9 a.m. | Public Health Committee holds virtual public hearing on bills relating to disease prevention, screening and treatment, including legislation around Parkinson’s Disease, pancreatic cancer, diabetes, HIV, sickle cell disease, kidney disease, hepatitis C and Lyme disease.
9 a.m. | Public Health Council meets, with plans to hear an update on the latest opioid overdose death data and and take a determination of need vote on Heywood Hospital’s request for a substantial capital expenditure.
10 a.m. | Senate holds formal session to debate a multi-billion dollar spending package to appropriate much of the state’s fiscal 2021 budget surplus and American Rescue Plan Act funds.
11 a.m. | House meets in an informal session.
4 p.m. | Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey delivers farewell address.
Senate prepares for $3 billion dollar debate
We’re turning back to the American Rescue Plan Act today as the Senate prepares to gavel into session later this morning to debate its $3.66 billion spending package that draws from federal aid dollars and fiscal 2021 surplus revenue.
The branch’s proposal includes a raft of investments into economic development, housing, environment and climate, and health care. Senators included $1 billion for the state’s health care system, State House News Service’s Matt Murphy reported when the bill was released last week.
But today’s focus will be on the more than 720 amendments lawmakers filed ranging from additional spending on larger statewide programs to local earmarks. If history tells us anything, expect a long day with a series of floor (or remote) speeches before the Senate takes a final vote on the bill.
It’s important to remember that the process doesn’t end with today’s potential vote in the Senate.
Senators will still have to work out differences with the House’s $3.82 billion spending proposal, though the two are not that far apart. After today, the bills will likely head to a six-member panel of lawmakers who will negotiate a final version before sending it off to the governor.
Time is running out to get a bill to Gov. Charlie Baker before legislators head into their mid-session recess on Nov. 17 and end formal sessions for the year. And as we reported Monday morning, Baker said he expects a bill on his desk before Thanksgiving.
“I believe that both the Senate president and the House speaker have both committed to each other and to us that we’ll get this bill by the time the formal session ends, which is November 17,” Baker said Sunday during an interview on WCVB’s “On The Record.”
Wu announces transition team ahead of swearing in next week
The names are in. Mayor-elect Michelle Wu announced her transition team about a week before she is scheduled to be sworn in to office. WBUR’s Laney Ruckstuhl reports that the team includes Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who will serve as the honorary chair, and former Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez.
Boston school officials shut down Jamaica Plain school as COVID cases rise
Shut it down. Boston officials closed the Curley K-8 School in Jamaica Plain for 10 days as a result of rising COVID-19 cases. Boston Globe’s James Vaznis reports that Principal Katie Grassa informed families of “an active effort to immediately stop the spread and provide time to add staffing capacity to fully implement the test and stay and contact tracing programs.”
Senate releases new mental health bill
Round two for mental health in the Senate. Branch leaders released a new bill Tuesday that focuses on mental health care accessibility, affordability, and destigmatizing the topic. Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett reports that the legislation includes a provision requiring insurance coverage for mental health wellness exams.
More from Bartlett: “The bill would also address the state’s ongoing mental health crisis, in which patients with mental health diagnoses sit in emergency rooms waiting for treatment. This practice, known as ‘boarding,’ has grown 400 percent since the pandemic began, and the bill would create a real-time data set to search and find open behavioral health beds.”
Three from one: GE says it will divide into three public companies
Now what? The future of GE’s headquarters in Boston is one of the up-in-the-air questions being asked after the conglomerate announced it would split itself into three smaller publicly traded companies. Jon Chesto of the Globe reports the multi-year plan will see GE spin off its health care and energy divisions, leaving its core aviation business. One thing seems certain: The big promises GE made when it announced it would move its HQ to Boston from Connecticut more than five years ago won’t materialize.
The spinoff plans also don’t get GE off the book for the $576 million cleanup of the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Larry Parnass of the Berkshire Eagle reports.
Sticker shock: Flood insurance rates spike in low-income cities
Simon Rios of WBUR reports that some property owners in far-inland cities such as Lawrence and Lowell are seeing skyrocketing costs for flood insurance after a change in the risk-rating system used by federal regulators. While rates are increasing across-the-board, the hikes in Lawrence and elsewhere are among the largest as the feds rethink how likely the Merrimack River is to overflow its banks.
Leaning on local know-how
Sometimes all it takes to move on an important issue is some local know-how. Boston Globe’s Sabrina Shankman reports that as national efforts to combat climate change face complications, it increasingly falls to officials at the local and state level to make changes.
More from Shankman: “In panels and meetings, they’re pointing to the law mandating the state get to net-zero emissions by 2050 and a recently passed rule to decarbonize the biggest buildings in Boston, and exchanging notes with officials doing similar work at the state and provincial levels.”
Keep em running: Plainville officials back harness race at Plainridge Park
It’s all good. That’s the message from local officials who weighed in on a Mass. Gaming Commission hearing on whether to issue a license for live harness racing at Plainridge Park Casino in 2022, Tom Reilly of the Sun-Chronicle reports. Officials say the racing is an essential part of the state’s only slots parlor facility and say the community has seen little to no negative effects from more than two decades of racing and betting.
Armed standoff leads to three Boston police officers shot, suspect killed
Three Boston police officers were shot and the man who engaged them was killed during an armed standoff Tuesday in Dorchester. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that the officers were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive despite some serious injuries.
Clean it up: Braintree approves $300 daily fines for blighted properties
They want property owners to know they’re serious. The Braintree Town Council has adopted a controversial measure that would allow fines of up to $300 per day to be levied against commercial and industrial properties that fall into disrepair, Fred Hanson of the Patriot Ledger reports. All but one member of the Council voted in favor of the measure, which has its roots in the town’s battle to get a shuttered Motel 6 cleaned up.
Northeastern adds flu to its Covid-19 monitoring – Universal Hub
Jamaica Plain school shut down after COVID outbreak swells to 46 cases – Boston Globe
The Count Set to Return to Ward 5 in Holyoke – Western Mass Politics & Insight
Mashpee Commons will still try to create housing, despite partnership agreement dissolving – Cape Cod Times
Town awaits report on church’s logging operation – Salem News
Sununu exit underscores uncertain GOP path to gain Senate majority – The Hill
Trump White House records can be turned over to House Jan. 6 investigative committee, judge rules – Washington Post
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