $2 billion affiliation featuring eight hospitals and more than 15,000 employees. Read More


DELEO [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

DeLEO "NOT AT ALL" CONCERNED OVER HYDRO IMPORT COST UNCERTAINTY

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Tuesday he is "not at all" concerned by a business brief that found the importation of hydroelectricity would have somewhat unclear impacts on electricity costs. The report from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce found hydropower has "strengths" in the area of energy reliability and environmental impact while its effects on costs are "less clear." Read More


MICHIGAN EYES RETIRED MASSACHUSETTS EDUCATION STANDARDS

If the effort to repeal the Common Core State Standards and restore the educational standards in place before the 2010 adoption of Common Core is successful, Massachusetts may not be the only state using the pre-2010 Bay State standards. In Michigan, a state Senate committee has advanced a bill that would require the state to drop the Common Core standards and replace them with the education standards used in Massachusetts up until 2010. Read More


VIDEO | PIPELINE OPPONENTS VOW TO STAY ACTIVE ON PROTEST, POLICY FRONTS

The fight against natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts has not subsided in the wake of Kinder Morgan's suspension of work on its controversial $3.3 billion Northeast Energy Direct project. Read More

A pro-pipeline advertising truck drove by the Stat

A pro-pipeline advertising truck drove by the State House Tuesday while anti-pipeline activists chanted on the sidewalk. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Photo Gallery


CHALLENGES ON GREEN LINE STRETCH BEYOND EXTENSION PROJECT

Well into its second century of existence, the Green Line has a number of challenges, MBTA officials said Monday, some surmountable with modern technology and others more thorny. Read More


MARCH FORECLOSURE START NUMBERS SHOW SIGNS OF 'PLATEAU'

After 24 straight months of at least double-digit percentage increases in the number of foreclosures initiated by lenders, Massachusetts foreclosure starts in March were up just 6.4 percent over the same month in 2015, according to a report released Tuesday by the Warren Group. Read More


ENERGY CHIEF FLAGS NEED FOR MORE NATURAL GAS CAPACITY

In the wake of the suspension of Kinder Morgan's major natural gas pipeline project in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the Baker administration's energy chief on Tuesday stressed that "incremental" increased natural gas capacity continues to be a necessary component of its plan to meet demand and control cost in an environmentally friendly way. Read More

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton appeared before the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change and delivered a presentation on the Baker administration's energy proposals. [Photo: Antonio Caban/SHNS] | Hi-Res


"GOOD GUYS" ADDRESS PAY EQUITY AT WOMEN'S CAUCUS EVENT

As powerful men in government, law and business basked in the glow of recognition as "good guys" from their female counterparts Tuesday, a few took the opportunity to boost legislation aimed at improving the state's pay equity law. Read More


BOSTON'S TAXABLE VALUE UP 45 PERCENT SINCE 2012

The value of property subject to assessment for tax reasons in the City of Boston rose 15.6 percent from fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2016 and the city's taxable value has increased by 45 percent since 2012, according to a report released Tuesday. Read More


BILL WOULD GIVE SPECIAL ELECTION CANDIDATES A SECOND SHOT AT SAME DONORS

Candidates in special legislative elections this year will be limited in their fundraising options should they then decide to run again in the fall unless the Legislature steps in and passes a new law. Read More


SUPER PAC DUMPS $$$ INTO SENATE RACE TO SUPPORT GOP'S O'CONNOR

A week before a special Senate election on the South Shore, Republican Patrick O'Connor has received an infusion of outside support from a GOP-aligned super PAC, adding to O'Connor's already sizable fundraising and spending advantage over his Democratic rival. Read More


WHILE STILL CONFIDENT, MASS. EMPLOYERS SEEING MIXED SIGNALS

Employers in Massachusetts appear to possess a "wait-and-see attitude" about the economy, with mixed economic signals fueling the ambivalence, according to Associated Industries of Massachusetts. The AIM business confidence index dipped 0.3 points to 56.2 in April, the business group said, putting business confidence levels about three points lower than their mark from one year ago. Read More


STATE PANEL TAKES STEP TOWARD NEW MODEL FOR HEALTH CARE DELIVERY

Groups that participated in the drafting process for new state criteria regulating accountable care organizations are eyeing the standards as a small but significant step in transforming the health care system in Massachusetts. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service