ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (Informal)
ADJOURNED 'til Monday at 11 a.m. (No Calendar)

Successor T Board Still in Works as FMCB Winds Down

Legislation creating a new MBTA oversight board will not reach Gov. Charlie Baker until at least two days before the existing board expires, but the governor is not sweating the timeline.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, June 24, 2021

Bills adjusting the space standards for egg-laying hens and proposing about $262 million in what Ways and Means Chairman Sen. Michael Rodrigues described as "time-sensitive and critical" spending cleared the Senate on Thursday. The hen welfare bill would change some of the specifics of a 2016 ballot law, and Sen. Jason Lewis said that its provisions are backed by both animal advocates and commercial farms.

Lawmakers Ditch Baker’s $2.8 Billion Plan to Infuse Economy

A plan to sweep about $5 billion in federal relief money into a fund controlled by the Legislature is back on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk Thursday, returned to him by lawmakers who rebuffed his suggestion to spend more than half of the money now and let them determine how to use the rest later.

Baker Raises Campaign Cash at UMass Club in Boston

With speculation swirling around Gov. Charlie Baker's political future, the Republican governor and his lieutenant governor Karyn Polito held a joint fundraiser at the UMass Club on Wednesday, entertaining in-person at the private social club that boasts panoramic views of Boston.

Senate Passes Pension Change In Wake of Worcester Officer’s Death

The Senate unanimously adopted an amendment Thursday to update the law related to pensions for the spouses of police, firefighters and correction officers who die in the line of duty, a change designed to benefit the family of Worcester Police Officer Enmanuel Familia, but not before one senator argued against its inclusion in a budget bill.

Casinos Prevail in Suits Challenging Blackjack Payouts

The Supreme Judicial Court sided Wednesday with Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield in a two-year dispute over whether the casinos have been duping customers by paying out at less favorable odds for blackjack wins.

Regulators Vet MGM Springfield Sale to Real Estate Trust

State gaming regulators began Thursday to comb through a proposed real estate transaction that would boil down to the MGM Springfield land and property being sold to MGM's real estate investment trust and it being leased back to MGM Resorts and its local subsidiary to continue to operate the casino.

House Session Summary - Thursday, June 24

The House finalized its support Thursday for a legislative plan to sweep billions of dollars of American Rescue Plan Act funding into a separate account and decide how to use it later, after public hearings. The House adjourned for the weekend after finalizing the ARPA bill, so the fate of a mid-year spending proposal that cleared the Senate on Thursday -- and its impacts on MBTA governance and mail-in voting -- will not become clear until at least Monday.

Forecasting Egg Crisis, Senate Approves Changes to Voter Law

State senators on Thursday approved a bill tweaking a 2016 ballot law around animal welfare standards, in hopes of staving off what one supporter described as a coming "egg-mageddon." "Put simply, this bill is about happy chickens and happy consumers," Sen. Jason Lewis said as he introduced the bill.

Baker: Running From GOP Won’t Help Solve Problems in Party

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday described his "practical and pragmatic" view of governing as a Republican, defended the results of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home investigation he commissioned, and yearned for the "stale cookies" and "bad coffee" that used to mark his in-person meetings with legislative leaders.

Lack of Rules Complicating State House Reopening, Baker Says

Gov. Charlie Baker has spoken with legislative leaders about how to safely reopen the State House, but says the capitol building brings unique challenges that can't easily be overcome while concerns about the COVID-19 virus still exist.

Baker Seeks Two-Month Sales Tax Holiday

With Massachusetts on track to end the year with a multi-billion dollar surplus, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday proposed a two-month sales tax holiday that would give consumers a break from the state's 6.25 percent sales tax in August and September in an effort to drive shoppers to local businesses.

Lead Law Update Part of Anti-Discrimination Push

In the summer of 2016, Worcester resident Teresa Decker and her then-two-year-old son were living in "horrendous" conditions, featuring rodent and bug infestations, drug trafficking in the building, and squatters.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Standard Getting Close Review

A special commission that since 2019 has been analyzing the state's laws that enable law enforcement to seize property suspected to be involved in a crime is preparing its report and is expected to recommend the Legislature raise the state's burden of proof.

Malden Seeks Next Step For Bilingual Ballots

From creating bilingual videos to posting on the social media platform WeChat, Malden has taken many steps aimed at making elections more accessible to its Chinese-speaking voters, Mayor Gary Christenson said Wednesday as he asked lawmakers to sign off on another measure with the same goal.

Annual Tax Collections Beating Estimate By $3.4 Bil, And Counting

Through mid-June, the Department of Revenue collected nearly 80 percent of the tax revenue it anticipates bringing in during this final month of a remarkable fiscal year that has already exceeded all expectations and appears likely to produce a significant surplus.

Admin Worried About Holdup As House Dems Vote to Stash Fed Aid

The House on Tuesday rejected Gov. Charlie Baker's request to immediately spend $2.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money, choosing to follow through with the plan of Democratic leaders to sweep most of the $5.3 billion the state received into a separate fund as they consider how to deploy the money.

House Session Summary - Tuesday, June 22

The House was unanimous Tuesday in its acceptance of Democratic leadership's revised plan for the state's federal American Rescue Plan Act funds and approval of the annual Chapter 90 road construction bill.

House Lightly Amends, Passes $275 Mil Transpo Bill

The Massachusetts House unanimously approved a $275 million road maintenance and transit investment package on Tuesday as a top lawmaker called for additional action this session to direct more money to the state's transportation needs.

Steamship Authority Did Not Make Ransom Payment

Calling it a "criminal act," the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority said Tuesday that it did not pay a ransom in connection with the June 2 cyber event that rocked its operations at the outset of the summer tourist season.

Uncaptioned image for story: Lights Quickly Dim on Baker's Tax Relief Plan

Lights Quickly Dim on Baker’s Tax Relief Plan

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday continued to pitch his new idea for a two-month sales tax holiday this summer even after the $900 million tax relief proposal landed with a bit of a thud on Beacon Hill where many Democrats panned the short-term tax break and supporters voiced skepticism about its chances.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey waded into the Frog Pond on Thursday after officially opening the spray pool for the summer season. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

At Frog Pond, Janey Eyes More Places to Cool Off

She played in the Frog Pond as a kid in the 1970s and later brought her daughter and grandchildren there to cool off. On Thursday, Mayor Kim Janey unbuckled her heeled sandals and hopped back into the pond on Boston Common with dozens of youngsters after officially opening its spray pool for another summer season.

Massport Aviation Director Ed Freni said passenger numbers "are trending in the right direction." [Massport]

Major Shift in Traveler Mix as Activity Picks Up At Logan

As pandemic-era restrictions ease across the country and mostly end in Massachusetts, Logan International Airport experienced its busiest passenger month since COVID-19 first struck the state b,ut remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

Voting Reform, MBTA Board Up Against Time Crunch

[Coverage Developing] House leaders appear interested in advancing a spending bill with time-sensitive policy riders to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk, keeping their session open Thursday while the bill makes its way through the Senate.

Revere Pushes For Some Control Over Saugus Waste Facility

Boards of health in cities or towns near solid waste facilities would have increased say over operations at those sites under legislation filed by a Revere Democrat and considered at an Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.

Poll Measured Food Insecurity Levels in 14 Cities

Thousands of Massachusetts families in more than a dozen cities and towns experienced food insecurity over the past year, despite expanded assistance programs rolled out during the pandemic, according to a new poll.

New MBTA Board, $262 Mil Spending Bill Set for Senate Vote

Before voting on a nearly $262 million spending bill Thursday, state senators will need to work their way through 41 amendments that include proposals to earmark funds for local projects and others addressing an interstate medical licensure contract, food waste diversion, contract workers' ability to take leave when experiencing domestic violence, and stipends for members of hazardous materials response teams.

Uncaptioned image for story:Biden Taps Rep. Cronin as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

Biden Taps Rep. Cronin as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland

House Majority Leader Claire Cronin will be nominated by President Joe Biden to become the next ambassador to Ireland, the White House announced on Wednesday, confirming its plans to tap one of the president's leading surrogates in a state Biden won during the 2020 campaign for a plum overseas posting.

[Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe/Pool/File 2021]

Concerns Remain as State Hits Vaccination Goal

Massachusetts on Tuesday eclipsed the Baker administration's goal of 4.1 million residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, although less than half of residents are fully vaccinated in two of the state's counties.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz speaks in January at the ceremonial signing of Massachusetts' new policing reform law. The Boston Democrat was one of the lead negotiators of the landmark bill. [Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2021]

Chang-Díaz Makes It Official: She’s Going For Governor

Jamaica Plain Democrat Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz plans to officially jump into next year's gubernatorial contest on Wednesday, launching her campaign with a knock on "Beacon Hill insiders" she describes as lacking urgency.

Read more in the Front Page Archives

Latest COVID-19 Figures in Mass.

Data as of 5 p.m. Thursday.
New Confirmed Cases82
Total Confirmed Cases663,048
Total Deaths17,957
Full Vaccinations4,042,011

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State House News Service