... Baker files $350 million spending bill ...... MassDOT releases New England transportation maps ...... State board to consider update next week on subsidized child care caseload ...... Ortiz: former wireless exec arrested, charged with allegedly selling confidential financial info ...... Criminal justice summit planned for March 16 ...... Goldberg: one in 10 Mass. residents owed money based on latest unclaimed property list ...... SRB officials say former Public Safety Secretary Cabral qualifies for Group 4 pension ...... House Democrats plan 2 p.m. caucus Thursday ...... House Dems to be assigned to leadership, committee posts on Thursday ...... As snow emergencies subside, Baker piecing together first budget bill ...... Birmingham joins Pioneer as senior education fellow ...... Goldwater Institute cites "equal protection" clause in suing OCPF ...... YWCA using tax-exempt bonds for new Swansea branch ...... Senators plan oversight hearing Thursday on MBTA ...... Markey, Warren call on HHS to release $34 mil in home heating funds ...... ABCD chief: Baker cut to Head Start "makes no sense" ...... MBTA mulls refunds in wake of substandard service ...... Mass. home sales down in January, inventory key to spring season ...... Jones names Hill to succeed Peterson as assistant House minority leader ...... Poirier, Gifford round out new House leadership team ...
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House:
ADJOURNED Thursday 'til Monday at 11 a.m.
Senate:
ADJOURNED Thursday 'til Monday at 11 a.m.

BAKER PICK TO LEAD MBTA REVIEW RESIGNS

Former Boston Redevelopment Authority chief Paul Barrett will no longer lead Gov. Charlie Baker's examination into the MBTA. The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Barrett resigned Friday after the paper questioned him about $200,000 in unpaid federal income taxes. Barrett told the paper he regretted disclosing to Baker his tax payment difficulties stemming from a failed Cape Cod real estate deal and the purchase of a $1.8 million Cohasset home, but reportedly said "almost all of these matters were settled a while ago." Read More


Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

ADVANCES - WEEK OF MARCH 1, 2015

Between staffing up his administration, organizing working groups to tackle problems, and holding snow emergency press conferences, Gov. Charlie Baker has put nearly two months of experience in the Corner Office under his belt without putting to paper his vision of the future of state government. That run comes to an end on Wednesday when Baker files his first annual budget proposal, providing ample fodder for both his supporters and potential critics to chime in on his approach. Read More


WEEKLY ROUNDUP - HONDA OR HYUNDAI?

The market for knowing who's in, who's out, who's got capital and how they're going to spend it heated up like Beacon Hill's very own Oscars party this week as lobbyists rushed to update their speed dial settings and determine where to send the checks. And then there was the little parlor game of figuring how Gov. Charlie Baker will manage a potential $1.5 billion structural deficit in next year's budget, as estimated by the new regime at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Read More


NOAA URGES MARINERS TO AVOID RIGHT WHALES OFF NANTUCKET

Federal regulators have asked vessel operators to avoid an area southwest of Nantucket to protect 10 right whales recently sighted there. A "dynamic management area" (DMA) is in effect immediately and mariners should avoid the area or travel through it at a speed of 10 knots or less, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Friday afternoon. Read More


BAKER FILES $350 MILLION SPENDING BILL

Two weeks after announcing he signed legislation to close a $768 million budget gap that he said was the result of overspending, Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday quietly sent lawmakers a proposed $350 million spending plan to cover snow and ice costs, the Department of Children and Families, and the state commission overseeing public employee health insurance. The fiscal 2015 spending bill provides $44.2 million for an emergency assistance program providing shelter for homeless families, $35 million for the Department of Children and Families, $50 million for snow and ice removal, $190 million for the Group Insurance Commission, $34.7 million for private counsel compensation for the Committee on Public Counsel Services, and $2.2 million for the municipal anti-crime grant program known as the "Safe and Successful Youth Initiative." Read More


BID TO REVIVE EAST BOSTON RACING NEEDS LEGISLATIVE OKAY

Live horse racing could return to Suffolk Downs later this year after the track ownership and the horsemen's association on Friday announced a two-year deal to lease the East Boston track to the horsemen. Read More


Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

SANCHEZ NETS HEALTH CARE POST, GOLDEN WILL LEAD HOUSE ON ENERGY

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, grappling with significant turnover in the House ranks over the past two years, tapped new leaders on Thursday to helm key committees this session with buzz building around labor issues, energy reform and Gov. Charlie Baker's promise to push for an overhaul of the state's Medicaid program. Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, a Jamaica Plain Democrat who last session co-chaired the Joint Committee on Public Health, will take over as House chair on the Health Care Financing Committee. Read More


BAKER SUB-CABINET WILL EXAMINE WORKFORCE TRAINING

Three top deputies to Gov. Charlie Baker were charged Thursday with overseeing an effort to better align the state's education and workforce training systems with the needs of employers. Highlighting the stubborn skills gap as a continued impediment to economic growth, Baker signed an executive order formally establishing a "Workforce Skills Cabinet" chaired by Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ron Walker. Walker will work with Education Secretary Jim Peyser and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash over the coming months to develop a plan to address the disconnect between available jobs and skilled workers by the summer, according to the governor. Read More


APOLOGETIC KEOLIS SETS MARCH 30 GOAL FOR FULL RAIL SERVICE

Its customers hampered by prolonged train delays and cancellations that began during the recent wave of snowstorms, the company that runs the Massachusetts commuter rail system said Thursday it will operate at full service by March 30. Keolis International CEO Bernard Tabary announced that under a plan approved by Gov. Charlie Baker, the commuter rail system, which feeds into suburbs south, west and north of Boston, will be operating at 78 percent passenger capacity by Friday. Read More


BOARD: FORMER CABINET CHIEF QUALIFIES FOR GROUP 4 PENSION

Former Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral qualifies for a retirement benefit classification typically designated for frontline police officers and firefighters that critics say will unfairly boost her pension, state officials said Thursday. State Retirement Board officials said there is no question Cabral's previous service as Suffolk County sheriff, an elected position, and as an assistant district attorney qualifies her in the Group 4 pension category, under state law. Read More


REP: BUDGET ENVIRONMENT WILL MAKE HIGHER ED INVESTMENTS TOUGH

Hoping to encourage more funding to help move students through higher education, a lawmaker who specializes in that subject acknowledged Wednesday that investment legislation he filed is more "aspirational" than "realistic" since it's carrying a big price-tag and the state is in the midst of budget cutting. Rep. Tom Sannicandro, who has been House chairman of the Higher Education Committee and may be reappointed to that post, said higher education is "well worth the money" but it is a "challenge" to generate public support for funding it. Read More


BOARD: CABRAL QUALIFIES FOR LARGER GROUP 4 PENSION

[Story Developing] Former Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral qualifies for a retirement benefit classification typically designated for frontline police officers and firefighters, state officials said Thursday. Read More


DePAOLA: T POST WILL BE TEMPORARY

Incoming interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola waved off any interest in holding that post permanently Thursday. Read More


MASS. HOUSE COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS - NEWS, NOTES & OBSERVATIONS

House Speaker Robert DeLeo doled out leadership and committee assignments to House members on Thursday, and there were winners and losers since unlike the Senate there are more House Democrats than available leadership and chairmanship posts. Some House Democrats are newly in charge of high-profile committees or assigned to posts that carry additional pay, while others missed out on desired assignments or had to settle for vice chairmanships or rank-and-file committee postings with few additional perks. Read More


SHNS LIST | 2015-2016 LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AND COMMITTEE POSTS

Assignments from the 2015-2016 legislative session are complete with House Speaker Robert DeLeo's announcement of appointments after a Democratic caucus Thursday. The News Service compiled assignments submitted by DeLeo and those previously made by Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and House Minority Leader Brad Jones. The following is a list of top assignments for the 2015-2016 session. Read More


STATE TRANSPO CHIEF AVOIDS MBTA IN FAVOR OF DRIVING

In a candid admission that reflects on the state of commuter rail system, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said Thursday she no longer relies on trains to get to important morning meetings, opting to drive into Boston instead because the system has become unreliable. "The truth is that I am a life-long MBTA user and if I have an early morning meeting with the governor, I will not take the commuter rail to get to that meeting anymore and that really troubles me," Pollack, who lives in Newton, told reporters after discussing the MBTA's status with lawmakers. "And I know I am making the exact same decision as a lot of other people are making, and I want to get back to the place where I and everyone else who wants to can wake up in the morning and go get on T and know they are going to get where they need to go on time." Read More


BAKER EXPLAINS CONNECTOR BOARD SHAKEUP

Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday his removal of four members of the state Health Connector board was part of the administration's desire to fix the insurance exchange. Baker told reporters his administration reached out to the four members, told them that they would ask them to step down and "they were all gracious enough to agree to do that." Read More


MASS. HOUSE DEMOCRATS ASSIGNED TO LEADERSHIP, COMMITTEE POSTS

Nearly two months into the two-year session, House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Thursday released his leadership and committee assignments. The full list is here: http://statehousenews.com/content/docs/2015/02-26-2015_Committees.pdf Read More

Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing, Elder Aff

Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing, Elder Affairs Chairwoman Denise Garlick and Floor Division Chairwoman Ellen Story left a Democratic caucus Thursday, ballot in hand, after leadership and committee assignments were made. [Photo:Andy Metzger/SHNS] | Hi-Res


BAKER OPEN TO PUBLIC TRANSIT REFUNDS

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday expressed openness towards refunding MBTA passenger fares as the public transit system struggles to recover from a battery of snowstorms and their effect on aging equipment. MBTA officials have said they are mulling the idea, and a final recommendation will be brought to the agency's board at their next meeting on March 11. MBTA staffers are expected to review options for fare reimbursements at a finance committee meeting on March 3. Read More


BAKER: KEOLIS MANAGEMENT CHANGE A "GOOD THING"

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday applauded changes in leadership at the private company struggling to restore services on the Massachusetts commuter rail system and said he plans to meet later in the day with officials from the company. Baker said he hopes to receive a plan from Keolis Commuter Services describing how the company intends to fully restore services along the rail system and return to a 95 percent on-time performance rate. Read More


PEYSER AMBIVALENT ON COMMON CORE, BACKS LONGER SCHOOL YEAR

Gov. Charlie Baker's education chief is "withholding judgment" on the multi-state set of standards known as "Common Core" and backs a longer school year. Read More


DeLEO APPOINTMENTS MEAN BILL-VETTING MAY BEGIN

[Story Developing] Massachusetts lawmakers met a mid-January bill-filing deadline for the 2015-2016 session and the completion of committee staffing on Thursday means those panels may begin formally reviewing those bills. Read More


Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

DePAOLA TO TAKE OVER AT MBTA NEXT WEEK

Frank DePaola has worn many hats during his public sector service in Massachusetts and he's about to try on a new one thanks to a secret vote that went down Tuesday night. Without gathering for a meeting, the seven-member Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board voted unanimously to name DePaola as interim manager of the MBTA, the Baker administration announced. Read More


BAKER FIRES FOUR PATRICK APPOINTEES TO CONNECTOR BOARD

Four members of the Health Connector board, including controversial M.I.T. professor Jonathan Gruber, were essentially fired on Wednesday after Gov. Charlie Baker asked for and received their resignations. Read More


CAPE WIND CHIEF CALLS STATE ENERGY LEGISLATION "PROMISING"

An effort is underway to create a coalition to help promote off-shore wind power and energy legislation on Beacon Hill, the president of a stalled wind farm development in Nantucket Sound said Wednesday. Jim Gordon, president of Cape Wind, pointed to the "robust" solar industry coming together despite "very disparate" interests, speaking to lawmakers, lobbying, and "telling their story." Read More


COUNCILORS PLAN SESSIONS WITH JUDICIAL BRANCH LEADERS

Members of the Governor's Council plan to hold public informational sessions in the coming weeks with judges and other representatives of the judicial branch. Councilor Christopher Iannella said Wednesday the eight-member panel has invited several chief justices as well as the chair of the Parole Board to appear for informational sessions, and a chance to "get to know them." Read More


VIDEO | BAKER TARGETING MASSHEALTH TO TAME GAP ESTIMATED AT $1.5 BIL

As Gov. Charlie Baker drafts plans to draw major savings out of the state's $13.7 billion MassHealth insurance program, state budget analysts say the new governor and Legislature must close a $1.5 billion gap between projected revenues and spending. This year's $36.5 billion state budget has so far relied on one-time revenues and midyear spending cuts to balance out, and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates a shortfall of $1.5 billion in fiscal 2016, which begins July 1, in order to cover growing fixed costs and to maintain existing government services. Read More


LAWMAKERS ECHO FRUSTRATION OF COMMUTER RAIL RIDERS

Lawmakers whose constituents west of Boston rely on the commuter rail are expressing their "utter frustration" with the railway service. In a strongly worded letter sent to MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott on Monday, the legislators demanded that the company that operates the trains quickly restore service along the Framingham-Worcester line. Read More


MASS. IN THREE-STATE APPROACH ON ENERGY

Massachusetts will partner with Connecticut and Rhode Island to explore new clean energy resources and natural gas capacity options to address the region's high energy costs and demands. Read More


UMASS PREZ SEARCH PANEL MEETS FRIDAY

Hoping to have a new president installed by July, the University of Massachusetts's presidential search committee will meet for the first time at 10 a.m. on Friday in Boston. The meeting is open to the public. Earlier this month, the UMass board tapped UMass-Lowell graduate and MFS Investment Management Chairman Robert Manning to lead the search. UMass President Robert Caret plans to start his new job as chancellor of the University of Maryland system on July 1, four years after he came to Massachusetts from Towson University, also in Maryland. Read More


BAKER PREPPING MEASURES AS RIVAL STATES EYE TECH JOBS

Gov. Charlie Baker warned the state's high-tech executives on Wednesday that their edge in the national economy is under attack from other states, hinting that he will put forward ideas soon to help ensure a strong supply of workforce talent to keep their businesses growing. Baker returned to Massachusetts this week after spending the weekend in Washington D.C. at the National Governors Association winter meeting where he dined at the White House on Sunday night at a table with President Barack Obama, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Read More


LAWMAKERS CAST ABOUT FOR SOLUTIONS TO MBTA WOES

Lawmakers from both parties and from disparate districts agree on the need to fix the MBTA but no consensus has emerged on the best route to right the troubled transit agency and officials for now are agreeing on the utility of first assessing the situation. Following an MBTA Caucus meeting with the transportation funding advocates Tuesday, several Democrats said there is a clear need for additional revenues for the MBTA. Gas and tobacco taxes were raised in 2013, though voters subsequently repealed a section of the law that would have automatically indexed gas tax increases to inflation. Read More


POLITO: FEDS SHOULD CONSIDER CUMULATIVE IMPACT OF SNOWSTORMS

Hoping to boost federal disaster relief funds, the Baker administration is pushing to have the federal government recognize the barrage of snowstorms over the past month as a single event. Gov. Charlie Baker spoke with federal officials about disaster relief during a recent visit to Washington D.C. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Wednesday the quick succession of storms left little time for recovery, and told the Governor's Council the storms were "very debilitating" and should be considered as one, although she said "it might be a long-shot." Read More


DeLEO: DORCHESTER REP IS A "RISING STAR"

Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday heaped praise on Rep. Evandro Carvalho, who is starting his first full two-year term, calling the Dorchester Democrat a "rising star." "He's going to be a rising star in this building," DeLeo told college students gathered for a financial aid event. DeLeo said Carvalho is "very bright" and has "a great story to tell." Read More


POLITO, COUNCIL OFF TO WARM AND FUZZY START

Lieutenant governors and members of the Governor's Council have endured often rocky relations over the years, jousting frequently about everything from the qualifications of judicial nominees to scheduling conflicts, perceived slights and parliamentary maneuvers. During a brief and inconsequential meeting on Wednesday, there appeared an attempt to put that history behind as Gov. Charlie Baker slowly ramps up his judicial nominating machine. Read More


NEW BEDFORD MAYOR WANTS TO HOST OLYMPIC SAILING

Seeking the world stage that would accompany an international sporting event, the mayor of New Bedford announced Wednesday the city wants to hold sailing events for the 2024 summer Olympics, which Boston is seeking to host. "We are confident that New Bedford will strengthen Boston's bid for the Olympic games," Mayor Jon Mitchell said during a televised press conference. Read More


BAKER TO ADDRESS TECH LEADERS

Gov. Charlie Baker will offer the keynote on Wednesday morning at the Massachusetts High Technology Council's annual meeting, addressing a large and influential group of business leaders whose support Beacon Hill leaders have worked hard to cultivate as the economic growth in the state shifts increasingly toward the high-tech sector. Read More


MASS TAXPAYERS: $1.5B GAP IN FY 2016 BUDGET

[Developing] Following a budget year that relied on one-time revenues, such as a tax amnesty program, a state building lease and tax money ordinarily earmarked for reserves, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation estimates a $1.5 billion budget gap in fiscal year 2016. Read More


Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

MASS. LOTTERY DOWNGRADES PROFIT FORECAST

Expectations of Lottery profits earmarked for local aid to Massachusetts cities and towns have been reduced by $35 million for the remainder of this year and next year due to budget cuts made by Gov. Charlie Baker and the Legislature to close a mid-year shortfall. Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Lottery Executive Director Beth Bresnahan briefed the Lottery Commission Tuesday on the impacts of the $1.7 million cut made in February to the Lottery's $97 million budget. Read More


EPA SALUTES EMC'S CLEAN AIR APPROACH

As some U.S. companies balk at government mandates in the energy policy arena, one Massachusetts company was basking Tuesday in the light of federal recognition of efforts to address climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Hopkinton-based IT giant EMC Corp. with honors for excellence in greenhouse gas (GHG) management, citing company's GHG reduction goal of 40 percent between 2010 and 2020 for global operations. Read More


"GET ANGRY" ABOUT METCO CUT, ADVOCATE SAYS

A proponent of the voluntary program aimed at increasing diversity and giving students school choice options called on her fellow advocates Tuesday to "get angry" about cuts in state funding. The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), a grant program funded by the state, allows students in Boston and Springfield to attend public schools in communities that have agreed to participate in the program. Read More


ROONEY: BCEC EXPANSION TALK SLATED FOR AFTER BUDGET RELEASE

The Baker administration plans to consider the roughly $1 billion Boston Convention and Exhibition Center expansion project after the governor files his annual budget bill, according to a top official who has pushed the project. Read More


RNC'S AHERN TO RUN BAKER D.C. OFFICE

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday named an official from the Republican National Committee to head up his Washington, D.C. office, tapping a veteran political operative who has worked for both U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and the U.S. Department of Education. Read More


GROUP SAYS HEAD START CUT WILL HURT LOW-INCOME CHILDREN

An anti-poverty agency on Tuesday lashed out at a spending cut ordered by Gov. Charlie Baker, saying the $1 million reduction in Head Start grants will lead to the elimination of five early education classrooms for low-income families. Read More


SENATOR DISAPPOINTED IN ALL-MALE SUPERINTENDENT POOL

As Boston Mayor Marty Walsh moves closer to having a new superintendent of schools, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz said she was disappointed that the pool of finalists does not include a woman. Read More


PIONEER SNAGS BIRMINGHAM AS EDUCATION FELLOW

Former Senate President Thomas Birmingham, a force behind the state's last major education reform effort more than 20 years ago, has joined the staff of a conservative-leaning think tank and could soon be lending his voice again to the state's education policy debates. Birmingham, 65, will become the Pioneer Institute's senior fellow in education, joining a staff that already includes 2010 auditor race runner-up Mary Connaughton, a Republican, and former Inspector General Greg Sullivan, who served in the Legislature as a Democrat. Read More


MAYOR RELEASES REVISED OLYMPIC AGREEMENT

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Tuesday released a revised version of an agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee, saying it can no longer be construed to bar city employees from disparaging the city's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Read More


BREAKFAST IN THE CLASSROOM DEBATED BY ED BOARD

Public schools students in low-performing districts could see breakfast in the classroom become a required part of a school's turnaround plan, under a proposal before the state Board of Education. Read More


CHESTER DEFENDS CHARTER SCHOOL VETTING PROCESS

Moments before the Massachusetts Board of Education voted to approve two new charter schools in Springfield and Salem, Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester lashed back at critics who questioned his handling of charter applications in other cities that did not receive approval. "I am taking everybody to task who has taken me to task," Chester said during a board meeting Tuesday. Read More


NEW COMMISSIONER PLANS TO MINE DATABASES TO IMPROVE PUBLIC HEALTH

After more than a decade working to improve the health of homeless individuals, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel said she plans in her new post to make better use of data, seek more integrated services for vulnerable populations and review medical marijuana licensing without pausing the ongoing process. "Massachusetts is one of the healthiest states in the country, but there's still health disparities," Bharel said in an interview Tuesday. She said Bay Staters are lucky to have such high quality health care and she would like to find ways for front-line workers dealing with vulnerable populations to work in a more coordinated fashion. Read More


ED COMMISSIONER: RECEIVERSHIP STILL AN OPTION FOR HOLYOKE SCHOOLS

Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester is not ready to recommend that the Holyoke Public Schools be put into receivership, but he has not ruled it out either. Low performance among Holyoke students is "persistent and pervasive," Chester told members of the Massachusetts Board of Education during a meeting Tuesday. "These kids are being robbed of a future with the way things are going right now," the commissioner said. Read More


AGENCIES TO DELIVER $12 MIL TO IMPROVE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH

Behavioral health services to MassHealth enrollees, especially children and adolescents, will be improved and payments rates enhanced under a $12 million agreement announced Tuesday by state officials. Read More


TRANSPO ADVOCATES TO BRIEF MBTA CAUCUS

Lawmakers will be briefed by advocates for greater investments in public transportation during a closed-press meeting Tuesday afternoon at the State House. Read More


SELF-SERVICE TERMINALS ON LOTTERY AGENDA

The Massachusetts Lottery Commission on Tuesday is set to vote on changes to its Lucky for Life game regulations and a contract amendment with GTECH Corporation of Rhode Island relative to the purchase of "self service player activated terminals." Read More


ANALYST: INVENTORY KEY TO MASS. HOME SALES THIS SPRING

Home sales in Massachusetts dropped in January to their lowest levels since February 2014, but one analyst sees pent-up demand leading to a busier spring if inventory levels are sufficient. Read More


BAKER BACKS RE-AUTHORIZATION OF FEDERAL EX-IM BANK

Gov. Charlie Baker has signed onto a letter calling on Capitol Hill leaders to reauthorize the official U.S. export credit agency. The charter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, also referred to as the "Ex-Im Bank," expires on June 30, 2015. Read More


Monday, Feb. 23, 2015

BAKER SAYS OBAMA WANTS TO BE HELPFUL ON SNOW

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday evening said his team was still working its way through the federal disaster relief process to secure funds for snow removal, but while in Washington over the weekend he was able to grab the ear of the president. Read More


GROUP SUING OCPF OVER UNION CONTRIBUTIONS

An Arizona-based conservative group plans to sue the Bay State's campaign finance agency on behalf of two local businesses, arguing that Massachusetts has banned businesses from making political donations while allowing unions to contribute up to $15,000. The lawsuit against the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance will be filed on Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court by the Goldwater Institute and says "businesses and unions are functionally equivalent organizations." The institute is named after the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, who unsuccessfully ran as the Republican nominee for president in 1964. Read More


MID-FEBRUARY TAX COLLECTIONS UP $101 MILLION

Gov. Deval Patrick in November and Gov. Charlie Baker in early February unilaterally cut into spending authorizations to help rebalance the $36.5 billion fiscal 2015 state budget. Now there are some signs that state tax collections are outpacing estimates. Read More


McDONOUGH FACES PENSION FRAUD CHARGES

A former lobbyist serving time for his role in the corruption scandal that led to the conviction of former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi has been indicted for alleged pension fraud. Read More


MED MARIJUANA DISPENSARY OPENING DATES STILL UNCERTAIN

Gov. Charlie Baker said last week that the "shame" about the state's medical marijuana law is that its implementation is more than a year behind schedule. Read More


PATRICK TO SPEAK AT HARVARD COMMENCEMENT

Former Gov. Deval Patrick will speak at Harvard University's commencement on May 28, the university said Monday. Read More


GROUPS TO MEASURE IMPACT OF SNOW ON MASS. BIZ

Aiming to measure the economic blow that accompanied weeks of accumulating snow and cold, Bay State business groups are collaborating on a survey to measure lost sales and wages, said Massachusetts Retailers Association President Jon Hurst. Read More


REP: HOUSE DEMS MAY GET ASSIGNMENTS ON THURSDAY

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who is expected to keep his senior leadership command intact, could announce leadership appointments and committee assignments on Thursday when Democrats are due to caucus for the first time in two weeks. The assignments, if doled out by DeLeo as expected, would finally sound a starting gun on the new session, allowing committees to organize and begin to schedule hearings on the thousands of bills filed by members for consideration over the next two years. Read More


MASS. GAS PRICES UP 17 CENTS OVER PAST MONTH

Gas prices in Massachusetts have risen 17 cents per gallon over the past month but are still $1.21 per gallon lower than this time a year ago. AAA of Southern New England reported Monday that regular unleaded was averaging $2.25 per gallon in its latest weekly survey, up 4 cents a gallon from a week ago. AAA found gas selling for as low as $1.90 and as high as $2.35 per gallon. Read More


BAKER ELECTED VICE CHAIR OF N.E. GOVERNORS' GROUP

While meeting in Washington, D.C. over the weekend with governors from around the country, Gov. Charlie Baker was elected vice chairman for the Coalition of Northeast Governors. The freshman governor will work alongside second-term Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, the chair of the northeast governors group. Read More


REPORT FINDS MASS. DRIVERS TAKING RISKS ON THE ROAD

Massachusetts drivers are more likely to have sped on a highway recently or blown through a red traffic light than their peers around the country on average, according to a new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report. Bay Staters, however, are also more tolerant of bad driving behavior than those in many other states, and tend to offer contradictory thoughts on how others should behave behind the wheel compared to their own driving tendencies. Read More


MBTA REVIEWING OPTIONS TO REIMBURSE RIDERS

With MBTA subway service largely restored over the weekend, General Manager Beverly Scott on Monday said her staff will be reviewing options to potentially reimburse public transit riders for fares paid during the recent spate of substandard performance. Scott said a final recommendation will be brought to the MBTA board of directors at their next meeting on March 11. Read More


COST CONCERNS AT CENTER OF DEBATE OVER RARE DISEASE TREATMENT

As drug companies pioneer new methods of treating an array of diseases, some lawmakers want to limit the out-of-pocket cost to health plan members purchasing medications while others worry that tack would cause costs to soar. Ilene Sussman, executive director of the VHL Alliance, which advocates for people with Von Hippel Landau, a genetic condition that involves "the abnormal growth of blood vessels," said co-payments can run upwards of $1,000 per month. Read More

John Duff joined his daughter Megan Duff to talk a

John Duff joined his daughter Megan Duff to talk about the rare medical condition she has. | Hi-Res


WEIGHT OF SNOW STRESSING ROOFS, BUILDINGS

It isn't just the MBTA reeling under the weight of an exceptionally snowy period in Massachusetts history. Since Feb. 9 the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has received 147 reports of building collapses and structural failures, with 23 reports in the past day alone. MEMA has released a map showing where the building collapse reports originated from. Read More


PETRUCCELLI STAYING NEUTRAL IN EAST BOSTON SPECIAL

Sen. Anthony Petruccelli said he will stay out of the special election raging in his backyard. Read More


TONG BRIEFS MASS. LAWMAKERS ON TRANS-PACIFIC TRADE DEAL

About 120,000 Bay State jobs are directly related to exports, where shipments totaled $26.8 billion in 2013, according to U.S. officials seeking to free up trade with 11 other countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Confident that a deal is near that would facilitate trade among 12 countries across the Pacific, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Tong recently briefed Massachusetts officials about the outlines of the negotiations. Read More


DeLEO: MBTA NEEDS MORE WORK THAN WE THOUGHT

Count House Speaker Robert DeLeo among those who are questioning plans for new services and projects at the troubled MBTA. WBZ-TV on Sunday aired the remainder of an interview with DeLeo about the MBTA's dismal performance in the face of record-setting snow levels and prolonged cold temperatures, an interview that ironically was pre-empted by Feb. 15 storm coverage. Read More



 
 
State House News Service