... Salem ADA Jean Curran nominated for Haverhill District Court judgeship ...... ISO releases 2017 regional electricity outlook ...... Local government efficiency-regionalization grant winners will be announced by end of February, Polito says ...... Worcester Sen. Chandler, Peru Rep. Mark named Redistricting Committee chairs as 2020 Census approaches ...... Meehan to deliver address March 6 on the state of the University of Massachusetts ...... Mass. opioid deaths hit new high in 2016 ...... Baker files $200 million Chapter 90 road bill, says he wants it passed in 45 days ...... Legalization supporter Sen. Pat Jehlen of Somerville to co-chair Committee on Marijuana ...... Sen. Lewis to co-chair Labor Committee that will weigh $15 an hour minimum wage, non-compete bills ...... Carbon pricing backer Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington named co-chair of Energy Committee ...... Baker's school aid increase is smallest since 1993, Newburyport mayor says ...... Source: House budget will not include increase in broad-based taxes ...... ...... ...
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LATEST ADVANCES - WEEK OF FEB. 26, 2017

On the heels of five months of brief, lightly attended sessions to end 2017, the ostensibly full-time Massachusetts Legislature is completing its seventh consecutive mostly unproductive month. Read More

WEEKLY ROUNDUP - TIME AND PUNISHMENT

After bottling up discussions in a roughly yearlong study, state officials this week uncorked a proposal to slow the criminal justice system's revolving door of recidivism. Read More

Protesters with the I Have A Future/Youth Jobs Coa

Protesters with the I Have A Future/Youth Jobs Coalition wait for Gov. Charlie Baker after an event where he swore in a new Black Advisory Coalition. The group is among those calling for broader criminal justice reforms than those proposed in the Council of State Governments report. [Photo: Katie Lannan/SHNS]


DOR: TAX $$$ UP 7 PERCENT MIDWAY THROUGH FEBRUARY

Lawmakers weighing spending demands against available revenues got another morsel of news this week to inform their decisions. Read More


A LOT OF TALK, BUT NO DECLARED GUV CANDIDATES AT CAMBRIDGE DEM FORUM

The last time a popular Republican governor sought re-election in Massachusetts, Bob Massie was the number two on a Democratic ticket that was crushed in a 71-28 trouncing by Gov. William Weld and the late Lt. Gov. Paul Cellucci. Read More


BAKER TO DC, WALSH TO ATLANTA ON FRIDAY

Gov. Charlie Baker is headed to Washington for meetings with governors, Congressional leaders and the Trump administration while Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is on the move Friday as well, traveling to Atlanta to talk to Democrats about the future of the Democratic Party. Read More


Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017

BLACK ADVISORY COMMISSION FORMED TO ADVISE GOV. BAKER

Gov. Charlie Baker took executive action on Thursday to set up a commission to advise his administration on ways it can extend economic prosperity to black communities across the state at a time when one black lawmaker said minorities are feeling "fear and anxiety" about the future. Read More

Former Neighborhood Health Plan CEO Deborah Enos,

Former Neighborhood Health Plan CEO Deborah Enos, chair of the new Black Advisory Commission, spoke to the press on Thursday before commission members were sworn in by Gov. Charlie Baker. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


VIDEO | SCOUTS TOUT SERVICE WORK, URGED TO REMAIN LEADERS

Boy Scouts from all eight councils around the state descended on the State House Thursday for the first annual Boy Scout Day on the Hill, highlighting their community service work and hearing from state officials who urged them to continue to develop leadership skills. Read More

Boy Scouts waited to post the colors at the Grand

Boy Scouts waited to post the colors at the Grand Staircase during Boy Scout Day on the Hill. [Photo: Colin A. Young/SHNS]


DEMS TO DISCUSS OPPOSITION TO TRUMP TRANSGENDER MOVE

Attorney General Maura Healey, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo will join LGBTQ advocacy groups in a Thursday afternoon press conference to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration's reversal of an education policy affecting transgender students. Read More


GOP APPOINTEES COMPLETE 2017-2018 LEADERSHIP, COMMITTEE ROSTERS

Senate Republicans on Thursday ratified their committee assignments for the 2017-2018 session, finalizing committee rosters for the two-year term. Read More


REPORT EXAMINES FAMILY HOMELESSNESS IN MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts experienced one of the largest increases in family homelessness in the nation since the 2008 fiscal year, according to a new report that found the number of Bay State families receiving emergency housing assistance has more than doubled. Read More


BAKER DISAPPOINTED IN REVERSAL OF OBAMA TRANSGENDER GUIDANCE

Gov. Charlie Baker expressed disappointment with the Trump administration's new transgender policy and Attorney General Maura Healey on Thursday invited President Trump to visit Massachusetts to see what the state's transgender protection laws are "all about." Read More

Skailer Qvistgaard, a transgender man, said he was

Skailer Qvistgaard, a transgender man, said he was "proud to live in a state where transgender students feel affirmed in their school" at a news conference in Attorney General Maura Healey's office on Thursday. [Photo: Andy Metzger/SHNS] | Hi-Res


POT PANEL CHAIRS WILL WEIGH CHANGES AGAINST VOTER PREFERENCES

Its membership is not finalized and no bills have been assigned to it, but the Committee on Marijuana Policy is aiming to hear from people around Massachusetts and produce a bill addressing aspects of the state's new marijuana law by the end of June, committee leaders said Wednesday. Read More

Rep. Mark Cusack and Sen. Pat Jehlen will lead the

Rep. Mark Cusack and Sen. Pat Jehlen will lead the Committee on Marijuana Policy. | Hi-Res


TRUMP REVERSES OBAMA GUIDANCE ON TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

The Trump administration on Wednesday returned transgender education policy to state and local jurisdictions, withdrawing a 2016 Obama administration guidance letter that had demanded schools treat students in accordance with their gender identity as opposed to their sex assigned at birth. Read More


Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017

BAKER NOMINATES DIA COUNSEL FOR INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENTS JUDGESHIP

A former legislative aide who became a personal injury lawyer and now works at the Department of Industrial Accidents has been nominated for an administrative judgeship by Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More


CITING REVENUES AND MASSHEALTH, ROSENBERG NON-COMMITTAL ON SALES TAX HOLIDAY

After lawmakers last year opted against granting the two-day sales tax holiday that had become an August tradition, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Wednesday offered a non-committal message for businesses and shoppers waiting to see what this summer will bring: "Stay tuned." Read More


TRUMP SEES "MID TO EARLY MARCH" TIMELINE FOR HEALTH CARE PLAN

President Donald Trump plans to deliver a health care plan in March, he told reporters Wednesday. Read More


NOMINEE FOR PITTSFIELD JUDGESHIP COASTS IN COUNCIL INTERVIEW

An Adams attorney whose passion for sports morphed into an interest in law and his rural community received a favorable reception from the eight-member panel that vets Gov. Charlie Baker's judicial nominees on Wednesday. "I really think you're an ideal district court nominee," Jennie Caissie, an Oxford Republican and member of the Governor's Council, told Mark Pasquariello, who was nominated for a judgeship on the Pittsfield District Court. Read More

Mark Pasquariello, who was nominated for a judgesh

Mark Pasquariello, who was nominated for a judgeship on the Pittsfield District Court, listened as Berkshire County First Assistant Attorney Paul Caccaviello (right) praised his work ethic and temperament before the Governor's Council on Wednesday. [Photo: Andy Metzger/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SEARCH PANEL RECOMMENDS THREE FINALISTS FOR UMASS-DARTMOUTH CHANCELLOR

A search committee on Wednesday recommended three finalists to become the next chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, tapping a Worcester college president along with officials from universities in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Read More

Robert Johnson, James Lentini, Philip Way [Photos

Robert Johnson, James Lentini, Philip Way [Photos courtesy of UMass]


ROSENBERG EXPLAINS ADDITION OF EXTRA WHIP POST

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg on Wednesday defended his addition of a new post in his leadership team and the Legislature's decision to boost its members' pay. Read More


MBTA IDENTIFIES THREE QUALIFIED GREEN LINE CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

If the Green Line Extension is built, it will likely be constructed by one of three outfits identified Tuesday by the MBTA. The MBTA announced a short list of "three highly-qualified teams" to complete the roughly $2.3 billion trolley extension project, which would add light rail service from Cambridge to Somerville and Medford. Read More


BAKER URGED TO LEAD ON ANTI-CARBON COMPACT CHANGES

As governors from Maine to Maryland consider the future of a regional carbon cap-and-trade program, Gov. Charlie Baker is facing calls from over 130 state lawmakers, academics and business leaders to lead the effort to double the emission reduction goals through 2030. Read More


SINGLE-PAYER BACKERS TOUT SAVINGS AS ACA DEBATE LOOMS

With President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans pledging to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act, some backers of single-payer health care are holding up their preferred system as an alternative. Read More


EFFICIENCY-ORIENTED REORG PLAN SPARKS CONCERNS AMONG BUILDING INSPECTORS

Baker administration officials pitched their plan to eliminate the Department of Public Safety and create a new office to take over some of its functions as a step towards a leaner state government that could more efficiently serve the public, but building inspectors said they have "grave concerns" the reorganization would not make the state any safer. Read More


VIDEO | COUNCIL APPROVES JUVENILE COURT JUDGE AND DEVANEY APOLOGIZES

For the first time in two weeks, members of the Governor's Council did not descend into a shouting match as they confirmed Michaela Stewart for a judgeship on the Boston Juvenile Court. Councilor Marilyn Devaney, a Watertown Democrat and participant in the prior weeks' rancor, apologized to her fellow councilors and pledged she would take a different approach in the future. Read More

DEVANEY

DEVANEY | Video


ORTIZ TO DISCUSS PRESS FREEDOM AND WAR AGAINST TERROR

The area's former top federal prosecutor, Carmen Ortiz, is scheduled to sit on a panel Thursday night that will delve into issue around press freedom and the war on terrorism. Read More


SALEM STATE SEARCHING FOR "HIGH ENERGY" LEADER

Trustees Teresa Chisholm and Robert Lutts are leading a search committee that hopes to put in place a new president of Salem State University by the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. Read More


BIZ OFFICIALS URGE BAKER TO LEAD ON IMMIGRATION ISSUES

Business and tech industry leaders and civil liberties advocates are calling on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to lead efforts to make sure Massachusetts remains a safe place for immigrants and refugees. Read More


SALEM PROSECUTOR NOMINATED FOR HAVERHILL COURT

A career prosecutor was tapped Wednesday by Gov. Charlie Baker for a Haverhill District Court judgeship. Read More


Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

WOLF DIPPING BACK INTO POLITICS WITH 2018 RUN ON THE TABLE

Cape Air CEO Dan Wolf, the former Democratic senator from Harwich who opted against seeking a fourth term in November, wants to re-engage in state Democratic politics ahead of the 2018 election and has not ruled out entering the race for governor. Read More


COALITION SEEKING STRICTER RGGI CARBON CAP

A coalition of lawmakers, academics and energy companies will deliver a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday urging the governor to work with other northeast and mid-Atlantic states to double the annual rate of reduction in carbon emissions across the region. Read More


COLLEGE STUDENTS RALLY AROUND CAMPAIGN TO POWER CAMPUSES WITH RENEWABLES

College students are aiming to lead an effort to move Massachusetts toward using all renewable energy by pushing their schools to transition their operations to renewable power. As part of a national campaign launched last week, 5,500 students in Massachusetts have joined a MASSPIRG effort to persuade colleges and universities to pull 100 percent of their energy consumption from renewable sources like wind and solar. Read More


HEALEY

HEALEY TRIES TO PUT MURMURS OF GUBERNATORIAL RUN TO REST

Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday attempted to squash persistent chatter that she may run for governor in 2018, telling a radio audience that the role of attorney general has never been more important. Read More


VIDEO | JUSTICE REFORM BILL WOULD GIVE PRISONERS ROUTE TO SHORTER SENTENCES

Prisoners would have greater opportunities for early release, even if they received a mandatory minimum sentence, under legislation resulting from the cooperation between all three branches of government on criminal justice reform. Read More


VANDALIZATION OF SHAW MEMORIAL UNDER INVESTIGATION

Conservators are scheduled to inspect the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial across from the State House on Tuesday after a passerby on Tuesday morning discovered the memorial had been vandalized. Read More

Col. Robert Gould Shaw's sword was missing Tuesday

Col. Robert Gould Shaw's sword was missing Tuesday morning from the memorial that faces the State House. [Photo: Colin A. Young/SHNS] | Hi-Res


CONGRESSMEN VOW PERSISTANCE AND RESISTANCE TO TRUMP AGENDA ON IMMIGRATION

A Sudanese mother who adopted five orphans from her war-torn country and a veteran of Boston's busing crisis stood alongside U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and Congressman Joe Kennedy III on Tuesday as they pledged to confront the president's immigration agenda and other Trump administration actions. Read More

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy talks to a young girl in

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy talks to a young girl in Spanish in downtown Boston after a rally against President Trump's immigration agenda. [Photo: Matt Murphy/SHNS]


TWO PLEAD GUILTY IN STATE'S FIRST CONVICTION UNDER FENTANYL LAW

In the first conviction under the state's new fentanyl trafficking law, two Lawrence men pleaded guilty on Friday to running a trafficking ring out of a home in that city, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday. Read More


GONZALEZ

GONZALEZ TO HOST FIRST BOSTON FUNDRAISER NEXT TUESDAY

Democrat Jay Gonzalez launched his campaign for governor three weeks ago, and next Tuesday he will host his first Boston fundraiser at a Downtown Crossing restaurant as he works to build a campaign that might be able to compete in 2018 against Gov. Charlie Baker. Read More


MEEHAN TO DETAIL THE STATE OF UMASS

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan plans to deliver a "state of the university" address on March 6 to recap achievements and share his vision for the system's future. Read More


POWERBALL JACKPOT GROWS TO $403 MILLION

The Powerball jackpot has gone unclaimed for more than two months, and Massachusetts Lottery officials on Tuesday reminded potential players that the prize has grown to $403 million, with a cash option on the top prize estimated at $243.9 million for Wednesday's drawing. Read More


GAS PRICES DOWN SLIGHTLY AS AAA WARNS OF WINTER REPAIR COSTS

Gas prices ticked down this week, the seventh consecutive week without an increase -- dropping one cent to an average of $2.18 for a gallon of self-serve, regular unleaded gasoline -- but drivers may end up spending the money they save at the pump on post-winter vehicle repairs, AAA reported Monday. Read More


BEATON SEES STATE PERMITTING ROLE IN CONTROVERSIAL WEYMOUTH GAS PROJECT

As pressure mounts on Gov. Charlie Baker to speak out against a planned natural gas compressor station in Weymouth, the town's mayor hopes to torpedo the project through a state permitting process. Activists opposed to new fossil fuel infrastructure who fear gaseous pollutants seeping from the proposed station and the potential for a disaster have sought to enlist Baker in their cause to no avail. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service