... Senate bill includes $114 million in MassHealth savings for fiscal 2020, Spilka estimates ...... "Rising health care costs are crowding out our shared priorities" - Sen. Spilka ...... Several of Baker's ideas, price variation commission recommendations in Senate bill, Rosenberg says ...... The goal on health care is to "get a significant bill to the governor's desk," Rosenberg says ...... Access, quality, cost, outcomes guided Senate's formulation of health care bill, Rosenberg says ...... Welch: Senate health care bill based on "common sense" and "realistic expectations" ...... Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee nominations accepted through Nov. 27 ...... Senate working group to hold Oct. 23 public hearing on draft health care legislation ...... House votes 151-3 to attach restrictions on gun discharge rates to supplemental budget bill ...... Haverhill's Vargas, North Adams' Barrett survive Dem primaries in race for open House seats ...... As tax reform heats up, Neal is Boston Chamber's guest on Oct. 27 ...
Latest Headlines:
House:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (informal)
Senate:
ADJOURNED 'til Thursday at 11 a.m. (w/ calendar)

LATEST CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL TOWER EXPANSION SURVIVES LAWSUIT FROM GARDEN SUPPORTERS

Nearly a year after a major expansion project at Boston Children's Hospital won state approval, a Superior Court judge has rejected a legal challenge that sought to overturn that decision and stop the construction. Read More

FROM OTTERS TO PIERS, BEATON PEPPERED WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT LOCAL PROJECTS

When Cabinet secretaries sit before a legislative committee for an oversight hearing, it is usually a time for lawmakers to question the administration on policy, implementation of programs and how taxpayer money is being spent broadly across the state. But it can also be a good chance for legislators to check in on pet projects. Read More


BEATON

BEATON APPEALS TO LAWMAKERS TO PASS WATER PROGRAM BILL

An oversight hearing intended to dig into the capital needs and spending of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs took a detour Wednesday as lawmakers and a Cabinet secretary debated the merits of a bill that got a hearing last week. Read More


VIDEO | SENATE PLANNING OCT. 26 CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEBATE

A big criminal justice package is heading to the Senate floor next week, and it will "roughly" resemble the sweeping changes that moved out of the Judiciary Committee last month, according to Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka. Read More


MURDER VICTIM MEMORIAL OUTGROWS CAPACITY OF VOLUNTEER GROUP

Each year, new names are added to the Garden of Peace on Beacon Hill, commemorating a new group of homicide victims. Stones in the memorial garden -- arranged to represent a dry streambed, devoid of life-giving water -- now bear the names and dates of birth and death for 1,000 people with Massachusetts ties. Read More

Thirteen years after the Garden of Peace opened as

Thirteen years after the Garden of Peace opened as a homicide memorial, it now bears 1,000 stones engraved with names of victims. As the memorial continues to grow, the volunteers that oversee it are asking the state to take over, saying they worry they can't sustain it. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


SANDERS TO STUMP IN SOMERVILLE FOR LOCAL CANDIDATES

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit Somerville on Monday to stump for candidates running for municipal office. Read More


UNIONS IRKED BY BAKER'S POSITION IN UNSETTLED CONTRACT TALKS

Animosity has begun to brew between Gov. Charlie Baker's administration and public employee unions negotiating new contracts with the state who believe the governor's team has been low-balling the workers with salary offers that fail to keep up with rising health care costs and increased demands. Read More


KERRIGAN

KERRIGAN PLANS TO JOIN CROWDED THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE

The Democratic primary for an open Congressional seat in the Third District will get a new entrant on Wednesday when Steve Kerrigan, a former Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama aide, plans to announce his candidacy. Read More


MTF: VETO OVERRIDES LIKELY TO FORCE REOPENING OF BUDGET

Beacon Hill officials frequently tout their hands-on budget management as a strength, but a new report casts doubt on the state's approach as Gov. Charlie Baker and the Legislature struggle to tie up loose ends on a fiscal year that ended nearly three months ago. Read More


REPS SEIZE ON WEINSTEIN SCANDAL TO PUSH SEXUAL ASSAULT BILLS

The co-chairs of a legislative working group on sexual assault are hoping the attention being drawn to harassment of women in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal will inspire their colleagues to pass two bills addressing sexual assault on college campuses. Read More


JUDGES CONFIRMED TO DISTRICT COURT, ACCIDENTS BOARD

Two new judges were confirmed to their posts Wednesday, including one who will join the Framingham District Court bench and one who will preside over disputed workers' compensation claims. Read More


BAKER MAKES PICKS FOR PITTSFIELD, SPRINGFIELD COURTS

Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday nominated two attorneys for seats on the District Court bench in western Massachusetts. Read More


REP TELLS SENATORS HE LIKES THEIR BUMP STOCK PLAN

A bill to close out the fiscal 2017 books has been jammed amid disagreement between the branches over how to ban rapid-fire devices for guns, and when senators held a hearing on the issue Wednesday only one person testified - a House member who prefers the Senate's approach. Read More

Republican Rep. Donald Berthiaume told the group o

Republican Rep. Donald Berthiaume told the group of Democratic senators that he prefers the Senate's amendment language to ban bump stocks. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


FEENEY

UNIONS HELP FEENEY FEND OFF GOP PUSH, HOLD DEM SENATE SEAT

Democrats held a state Senate seat south of Boston in a close three-way special election Tuesday night and sent the state director for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign to Beacon Hill in the process. Read More


AFTER INTERVIEWS, CANNABIS PANEL PLANS TO EXTEND JOB OFFER THURSDAY

The chief medical marijuana regulator from Rhode Island, the head of a Massachusetts child advocacy organization and the Treasury's point person on pot paraded in front of the Cannabis Control Commission on Tuesday afternoon, each for an hourlong interview for the job of executive director. Read More

BIRENBAUM / BRADLEY / COLLINS

BIRENBAUM / BRADLEY / COLLINS


Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017

FOXBOROUGH'S FEENEY WINS SENATE SPECIAL ELECTION

Democrats on Tuesday night were celebrating Paul Feeney's win in a special Senate election that will keep a Bristol and Norfolk county seat in the control of the majority party. Read More


L'ITALIEN

L'ITALIEN WANTS KOH TO RETURN $$ FROM HBS PAL KUSHNER

Sen. Barbara L'Italien, who is exploring a run for Congress in 2018, called on Democrat Dan Koh on Tuesday to return a $2,700 donation from New York venture capitalist Joshua Kushner because of the investor's relation to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Read More


MASSPORT COMMITS TO EAST BOSTON IMPROVEMENTS, WALSH ANNOUNCES

In a pre-election announcement that showcases the power of incumbency, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh on Tuesday announced a series of financial commitments to East Boston ranging from work to improve Piers Park to operational funding for a new senior center and a study to mitigate traffic congestion. Read More


LAWMAKERS URGED TO CEASE USE OF LIVE PATIENTS IN DENTAL EXAMS

It is about the last thing anyone wants to hear after a dental student has spent time working on a tooth. "What did you do?" the dental examiners demanded, crowding around the ailing patient and the dental student who had botched an attempt at a filling. Read More


FIRST REFUSAL BILL PITCHED AS WAY TO EMPOWER TENANTS

Rep. Denise Provost lives on a leafy street in Somerville, where real estate is booming, and she regularly receives offers in the mail from investors hoping to buy her home. Read More

Rep. Denise Provost filed a bill to give tenants t

Rep. Denise Provost filed a bill to give tenants the right of first refusal if their multifamily building goes up for sale. [Photo: Sam Doran/File/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BREED DISCRIMINATION UNFAIRLY DRIVING UP HOMEOWNER'S RATES, LAWMAKERS TOLD

State law in Massachusetts bans municipalities from passing breed-based dog ordinances and now lawmakers are hearing a push to ban insurers from refusing to issue a policy, canceling a policy or charging an increased premium based upon a homeowner's ownership of any specific breed of dog. Read More


MASS. BIOPHARMA JOBS, INVESTMENTS ROSE SUBSTANTIALLY IN 2016

While growing spending on prescription drugs is a target of state and federal policymakers, employment and investment levels in the biopharmaceutical sector in Massachusetts continue to increase, according to a new report. Read More


CANNABIS COMMISSION PLANS TOUR OF REGULATIONS

The Cannabis Control Commission is planning to tour its draft regulations establishing rules for the marijuana industry around the state in January and its chairman said Tuesday he expects the commission's work to be boring until then. Read More


REPORT: BIOPHARMA ADDED 3,000 MASS. JOBS IN 2016

[Story Developing] Employment and investment in the biopharmaceutical sector in Massachusetts continues to grow, according to a new report. Read More


LESSER

SENATOR URGES WEST MASS. TO TAKE TRANSPO STORIES TO BOSTON

Sen. Eric Lesser's bid to get an official state study the prospect of linking Boston and Springfield with high-speed rail service will get a hearing before the Transportation Committee next week. Read More


TRANSPO OFFICIALS LEARNING FROM BUMPY ROLLOUT OF INSPECTIONS TECHNOLOGY

The RMV should have done a better job preparing those stations for the change, Registrar Erin Deveney said Monday, informing the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors that "there are still outstanding issues that we are working to resolve." Read More


KOH

KOH'S CASH POURED IN FROM SOURCES OUTSIDE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

When a candidate for Congress raises over $800,000 in his first month of campaigning, it gets rivals' attention. But when that same candidate later discloses that 95 percent of contributions came from outside the district, it also raises questions. Read More


FRUSTRATED HOUSE BUDGET CHIEF ANNOYED BY SENATE'S TACTICS

Ahead of major policy debates over criminal justice and health care reform, tensions between the House and Senate are already threatening to boil over in connection with a seemingly non-controversial budget bill that has stalled due to a procedural hiccup. Read More


VIDEO | REFORM BILL WILL LEAD TO MAJOR HEALTH CARE SAVINGS, SENATORS SAY

New oversight for pharmaceutical companies, the creation of a MassHealth "buy-in" program and a target for hospital reimbursement rates are among the reforms and cost-control efforts contained in a wide-ranging bill a group of Senate Democrats rolled out Tuesday. Senators who discussed some provisions in the bill in a press conference estimated it could eventually save hundreds of millions of dollars and said they hoped the bill could serve as a national model, pointing back to the 2006 state health care access law that mandated insurance coverage. Read More

A group of Democratic senators, including Senate P

A group of Democratic senators, including Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Sens. Karen Spilka, James Welch, and Jason Lewis, introduced their health care cost control bill at a press conference Tuesday. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


VIDEO | VICTIMS FACE UNIQUE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE HURDLES, ACTIVISTS SAY

From languages and religious stigma to poverty, a lack of transportation or fear of being deported, advocates on Tuesday outlined a host of obstacles women can face when seeking to escape domestic violence and the ways those issues can be compounded for immigrants, people with disabilities and other groups. Read More


POT COMMISSION ASSEMBLING BUDGET BASED ON 40-PERSON STAFF

The growing state marijuana regulatory agency needs more money before the Legislature breaks for the holidays in four weeks, but doesn't yet know just how much it needs to ask for. Read More


SENATORS UNVEIL FAR-REACHING HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION

[Story Developing] Expanded licensing for dental therapists, nurse practitioners and optometrists, permission for MassHealth to offer a Medicaid buy-in program, and new limited network insurance products are among the many policy proposals state senators are promoting in one of the biggest health care reform bills to hit Beacon Hill in years. Read More

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said the "major

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said the "major thrusts" of the Senate cost containment bill "were to try to guarantee access, maintain or improve quality, bring down cost, and maintain or improve outcomes." [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


HOUSE SESSION – TUESDAY, OCT. 17, 2017

There was no movement in the House Tuesday on budget bills passed last week in the House and Senate concerning final spending for fiscal 2017 and including contrasting approaches toward banning bump stocks for firearms. Sen. Michael Moore's office said Monday it expects the budget bills to be referred to a conference committee. The House met for just six minutes in a somewhat rare Tuesday informal session, after having met on Monday as well. The House on Tuesday gave initial approval to a bill orginally filed by Rep. Edward Coppinger and reworked by the Revenue Committee relative to property tax exemptions for fuel cell systems capable of producing up to 125 percent of the annual energy consumed by the property on which it is located. The House has no formal sessions scheduled this week, and will gather again on Thursday for another informal session. The House has held four formal sessions since late July. Read More


MARKEY

MARKEY, SENATE DEMS DIG IN AGAINST GOP ARCTIC DRILLING PUSH

Seven U.S. Senate Democrats, including Sen. Edward Markey, plan to call Tuesday for Republicans to remove language from a budget resolution allowing for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Read More


Monday, Oct. 16, 2017

"INTERMEDIATE PLAN" MAY BE NEXT ON WASHINGTON'S HEALTH CARE MERRY-GO-ROUND

Gov. Charlie Baker and the state's all-Democrat Congressional delegation have spent much of 2017 fending off Republican health care proposals, but President Donald Trump said Monday that more are coming. Read More


AMGEN, CHILDREN'S PROJECT WILL EXPLORE NEW APPROACHES TO PAIN

Amgen and Boston Children's Hospital are entering a one-year pact to collaborate on finding new genes and drug targets based on human genetic analyses. Read More


MBTA BUS MAINTENANCE PRIVATIZATION STALLS OUT, UNION SAYS

The MBTA's turn toward the competitive marketplace for bus maintenance has come up short, according to the union representing the in-house bus mechanics, but the T's manager was mum about the agency's to test the private sector. Read More


MASS. SENDING 10 MORE RECOVERY WORKERS TO PUERTO RICO

A team of emergency management personnel from Massachusetts departs Monday for a two-week deployment to Puerto Rico, where they will assist in hurricane recovery efforts. Read More


MBTA MEETING LIVE-STREAM SHOULD START MONDAY, COUNSEL SAYS

People should be able to watch next week's MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting without making the trip to the meeting room located in Boston's Theater District. Read More


SENATORS UNVEILING FIRST DRAFT OF HEALTH CARE REFORM

The first draft of Beacon Hill health care reform is set to be unveiled Tuesday. Read More


TRUMP: OPIOID EMERGENCY DECLARATION EXPECTED NEXT WEEK

The Trump administration plans to formally declare a national emergency around opioid addiction next week, the president said during a Rose Garden press conference Monday. Read More


MBTA AWARDS CONTRACT TO TEST NEW RAIL CARS

Last week Gov. Charlie Baker toured a nearly completed Springfield site that will become a $95 million, 204,000-square-foot plant for assembling subway cars. The plant owned by CRRC will turn out 152 new Orange Line cars and 252 Red Line cars, completely replacing those two fleets. Read More


SENATE SESSION – MONDAY, OCT. 16, 2017

With plans to debate a health care cost containment bill before the Legislature breaks for the holidays in one month, the Senate on Monday morning established a special committee to pick up where a Senate working group left off and to hold a hearing on such a bill next Monday. As created by a Sen. James Welch order, the special committee consists of Welch, Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, Sens. Karen Spilka, Jason Lewis and John Keenan, and a Republican member to be appointed by Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. The order tasks the special committee with holding a hearing on Monday, Oct. 23. The Senate on Monday also passed bills allowing property owners to group together into community benefit districts to obtain extra services and to establish a sick leave bank for a Department of Correction employee. Read More


TOOHEY / BAKER

BAKER: REP CANDIDATE WILL HELP US "HOLD THE LINE ON TAXES"

Gov. Charlie Baker endorsed Haverhill School Committee member and Republican Shaun Toohey on Monday for the 3rd Essex District House seat that opened up over the summer when longtime Haverhill lawmaker Brian Dempsey resigned to join a downtown Boston lobbying firm. Read More


AGENCY TO FINISH CONTRACEPTION BILL REVIEW BY END OF OCTOBER

The Center for Health Information and Analysis expects to complete its cost analysis of a bill that would guarantee free access to birth control in Massachusetts by the end of October, a spokesman for the agency told the News Service. Read More


LINDSTROM

LINDSTROM TAKES AIM AT WARREN AS SHE LAUNCHES SENATE BID

Presenting herself as someone who can collaborate, innovate and appeal to independent voters, former Massachusetts GOP executive director and state Lottery head Beth Lindstrom formally launched her campaign for U.S. Senate on Saturday. Read More


POVICH

TERROR CELLS, GANGS NOT COVERED BY WIRETAP LAW, GUV'S LAWYER SAYS

The state's wiretap law will turn 50 next year, and top law enforcement officials on Monday pressed lawmakers for an update they said would help it catch up with evolutions in both crime and technology. Read More


SENATORS PLANS WEDNESDAY HEARING ON BUMP STOCKS [+VIDEO]

A week after the House and Senate passed competing amendments aimed at banning bump stocks on firearms, a hearing is planned this week week to gather input from the public and interest groups in an effort to help fashion a compromise. Read More


J.F. WHITE GETS $57 MIL GLOUCESTER BRIDGE CONTRACT

MBTA managers on Monday approved work to replace a structurally deficient railroad drawbridge traversing the Annisquam River in Gloucester. Read More


VIDEO | BAKER: IMMEDIATE CSR PROBLEM WILL GET TAKEN CARE OF "ONE WAY OR ANOTHER"

Gov. Charlie Baker is looking for ways to offset the expected loss of federal subsidies to health insurers through the end of the year, but deferring to Congress for now to put money behind 2018 Affordable Care Act payments that insurers rely on to keep plan costs lower. Read More


VIDEO | SURGEONS REFLECT ON ROLES IN OPIOID CRISIS

For a patient recovering from surgery, an opioid painkiller prescription can be the first step to necessary relief. Surgeons who gathered at the State House Monday said there's a growing focus in their offices and operating rooms on the other paths those prescriptions can lead down, as doctors rethink their procedures in light of the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic. Read More

Allison Bauer, director of the recently renamed Bu

Allison Bauer, director of the recently renamed Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, said surgeons can "actually be on the very front line" of the opioid epidemic. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS] | Hi-Res


NEW SENATE PANEL PLANS OCT. 23 HEARING ON HEALTH CARE DRAFT

The Senate created a committee Monday and charged it with holding a public hearing on a draft health care cost containment legislation next week. Read More


HOUSE SESSION – MONDAY, OCT. 16, 2017

Without agreement between the two branches on a fiscal 2017 deficiency budget bill (H 3951/S 2177), the House on Monday scheduled an informal session for Tuesday morning. House leadership has penciled in a formal session for Wednesday in case a compromise on the fiscal 2017 spending bill is ready for final passage. There are funding differences between the two versions and different approaches towards the common goal of banning bump stocks – an add-on to a semiautomatic rifle that allows it to fire more rapidly. Meeting for about 15 minutes Monday, the House dealt with local matters and also sent back to the governor legislation (H 3823) to establish community benefit districts, areas where property owners agree to pay assessments to pay for local benefits. Gov. Baker previously sent the legislation back, contending that non-profits, houses of worship and government entities that are tax-exempt would be required to pay the assessments. The House and Senate rejected the governor's amendment earlier this month. Read More


KENNEDY

GOP STRUGGLING TO "PICK UP AND PIVOT" ON HEALTH CARE, KENNEDY SAYS

A frustrated Rep. Joseph Kennedy III remains hopeful that bipartisan health care reforms will prevail in the Senate and force debate in the U.S. House, but said over the weekend that he's not optimistic that Republican House leaders are ready to work across the aisle. Read More


Read more in the Monthly Digest


 
 
State House News Service