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Senate Session Summary - Saturday, July 11, 2020

Senate Republicans insisted on more time to analyze and negotiate the branch's nearly week-old police reform legislation, and the minority caucus again postponed consideration of the 73-page bill during a Saturday morning session. Debate might now start on Monday, when the Senate is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m.

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Senate President Karen Spilka walks out of the Senate Chamber after Saturday's session. [Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Senate Republicans Hold Up Police Bill For Third Day

For the third time in as many days, Senate Republicans prevented debate on a wide-ranging police reform bill, but it appears the Senate could launch into its debate on Monday.

Uncaptioned image for story:Grieving Parents Press Baker to Lower Flag on Aug. 31

Grieving Parents Press Baker to Lower Flag on Aug. 31

Parents who have lost children to opioid overdoses gathered outside the State House Friday to urge the governor to lower flags to half-mast in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, part of a national push to get all 50 states to bring flags down halfway on the day.

Advances - Week of July 12

The next phase of Boston's economic reopening on Monday will enable Massachusetts to eventually ramp up economic and public activity to as close to full strength as possible, given the limitations that will remain in place to control the spread of COVID-19 until a treatment or vaccine is secured.

State Police troopers stood on the State House front lawn Monday while lawmakers on the sidewalk below unveiled the Senate's sweeping package of police reforms. [Sam Doran/SHNS]

Weekly Roundup - A Bridge Too Far

Rebuilding the two bridges over the Cape Cod canal? Sure. Rebuilding the foundation of policing in Massachusetts? Not as easy.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz stood in the lobby outside the Senate Chamber during a break in Friday's session. [Chris Van Buskirk/SHNS]

Expansive Policing Reform Bill Stuck in Mass. Senate

After it became clear that the debate on a wide-ranging police reform bill would be postponed again, this time until a rare Saturday session, an emotional exchange broke out Friday on the Senate floor between Democratic colleagues in disagreement over the continued delay.

Decision on Brady Ballot Eligibility Expected Monday

An attorney for Republican congressional candidate Helen Brady told the state's highest court Friday that blocking her from the ballot would violate her constitutional rights to equal protection, arguing that several other candidates still on track to run used the same signature-gathering vendor that prompted her to be ruled ineligible.

Senate Session Summary - Friday, July 10, 2020

A Republican senator again prevented debate Friday on the Senate's omnibus police reform bill, pushing consideration of the bill and its more than 100 amendments to a rare Saturday session. During an emotional exchange on the chamber floor, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz said that every day of delay means "we are choking the breath out of this bill."

Senate to Tackle Transportation With Borrowing, Not Taxes

The Senate will not take up a House-approved, half billion-dollar package of transportation tax and fee increases this lawmaking session, instead focusing attention on an omnibus borrowing bill that the Senate's Transportation Committee chairman believes can be fully funded without new revenues.

“Lot of Concerns” as Walsh Closes in on School Plan

The City of Boston is looking at a variety of options for returning students to school in September and expects to announce a plan in the next week to 10 days, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said Friday.

Senate Restaurant Aid Bill Limited to To-Go Cocktails

Both branches of the Legislature have now signed off on allowing Massachusetts restaurants to sell to-go cocktails. The Senate on Friday passed a bill that would allow restaurants to sell mixed drinks in sealed containers alongside takeout and delivery food orders, a measure some bar and restaurant owners have been advocating for as a way to attract customers during the COVID-19 crisis that has hurt the restaurant sector.

Fattman Again Postpones Police Bill Debate

For the second day in a row, Republican Sen. Ryan Fattman put a hold on a sweeping police reform bill Democratic leaders are working to pass, forcing the Senate into the weekend without having voted on a major priority that they're aiming to get done this month.

Baker: “Shared Principles” Should Be Police Bill Focus

Gov. Charlie Baker told the chair of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus on Thursday that he shared the Springfield Democrat's interest in keeping the debate over policing reform focused in order to not squander the opportunity to get a bill done this month.

DCF Bill Features Foster Parents' Bill of Rights

Foster parents would have new supports and the Department of Children and Families would face new accountability and reporting requirements under a bill that sailed unanimously through the House on Thursday.

Florio Placed on Leave Amidst Internal Investigations

Steven Florio, the commissioner of the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, has been placed on administrative leave while the Baker administration looks into reports that he dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes and made Nazi salutes while a member of a college fraternity.

Fed Study Puts Numbers on State’s Revenue Collapse

With the new fiscal year already underway, state budget managers still do not have a grasp on how much tax revenue the state will collect in fiscal 2021, and the uncertainty is contributing to an unusually delayed budget and a hesitation to take up economic relief proposals on Beacon Hill.

Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). [SHNS/File 2019]

Senate Deliberations on Policing Reform Bill Stall

A far-reaching proposal to enhance oversight of police officers and ban the use of certain types of force hit a bump on Thursday when Senate Republicans blocked a vote on the reform bill, delaying action on an issue that has become a priority for Democratic leaders and Gov. Charlie Baker.

Senate Session Summary - Thursday, July 9, 2020

After hours of private huddles on the chamber floor and behind closed doors, debate on the Senate's omnibus police reform package was pushed off until Friday following a procedural motion by Sen. Ryan Fattman. The Sutton Republican moved to lay the bill on the table, citing a "hasty" process to bring the legislation to the floor and the lack of a public hearing on the bill, which was released to senators on Sunday.

House Session Summary - Thursday, July 9, 2020

The House passed legislation Thursday aimed at holding the Department of Children and Families accountable through detailed reporting.

Survey: Only 57 Percent Would Get COVID-19 Vaccine, if Available

While companies and governments around the world race to develop a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, a survey designed by a group at Tufts University found that just 57 percent of Americans said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if one were available today.