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The Week Ahead

The Senate dives back into its formal session agenda on Thursday, with plans to take on bills overhauling sex education and student nutrition and allowing a new form of gender identification on birth records. Meantime, House leaders have plans to get a firsthand look at the offshore wind sector that they are keen on developing in Massachusetts, with plans to check out an existing wind installation off the coast of Rhode Island. The week ahead brings elections in Lawrence, Holyoke, North Adams and Newburyport, where voters this year are choosing new mayors, and in Lowell, which is holding its first elections under the watchful eye of the U.S. Justice Department. Preliminary elections are also scheduled Tuesday in Attleboro, Beverly, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River and Taunton.


National Guard members look inside a school passenger van during a training in coordination with MassDOT. Guardsmen started training Tuesday to drive the so-called 7D vehicles after Gov. Charlie Baker activated up to 250 Guard personnel to help with school transportation. [Courtesy/Dave Wilkinson/Mass. National Guard]

Weekly Roundup - Now Hiring

Day care centers can't hire teachers, casinos can't find poker dealers and cities and towns can't find bus drivers to get children to school. 


Massachusetts has distributed almost $270 million in emergency rental assistance funding to more than 40,000 households since March 2020, according to figures the Baker administration published Friday. [Screenshot]

Housing Aid Flowed At Higher Rates Over Summer

Exactly 11 months after the state's pandemic-inspired moratorium on evictions expired, Baker administration and judiciary officials touted the effort to connect renters and landlords with emergency aid as a model of success even as advocates and lawmakers contended that the system still has harmful gaps.


State House Takeout Podcast

CCC Commissioner Presses To Add Lawrence As Disproportionately Impacted Area

There are parts of 29 municipalities that the Cannabis Control Commission considers to have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition, but the city with the largest Hispanic/Latinx population, Lawrence, is not among them.


Job Gains Slowed To A Trickle in August

Bay State Job growth slowed substantially in August as employers added 2,600 jobs and the statewide unemployment rate ticked upward to an even 5 percent, labor officials announced Friday.


Targeting MCAS, Union Ties It To White Supremacy

Teachers on Monday plan to call on lawmakers to eliminate the requirement that students pass the MCAS exam in order to graduate and replace it with what they say would be a broader framework that features "more authentic forms of demonstrating student achievement."


Uncaptioned image for story:Senate Panel Advancing Gender Identity, Sex Ed Bills

Senate Panel Advancing Gender Identity, Sex Ed Bills

Bills involving sex education curriculum, nonbinary gender identification and student nutrition began moving in the Senate Ways and Means Committee Friday, ahead of an expected formal Senate session next week.


Schools Report 1,230 COVID-19 Cases Over Three Days

School districts reported more than 1,200 student cases of COVID-19 and 190 cases among staff members this week, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said in its first case report of the new school year.


Mass. Planners Expecting Arrivals Of 900 Afghans

Massachusetts expects to welcome about 900 evacuees from Afghanistan, and while the specifics of their arrival remain unknown, efforts are underway to prepare for their arrival and resettlement and to potentially extend public benefits from the state.


McCourty, Activists Urge Baker to Consider Commutation

New England Patriots star Devin McCourty and several community groups next week will urge Gov. Charlie Baker to commute the first-degree murder conviction of William Allen, a Brockton man who has spent 27 years in prison and hopes to become eligible for parole.


Baker Lends Voice To Opponents Of Income Surtax

In the wake of a new report warning about a "fiscal calamity" approaching the MBTA, Gov. Charlie Baker voiced his criticism of a proposed income surtax on wealthy households set to go before voters next year, questioning how much money the idea would generate and what those revenues might be spent on.


State Detects Seventh West Nile Virus Case This Month

After announcing the first case and saying about two weeks ago that the risk of West Nile virus "has been slow to increase this year," the Department of Public Health on Thursday reported the seventh human case of the virus this year.


Baker Exploring “Important” Vaccine Verification Options

It will be important for people to have a simple way to prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday as he stopped just short of saying that some kind of vaccination verification system will be coming to Massachusetts.


Lawn Gatherings Fill Some Of Convention Biz Void

Even as the continued COVID-19 pandemic this fall keeps a bit of a damper on the convention business, which is typically marked by large indoor events, officials at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority said they have been buoyed by tremendous interest in events at the outdoor Lawn on D.


Baker Cites “Complexity” In Opposing Same-Day Voter Registration

While senators prepare to debate an elections reform bill that will likely allow prospective voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday he opposes the process in part because of "the complexity associated with it."


Senate Session Summary - Thursday, Sept. 16

While senators did not tee up any major bills during Thursday's session, Senate President Karen Spilka's office said after adjournment that it was planning a formal session for Sept. 23.


Who’s On The Move?

... A former Beacon Hill aide has joined the Mass. Municipal Association to fill the legislative director's role long held by John Robertson, who retired ... One of the region's largest private foundations has a new executive director, while another has two new senior advisors ... The MIRA Coalition has a new legislative campaign director ... The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health brought on an experienced hand with an eye toward deepening its advocacy efforts ...


House Session Summary - Thursday, Sept. 16

The House on Thursday sent to committee new legislation from Rep. Ruth Balser (HD 4407) seeking to reduce construction noise. It would require all motor vehicles on construction sites that use alarms indicating that vehicles are reversing to instead use white noise reverse alarms, which emit sound at a lower decibel than regular reverse alarms.


Efforts Underway To Resettle 900 Afghan Evacuees

[Coverage Developing] As many as 900 Afghan evacuees could be bound for Massachusetts, where efforts are underway to help prepare for their arrival and resettlement.


Gaming Commissioner to Serve as POST Executive Director

The police oversight panel created in a new law enforcement reform statute will turn to the state Gaming Commission for its top staffer, a move that could again trim the gaming regulatory body just after it gained a new member.